Stingrays Edged by Gladiators on the Road
DULUTH, G.A. – The South Carolina Stingrays (3-3-1-0) fell 4-2 to the undefeated Atlanta Gladiators (6-0-0-0). The Stingrays fired 41 shots on goal, but Atlanta goaltender Gustavs Davis Grigals stopped 39 of them. Stingrays goaltender Garin Bjorklund made 25 stops in the loss.
Kevin O’Neil opened the scoring for South Carolina just 3:46 into the game. O’Neil beat Grigals clean with a wrist shot from the right circle off the rush. Josh Wilkins picked up the primary assist on the goal and extended his point streak to four games.
With 8:34 remaining in the first period, Atlanta forward Michael Marchesan tied the game at one. Marchesan collected a cross-ice feed on an Atlanta odd-man rush and fired a wrist shot past Bjorklund for his first goal of the season.
South Carolina regained the lead on the power play, snapping the Gladiators’ 100% penalty kill success rate. Patrick Harper tipped in a shot from the point by Michael Kim with just under a minute to play in the first period. The goal was Harper’s second power-play goal of the season and his fifth point in his last four games.
The only goal of the second period came just 2:59 into the middle frame when Atlanta’s Reece Vitelli charged in on a partial break and pushed a backhand past Bjorklund.
Atlanta took the lead for the first time of the night less than 30 seconds into the third period. Gladiators defenseman Jack Matier beat Bjorklund blocker side with a wrist shot from the high slot.
The Gladiators soon extended their lead to 4-2. Matier scored his second goal of the game from nearly the same spot as his first tally. Matier fired a slapshot through traffic that Bjorklund never saw for his second goal in under five minutes.
South Carolina failed to close the two-goal gap despite earning two power-play opportunities in the final seven minutes.
The Stingrays return to action on Tuesday, Nov. 7, against the Orlando Solar Bears. Puck drop is set for 10:30 a.m. from Amway Center.
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