CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Atlanta Gladiators dropped a 3-2 contest to the South Carolina Stingrays Sunday afternoon despite a gritty effort against one of the league’s best squads.
Anthony Collins registered two points (one goal, one assist) in the road defeat.
The Gladiators took the tough, defensive mentality of Saturday night’s win to Charleston on Sunday afternoon. Goalie Chris Nell was sharp early against the ECHL South’s top team, as both squads navigated two power play opportunities each. With 2:32 to play in the opening frame, Stingrays forward Andrew Cherniwchan and defenseman Matt Nuttle assisted Mark Cooper in the opening goal of the afternoon for the home team.
Just 68 seconds later, Jonathan Charbonneau and Tariq Hammond found Cameron Askew for his fifth goal of the season to double the South Carolina lead heading into the first intermission.
The Glads continued to fight in the second period, blanking the Stingrays and outshooting the hosts 11-8 in the frame. Collins found Zach Malatesta in the slot before the Boston, Mass., native fed Avery Peterson for a wide-angle shot on goalie Logan Thompson. For the second straight night, Peterson found the back of the net. His tally cut the lead in half with 5:18 to play in the second.
South Carolina reclaimed the momentum early in the third period when Scott Davidson and Zach Urban found Tim Harrison for his sixth goal of the campaign to reclaim the Stingrays’ two-goal advantage just over two minutes into the third period. Malatesta earned Atlanta a great opportunity after South Carolina's Jaynen Rissling earned a five-minute major penalty and an ejection after an elbow to Malatesta. Joel Messner and Scott Conway found Collins in the slot for a wide-open chance. The former Stingray netted his second goal of the season to pull Atlanta within one score with 10:14 to play in regulation.
Despite another penalty and an empty net creating a 6-on-4 advantage for the Gladiators late, the visitors could not find the game-tying goal and fell 3-2.