ORLANDO, FLORIDA - Despite a quick start Thursday night, the Gwinnett Gladiators fell to the Orlando Solar Bears 4-1 at the Amway Center.
Gladiators (17-25-1-2) rookie forward Marshall Everson was the catalyst in the early going, slipping his 11th goal of the season under Orlando (24-16-1-2) goalie Cody Reichard off a nice pass from behind the net by Dirk Southern just 2:58 into the game. Max Legault had the second assist.
Orlando countered though with the next four goals. J.T. Barnett picked up the first two at 15:32 and 17:43 in his first game with Orlando to give the Solar Bears a 2-1 edge through the opening period.
C.J. Severyn notched the lone goal of the middle period, as he beat Gwinnett goalie Scott Stajcer with a low shot from the slot at 16:59. Scott Tanski tallied an empty-netter at 18:35 of the third to cap the scoring in the 4-1 Orlando win.
Emergency back-up goaltender Micah Perletti was forced into action for the Solar Bears for the final 13:44 of the third, after Reichard left the game with an apparent injury. Reichard stopped 17 of 18 shots faced, while Perletti turned aside all six en route to being named the game's third star.
Gwinnett returns to action Friday night at 7:05 p.m. at Germain Arena against the Florida Everblades.
The Gladiators are members of the ECHL, the nation's premier "AA" hockey league and are affiliated with the Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL. All home games are played at the 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.