ORLANDO, Fla. — Coyotes prospect Josh Currie scored twice and Matt Clune picked up two assists in his Gwinnett debut, but the Gladiators fell 4-3 Thursday night at the Amway Center to the Orlando Solar Bears.
Mathieu Corbeil made 24 saves in a losing cause in his first start between the pipes for Gwinnett (15-24-1-2), while Maple Leafs prospect Christopher Gibson made 19 saves. Taylor Matson racked up two goals for the Solar Bears (21-13-1-2).
Orlando got off to a quick start in the opening period, outshooting the Gladiators 16-5 and outscoring Gwinnett 2-0. Matson cashed in on an opportunity from the top of the crease at 5:44 on a nice setup from C.J. Severyn, and Mike Duco deflected home a Blake Kessel power play point shot at 9:59.
The Gladiators were able to climb within a goal late in the second period. Currie took a puck from Brett Lyon behind the net, swung out front and wristed a shot through the legs of Gibson to make it a 2-1 game at 18:42.
Orlando answered right back however just 25 seconds later. Jacob Cepis tucked a wraparound past Corbeil to push the Solar Bears ahead 3-1 through 40 minutes.
Just over three minutes into the third, Justin Weller ripped a point shot past Gibson to again pull the Gladiators within one. Clune and Lyon assisted on the tally. The Solar Bears again answered the Gwinnett goal, as Matson’s second marker of the night at 9:33 again provided Orlando breathing room.
Currie wasn’t finished though, and wheeled around from the far point and crushed a shot off Gibson and in for his second goal of the game, with Clune and Kurtis Bartliff assisting at 15:12. Despite some late chances the Gladiators couldn’t find the equalizer.
Gwinnett is next in action Thursday January 30th at 7:05 p.m. at the Arena at Gwinnett Center against the Solar Bears.
The Gladiators are members of the ECHL, the nation’s premier “AA” hockey league and are affiliated with the Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL. All home games are played at the 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.