KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- The Gwinnett Gladiators fought back from a 3-0 first period deficit to knock off the Kalamazoo Wings, 4-3 in a shootout Saturday night at Wings Stadium. The win is a measure of revenge for Gwinnett (29-13-7-4), after Kalamazoo (29-16-2-3) snapped the Gladiators 12-game home winning streak with a 4-3 shootout win last weekend at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.
Trailing 3-2 in the third, defenseman Tyler Kindle tied the game with a lot of help from Wings forward Justin Taylor.
Kindle took a pass just inside the blue line from Bryan Brutlag and fired a shot toward the Wings net. The puck deflected off Taylor and past goaltender Maxime Clermont to draw the Gladiators even at 12:12. Andy Brandt had the second helper, and the game was forced to overtime.
The Gladiators survived a penalty kill in the overtime period, leading to a shootout. All four Gladiators found the back of the net, with forward Justin Milo clinching the two points in the fourth round, beating Clermont five-hole with a forehand wrist shot.
Gwinnett goaltender Ryan Zapolski surrendered three goals on the first twelve shots he faced before turning aside the next 25 Wings shots, making several marvelous stops to keep the Gladiators in the game. Clermont took the loss stopping 27 of 30 shots.
Both teams went 0-for-5 on the man advantage. The win pushes the Gladiators South Division lead to four point over the Greenville Road Warriors.
The Wings jumped all over the Gladiators in the opening period. Bryan Haczyk got Kalamazoo on the board at the 9:51 mark shorthanded, and Harry Young added a marker exactly 12 minutes in, blasting a slap shot over the glove hand of Zapolski.
Kalamazoo capped the period with a point blank deflection by Eric Kattelus with just 45 seconds left to make it 3-0 after one period.
The Gladiators bounced back in a big way in the second. Rookie forward Shawn Szydlowski scored the first goal of his professional career just 46 seconds into cut the deficit to two. Tyler Murovich and Justin Milo added the helpers and Murovich found Szydlowski on the far side on a two-on-one, and the Sabres prospect slid a shot past a sprawling Clermont.
Murovich then brought the Gladiators within one, as he hammered home a rebound in the low slot off a Szydlowski scoring chance. The rookie got an assist along with Brad Miller, and through two periods the Gladiators trailed 3-2 before mounting their comeback.
The Gladiators are next in action Monday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. in Cincinnati, as they take on the Cyclones.