DULUTH -- The Gwinnett Gladiators dropped a 4-3 decision to the Florida Everblades on Saturday night at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. Despite the loss, the Gladiators remain in first place in the ECHL's South Division, two points ahead of the second place Greenville Road Warriors.
Florida scored the first goal of the game 3:40 into the first period to take the 1-0 lead over Gwinnett. Leigh Salters notched the goal for the Everblades.
The Gladiators answered just 32 seconds into the second period with a goal from Casey Pierro-Zabotel. The marker came on a power play as Pierro-Zabotel punched the puck into the back of the net behind Florida's goaltender Rob Madore. Justin Bowers and Doug Jones picked up an assist on the goal.
Mathieu Roy put Florida back in the lead with a tally 5:20 into the second. Roy's goal came unassisted for the Everblades.
Gladiators rookie Nick Walsh tied the score for Gwinnett with his marker at the 15:07 mark. The goal came after a pile-up in front of the net and Walsh punched a shot from the slot past Madore for the tally. Corey Fienhage and Evan Bloodoff picked up helpers on the play.
Matthew Pistilli picked up his 18th goal of the season with a marker 7:18 into the third period. Salters then scored his second goal of the night with an empty netter on the power play with 30 seconds left in the third.
It was too little, too late for the Gladiators as Evan Bloodoff picked up his 13 goal of the season with only two seconds left before the end of the game. The late goal came as Bloodoff beat the net minder Madore. Jones and Pierro-Zabotel each picked up their second points of the game.
Gwinnett returns to the Arena at Gwinnett Center for an early 2:05 p.m. start to face the Florida Everblades on Sunday afternoon.