An electrifying third period sees Gladiators triumph in a high-scoring showdown.
Atlanta Gladiators are the team to beat in the ECHL! In a scintillating showdown at the Gas South Arena in Duluth, Georgia, the Atlanta Gladiators (4-0-0-0) staged a remarkable comeback, netting five goals in a rollercoaster third period to overcome the formidable Greenville Swamp Rabbits (3-1-0-0). The final score, a captivating 7-4 victory for the Gladiators, left fans on the edge of their seats, and here's how it all unfolded.
1st Star: Cody Sylvester (ATL) - 0 goals, three assists, +4 2nd Star: Carter Souch (GRN) - 2 goals, 0 assists 3rd Star: Luke Prokop (ATL) - 1 goal, one assist
The stage was set for a thrilling contest, and the Gladiators didn't disappoint. Jackson Pierson unleashed the opening salvo with a swift goal, putting the crowd alight as Atlanta raced to a 1-0 lead just 6 minutes and 45 seconds into the game. Pierson's second goal of the season was showcasing his knack for seizing opportunities.
A Shorthanded Stunner
The Gladiators didn't stop there; they had Mitch Fossier to thank. While shorthanded, Fossier displayed his offensive prowess, striking gold for the fifth time this season. Assisted by Cody Sylvester in a stunning 2-on-1 play, Fossier's shot deflected off a defender's skate, extending Atlanta's lead to 2-0 at the 12-minute mark.
But the Swamp Rabbits weren't about to back down. In the second period, they roared back, narrowing the gap to 2-1 with a well-timed goal at 2 minutes and 15 seconds.
As the second period climaxed, Greenville drew level at 2-2 with a late tally at 14 minutes and 56 seconds, setting up a nail-biting finale.
The third period opened with Greenville seizing the lead for the first time, surging ahead 3-2 just two minutes and three seconds in. However, the Gladiators were determined to reclaim their momentum.
Alex Whelan stepped up for Atlanta, responding swiftly with a rebound goal at 3 minutes and 41 seconds, knotting the score at 3-3. The game's relentless pace continued.
Just over a minute later, Whelan struck again, securing his second goal of the night and giving Atlanta a 4-3 lead at 4 minutes and 47 seconds. He demonstrated tremendous composure with a redirect right before the Swamp Rabbits' net.
The Swamp Rabbits weren't willing to surrender, drawing level once more at 4-4 just 40 seconds later at 5 minutes and 34 seconds.
But Atlanta's response was swift, and within 46 seconds, they regained the lead, soaring ahead 5-4 at 6 minutes and 20 seconds. Luke Prokop delivered a precise shot from the doorstep into Greenville's net, celebrating his first goal as a Gladiator.
Sealing the Deal
Atlanta's momentum was unstoppable, extending their lead to two goals 25 seconds later, making it 6-4 at 6 minutes and 45 seconds. Reece Vitelli capitalized on a rebound opportunity, burying the puck in the Swamp Rabbits' cage.
As the clock wound down in the third period, Carson Gicewicz sealed Atlanta's electrifying 7-4 victory at 19 minutes and 35 seconds. He left no room for doubt, firing the puck into an empty Greenville net for his second tally of the year.
Gustavs Grigals, Atlanta's guardian between the pipes, was a pillar of strength, making 35 crucial saves on 39 shots to secure the victory. In the opposing crease, Jacob Ingham faced an onslaught, allowing six goals on 41 shots in the valiant effort by the Greenville Swamp Rabbits.
The Atlanta Gladiators' triumphant performance, filled with high-scoring drama, undoubtedly left fans exhilarated and eager for the subsequent thrilling encounter on the ice.