DULUTH – The Atlanta Gladiators edged the Greenville Swamp Rabbits by a score of 4-3 at Gas South Arena on Thursday night.
Hugo Roy led the way for Atlanta (7-4-1-0) with two goals, while Derek Topatigh and Tim Davison both provided two assists. The Gladiators converted on two power-play opportunities and also added a shorthanded goal.
Greenville (5-7-0-0) jumped ahead early in the first period when Liam Pecararo intercepted a pass in the Atlanta zone and wrapped the puck around Gladiators goaltender Tyler Parks (0:51).
The Swamp Rabbits created a variety of scoring chances throughout the first period and were given a power play to end the frame. Shorthanded, Hugo Roy stole the puck at center ice for Atlanta and dashed ahead on a breakaway. Roy pulled the puck to his forehand and beat Greenville’s Evan Fitzpatrick on the glove side to tie the game at 1-1 with almost no time remaining in the frame (19:59).
Atlanta carried the momentum into a power-play opportunity early in the second period. Captain Derek Nesbitt created a chance in front of the Greenville net, and Roy knocked in the rebound for his second goal of the night (3:27). The power-play tally marked the first goal in 18 man-advantage opportunities for Atlanta.
Special teams got back to work minutes later in the second when Mike Pelech rifled a shot into the top right corner of the net for a 3-1 Atlanta advantage (7:31).
With six-and-a-half minutes left in the second stanza, defenseman Derek Topatigh sent a puck towards the Greenville net. Parked in front of the near post, Gabe Guertler tipped the waist-high shot past Fitzpatrick to give the Gladiators a 4-1 lead (13:31).
Pecararo netted his second of the night early in the third to cut Atlanta’s lead down to 4-2 (1:44).
Luke Nogard was assessed a double minor for a high stick on Greenville’s Frank Hora late in the third, and Tim Davison was given a cross-checking minor moments later. The Swamp Rabbits pulled Fitzpatrick from the crease for a 6-on-3 advantage, and Diego Cuglietta tapped in his fourth goal of the season to make it a one-goal game (18:49).
With Greenville threatening again late in the third, Parks stood tall with several key saves, and defenseman Anthony Florentino sacrificed his body to block a last-second shot and seal a 4-3 Gladiators win. Parks finished the night with 42 saves on 45 shots.