DULUTH – The Atlanta Gladiators topped the Greenville Swamp Rabbits 4-1 on Sunday afternoon behind another stellar performance from goalie Chris Nell.
Along with the netminder’s showing, Atlanta saw three different players have multi-point days en route to the decisive victory.
The Gladiators struck less than four minutes into the contest after beginning to establish rhythm in the offensive zone. Thomas Frazee, back from a brief stint on the injured reserve, gathered the puck behind the Greenville net before tossing it into the slot. Avery Peterson corralled and wristed a shot past Swamp Rabbits goalie Jeremy Helvig to give Atlanta the early lead.
Atlanta continued to dictate the pace of play in the second period, when a power play opportunity allowed them to double the lead. Eric Neiley spooned a pass from the halfboards to Joel Messner at the point. His blue-line blast was saved initially by Helvig before the rebound was pushed in by Samuel Asselin for his team-leading 12th goal of the season. Just 76 seconds later, the Swamp Rabbits got one back. Dylan MacPherson and Mason Baptista assisted Jimmy Soper for his first goal of the campaign to cut the Atlanta lead in half.
Neiley extended a three-game point streak and two-game goal streak with more tenacity in the offensive zone, particularly around the goal crease. Asselin and Scott Conway found the veteran Neiley for a scrappy goal that regained Atlanta’s two-goal advantage. With the net empty, the Glads found a final nail in the coffin in the form of an empty net goal from captain Derek Nesbitt. The score brings the decorated veteran just three shy of 300 career ECHL goals.