GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The Gwinnett Gladiators and Greenville Road Warriors traded blow after blow Saturday night, but the Warriors escaped with a 4-3 win Saturday night at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
Andrew Yogan scored the lone goal of the opening period. After initialing being stopped on a wraparound to the far side by Gwinnett goalie Mark Guggenberger, Yogan stuck with the play and backhanded his rebound along the ice just inside the near post for a 1-0 Warrior lead at 7:42.
The sides swapped goals in the second period. Coyotes prospect Brenden Walker tied the game at 1-1 4:40 in, taking an outlet down the left wing from Maxime Legault shorthanded, and beating Road Warrior goalie Jeff Malcolm with a high forehand shot on a partial breakaway.
Greenville took back the edge at 10:09, as Yogan swung around behind the net and slid a shot just inside the far post past Guggenberger on the wraparound. Dirk Southern would again draw the Gladiators even, blasting a slapper from the top of the far circle over the shoulder of Malcolm on the power play. Eriks Sevcenko and Josh Currie had the assists.
The Road Warriors would score a big goal late in the second however, as Brad Cole fed Michael St. Croix behind the Gwinnett defense, and the forward ripped a shot off the inside of the near post and in with 27 seconds left in the period to make it 3-2 Greenville.
Andrew Rowe's 29th goal of the season gave the Road Warriors much needed insurance at 4:12 of the third, but Gwinnett was quick to answer. After a Road Warrior covered the puck in the crease Gwinnett was given a penalty shot, and rookie Chris Culligan made the most of the opportunity. Swinging down the middle, Culligan deked to the backhand then brought the puck quickly to the forehand for an easy tap-in around a fooled Malcolm.
Gwinnett had several chances down the stretch, including a couple in the closing minute with an extra attacker. The Warriors held on, however, and finished the season 9-4 against the Gladiators.
Gwinnett's next game is Wednesday April 9th at 7:05 p.m. at the Arena at Gwinnett Center against the Elmira Jackals. To purchase tickets, visit www.gwinnettgladiators.com, or call the main office line at 770-497-5100.
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.