Gladiators edged on road in Greenville

GREENVILLE, S.C. — The Gwinnett Gladiators and Greenville Road Warriors traded blow after blow Saturday night, but the Warriors escaped with a 4-3 win Saturday night at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

Andrew Yogan scored the lone goal of the opening period. After initially being stopped on a wraparound to the far side by Gwinnett goalie Mark Guggenberger, Yogan stuck with the play and backhanded his rebound along the ice just inside the near post for a 1-0 Warrior lead at 7:42.

The sides swapped goals in the second period. Coyotes prospect Brenden Walker tied the game at 1-1 just 4:40 in. He took an outlet pass down the left wing from Maxime Legault while shorthanded and beat Road Warrior goalie Jeff Malcolm with a high forehand shot on a partial breakaway.

Greenville took back the lead at 10:09, as Yogan swung around behind the net and slid a shot just inside the far post past Guggenberger. Dirk Southern again drew the Gladiators even, blasting a slapper from the top of the far circle over the shoulder of Malcolm on the power play. Eriks Sevcenko and Josh Currie had the assists.

The Road Warriors scored a big goal late in the second, however. Brad Cole fed Michael St. Croix behind the Gwinnett defense and the forward ripped a shot off the inside of the near post with 27 seconds left in the period to make it 3-2.

Andrew Rowe’s 29th goal of the season gave the Road Warriors some much needed insurance at 4:12 of the third because Gwinnett was quick to answer. After a Road Warrior covered the puck in the crease, Gwinnett was given a penalty shot, and rookie Chris Culligan made the most of the opportunity. Swinging down the middle, Culligan deked to the backhand then brought the puck quickly to the forehand for an easy tap-in around a fooled Malcolm.

Gwinnett had several chances down the stretch, including a couple in the closing minute with an extra attacker. The Warriors held on, however, and finished the season 9-4 against the Gladiators.

Gwinnett’s next game is Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. at the Arena at Gwinnett Center against Elmira.