NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — Eric Neiley scored three straight goals to complete a natural hat trick and give the Atlanta Gladiators (25-28-1-2) a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the South Carolina Stingrays (41-11-3-1) on Wednesday morning during Education Day at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Forwards Cam Askew and Alec Marsh each scored during the opening period for South Carolina, while goaltender Parker Milner stopped 27 shots in a losing effort.
Neiley netted all three of the Gladiators’ tallies to erase a 2-0 deficit for Atlanta with two of the strikes coming in the second period before he scored the game-winner at 15:05 of the third.
His first two strikes came just 2:10 apart from each other in the middle period at 14:43 and 16:53 and brought the Glads back to an even 2-2 score.
South Carolina had the initial 1-0 lead when Askew knocked home a rebound at the front of the Atlanta net while the Rays were on the power play at 5:54 of the opening frame. After winning the first face-off of the man-advantage, forward Max Novak fired a shot to the net from the point that created a loose rebound for Askew, who swept it into the net for his 10th goal of the season. Defenseman Kristofers Bindulis earned the second assist on the play.
Askew, who was recently named the ECHL Player of the Week on Tuesday, scored for the second consecutive game and now has 24 points overall.
Marsh then increased the SC lead to 2-0 with his fourth goal in as many games for the Stingrays. The rookie forward cashed in off a pass from defender Jesse Lees at 17:55 of the first period. A second assist on the play was credited to forward Steve Whitney.
But the Stingrays were unable to hold on to the early advantage and were defeated in regulation for the first time by Atlanta during 2019-20. Gladiators’ goaltender Sean Bonar picked up the win by stopping 25 shots in the contest for his club. Atlanta outshot South Carolina 30-27 but came up empty with a 0-for-2 mark on the power play.
Askew’s goal in the first was the Rays’ only man-advantage strike as the team finished 1-for-4.