The Gwinnett Gladiators' (14-5-1-0) late comeback fell short in a 4-3 loss to the Fort Wayne Komets (9-7-0-1) on Wednesday night at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. Despite the loss, Gwinnett has won eight of their past 10 games.
After Tyler Murovich was denied by Fort Wayne's Ken Reiter on a penalty shot opportunity 5:27 into the first period, Fort Wayne took a 1-0 lead on the Gladiators midway thorugh the first period. Josh Brittain scored the first goal of the game as he pumped a rebound past Gwinnett netmidner Mike Lee for the go ahead goal.
The Gladiators got on board with a marker from Doug Jones 9:28 into the second. The tally came as Jones was along the goal line and jammed it into the net for the to tie the score 1-1.
Fort Wayne notched the next three markers, two before the end of the second period, to take a 4-1 lead on the Gladiators. Jean-Michel Rizk scored the second goal for the Komets 56 seconds after Jones' marker to regain the 2-1 lead. Thomas Beaureguard widened the margin for the Komets and scored their third goal 11:59 into the second and made the score 3-1.
Fort Wayne took a 4-1 lead on Tyler Butler's goal 4:54 into the third period.
Gwinnett battled back but it was too little, too late as Casey Pierro-Zabotel cut the Komets lead in half at 4-2. The marker came on the backhand in the slot at 15:45 of the third period. Christian Ouellet and Ryan Donald got a helpers on the play.
The Gladiators got on the board again with 2:28 left in the third when Jones scored his second goal of the game. Pierro-Zabotel noteched an assist on the marker.
Gwinnett pulled Lee in the final minute as Gwinnett looked to equalize the game but the Komets clamped down defensively to preserve the 4-3 win.
The Gladiators will be back at the Arena at Gwinnett Center Friday @7:35 p.m. to face the Fort Wayne Komets once again.
The Gladiators are the ECHL Affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League and are members of the ECHL, the Premier "AA" Hockey League and play all home games at the 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.