The Gwinnett Gladiators clinched a playoff berth by defeating the Orlando Solar Bears Sunday at The Arena at Gwinnett Center, 3-2. The victory completed a sweep of the three-game set between Orlando and Gwinnett that closes out the season series between the clubs.
The three-win weekend increased Gwinnett’s (40-25-2-1) season point total to 83 while increasing their lead in the ECHL South Division to four-points over the Florida Everblades (34-21-4-7, 79 points). The Greenville Road Warriors (35-24-2-6) and South Carolina Stingrays (35-25-5-3) both have 78 points, while Orlando (26-33-3-3) is last with 58 points.
Justin Bowers and Andy Brandt each scored three goals to lead the Gwinnett offense in lamplighters in the three-game set with Orlando. Yuri Bouharevich led the Glads in points with five (1G, 4A), while Brandt added an assist to his trio of goals to total four points. Scott Arnold (1G, 3A) also contributed four. Sacha Guimond had three assists.
Louis Domingue started between the pipes on Thursday and Friday and earned wins in both games while blocking 43 of 48 shots he faced. The rookie is now 20-9-1-1 for the season with a 0.902 SAV% and a 2.79 GAA. Domingue has also recorded three shutouts.
Mark Visentin made his first start with Gwinnett after being assigned from the Portland Pirates of the AHL and earned the win in Sunday’s contest by stopping 26 of 28 shots. Visentin appeared in 22 games with the Pirates this season and compiled 2.85 goals against average and a .915 save percentage in the AHL. He also had two shutouts.
Visentin represented Canada in the World Junior Championships in 2011 and 2012. He twice won a medal with Team Canada as he collected a Silver medal in 2011 and a Bronze medal in 2012 in eight career games in the World Junior Championships.
The Phoenix Coyotes prospect was selected with the 27th overall pick in the second round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Gwinnett has four games remaining in the regular season and begin the final two weeks of the regular season third in the Eastern Conference. The Gladiators will host Cincinnati (40-18-5-3) on Wednesday. The matchup at The Arena will pit the South Division leading Glads against the North Division champion Cyclones in what may be a Kelly Cup playoff matchup if Gwinnett advances deep into the Kelly Cup tournament.
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.