The Gwinnett Gladiators took a two-goal advantage into the final period before surrendering three goals to fall to the Cincinnati Cyclones in Sunday afternoon ECHL action at The Arena at Gwinnett Center, 3-2. The loss snaps a four-game winning streak for Gwinnett. For Cincinnati the win was their second straight victory after beating the Greenville Road Warriors in a shootout Saturday night, 4-3.
Jon Awe found the back of the net for Gwinnett (31-19-2-1) 10:59 into the first period for his second goal of the season to put the home team up on Cincinnati (28-16-4-2) by a 1-0 count. Ryan Donald earned the lone assist on the marker. The Glads outshot the Cyclones 13-9 in the opening period, but Cincinnati goalie Brian Foster (W, 35 saves) only allowed the single tally and the period ended with Gwinnett holding to the 1-0 lead.
Glads forward Doug Jones, just reassigned from the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League, beat Foster 13:06 into the second period to double the Gladiators lead to 2-0. Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Andy Brandt had the helpers on Jones’ 18th goal of the 2012-13 campaign. Jones, a Marietta, Georgia native, leads the Gladiators in goals scored, as well as ranking first among Gwinnett rookies in scoring with 39 points (18 G, 21 A) in 48 games played.
The second intermission came with the Gladiators seemingly in control, leading 2-0 after having outshot the Cyclones 28-19 in the first 40 minutes of hockey.
The score remained unchanged until 9:31 of the third period when Cincinnati cut the deficit in half thanks to Dan Eves. The forward lit the lamp against Gwinnett goaltender Louis Domingue (L, 24 saves) making the score 2-1. Trevor Lewis and Josh McFadden had the assists. McFadden notched his second point of the night 12:25 into the final stanza on an unassisted goal to even the score 2-2. Lewis then picked up his second point of the game 1:11 later when he scored what would be the game winning goal on the power play at the 13:36 mark. Anthony Luciani had his first helper of the game, while McFadden earned his third point in the game on the marker.
The Cyclones played tough D over the final six and a half minutes to keep the Glads out of the net and the final buzzer sounded with Gwinnett on the short end of the 3-2 score. The Cyclones netted three goals in the final period despite taking only 8 shots on goal.
Domingue is 15-8-1-1 after the Gwinnett loss with a 2.86 GAA for the season, while Foster improves to 15-6-4-0 with a 2.73 GAA for the season.
The Gladiators were 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Cyclones were 1-of-5. Gwinnett is tied for fourth in the league in penalty killing (84.5%).
Gwinnett outshot Cincinnati in the one-goal loss, 39-29.
The loss drops Gwinnett’s home winning percentage to 0.611 (15-9-2-1), which is last in the South Division and 13th in the league.
First Star: CIN – 2 Josh McFadden (1 G, 2 A, +2 rating)
Second Star: CIN – 18 Trevor Lewis (1 G, 1 A, GWG)
Third Star: GWT – 13 Doug Jones (1 G)
The Gladiators return to action Friday night at 7:00 p.m. when they welcome the Wheeling Nailers to The Arena. Head Coach John Wroblewski was with the Nailers before joining Gwinnett.
The Gladiators are the ECHL affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League and play home games at the 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth. The ECHL is the Premier "AA" League.