Gwinnett’s Jonathan Narbonne (15) blocks a shot by Florida’s Danick Gauthier (78) during the second period of the Sunday afternoon game between the Gwinnett Gladiators and the Florida Everblades. (Photo: Amanda Hertel)
DULUTH — The Gwinnett Gladiators dug themselves out of an even bigger hole Sunday.
After coming back from 2-0 down to beat Florida two nights in a row, the Gladiators managed to extricate themselves from a 3-0 deficit, tying the game on a sniper shot from captain Joey Haddad at 12:27 of the third period.
But this time, the Everblades didn’t let Gwinnett get in front.
Florida scored twice in the third, including the game-winner just 29 seconds after Haddad’s goal, to beat the Gladiators 5-3 in front of 3,936 at the Arena at Gwinnett.
The Everblades (28-20-2-4) salvaged two points from the weekend set and snapped the Gladiators (21-31-2-2) three-game winning streak.
For the third straight game, Florida scored twice in the first period. Trevor Bruess wasted little time giving the Everblades a 1-0 lead just 2:16 into the game. And did it prettily.
Bruess danced in and outlasted goalie Mark Guggenberger. With the Guggenberger down, Bruess had a open net. He drilled the puck into the far top corner from a steep angle that likely would have scored under any circumstances.
Ten minutes later, defenseman Mike Little knifed his way into the zone, leading the way on a Florida rush. Little left a perfect drop pass for Aaron Bogosian who teed up a massive slapshot. Bogosian ripped the puck into the top shelf and the Everblades were once again sitting on a 2-0 lead.
Florida pushed its advantage this time with a quick strike after intermission. Defenseman Austin Levi fought through a bit of traffic and flung the puck over Guggenberger’s shoulder 58 seconds into the period.
The Gladiators answered less than 90 seconds later to begin a rally.
Rob Kwiet gloved down a looping puck in the high slot and swept a backhanded shot under goalie Trevor Cann at 2:29.
A power play goal cut the deficit to 3-2 late in the second.
Haddad and Brenden Walker worked a nice give-and-go to continue the comeback effort. Haddad was on the boards in the Florida zone and dished it to Walker. The rookie out of the WHL snapped the puck past Cann’s glove at 17:33.