DULUTH, Ga. - The Gwinnett Gladiators (27-17-1-1) knocked off the Idaho Steelheads (26-11-1-4) 3-2 in front of 8,041 fans Saturday night at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. It was Gwinnett's tenth annual Teddy Bear Toss game, and in the second period defenseman Corey Fienhage made the fur fly.
2:36 into the middle period the Apple Valley, MN native picked up his second goal of the season as he blasted a slap shot past screened Idaho goalie Josh Robinson (37 saves) from the near circle to put Gwinnett up 1-0. Andy Brandt and Tristin Llewellyn each picked up a helper on the play.
After a delay to clean up the numerous bears scattered on the ice, Idaho forward David Toews tied the game 4:25 into the second. The Steelheads grabbed the lead early in the third, as Andrew Carroll deflected a shot from point blank range past Louis Domingue at 4:53 on the power play.
Forward Alex Belzile answered for the Gladiators 11:43 into the final period to tie the score at 2-2. The marker came as Corey Fienhage danced the puck around some Steelheads to get a pass to Belzile at the near post. The St. Eloi, PQ native just barely tucked it past Robinson with Fienhage and Doug Jones adding the assists.
Casey Pierro-Zabotel deflected in his fourth game-winning goal of the season 18:53 into the third on the power play. Jones took a big slapper from the far point that Pierro-Zabotel managed to tip by Robinson to put the Gladiators ahead for good, 3-2. Fienhage had the other assist.
Domingue (23 saves) and the Gladiators slammed the door shut over the final minute, and held on for the 3-2 win.
The Gladiators will return to the Arena at Gwinnett Center to face the Idaho Steelheads once again on Sunday at 4:05 p.m.