Gladiators erase big deficit to get past Greenville

Not often does a team trail by three goals and come back to win, but that is what the Gwinnett Gladiators did against Greenville

last Saturday night. The Gladiators looked sluggish to begin the game and trailed 3-0 with just two minutes and 35 seconds gone by in the first period. The good news was that there was plenty of time left for Gwinnett. The team responded by scoring six unanswered goals and eventually winning 6-4.

A major reason for the comeback was the Gladiators’ relentless pursuit to the net. Gwinnett outshot Greenville 14-7 in the first period and 33-22 in the game. Forward Mike Merrifield scored two breakaway goals; one of the shorthanded variety to tie the game and the other giving the Glads a lead with just un- der two minutes remaining in the second pe- riod. Forward Dirk Southern scored the even- tual game-winner with 10:40 left in the third to give the Glads a 5-3 lead. Not more than a minute later, Max Legault scored on a wrist shot that dipped slightly below the crossbar.

It was a rough beginning for Glads’ goalie Mark Guggenberger, who gave up three goals on Greenville’s first three shots. Most goaltenders would have been pulled at that point, but Guggenberger recovered to stop 18 of the next 19 shots and pick up the win.


Brendan Walker has been the most con- sistent player on the team lately. In the past seven games, the Phoenix Coyotes’ prospect has six goals and two assists. Walker is a plus- 7 in that span. Southern has also stepped up with four goals and five assists in the past seven games. Marshall Everson scored two goals last week to give him 19 on the season, which leads the team.

Guggenberger has mostly been great since coming over to the Gladiators last month. In 13 games with Gwinnett, Guggen- berger is 8-5 with a .911 save percentage and a 2.84 goals-against average. He has quickly earned the nickname ‘Guggenburglar.’


The Glads will play Greenville again this Friday and Saturday. The Road Warriors are fighting for a playoff spot, but the Gladiators are hoping to knock their division rival out of the postseason. If Gwinnett can beat the Road Warriors and keep them out of the playoffs, it will give the team something to hang its hat on in an otherwise disappointing season.

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