DULUTH, GA. - It took extra time but the Atlanta Gladiators (10-9-1-1) defeated the Norfolk Admirals (2-10-4-0) by a score of 5-4 Friday night. For the second consecutive evening the Admirals jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, however tonight was one of their fastest in team history. A failed clearing attempt from the Gladiators was intercepted by Gabriel Verpaelst who quickly fired the puck by Atlanta netminder Matt Ginn for the defenseman's first of the season. That was all the Admirals could muster in the opening frame though, as the Gladiators were able to strike for three before the period ended. Colin Jacobs got the first of the night for his team after Thomas Frazee fed a terrific saucer pass over a sprawling Adam Phillips, leaving nothing but a down-and-out Eetu Laurikainen for the Coppell, TX native to beat. Derek Nesbitt received an assist on the first Atlanta tally but would be the goal scorer on the second. The 13th of the season for the forward came after the Gladiators had an odd man rush that originally went rogue but the puck found it's way back to the tape of Nesbitt, who then deposited it into the back of the cage. Frazee and Jacobs earned the assists on the goal, coming at the 15:23 mark of the first. Only two minutes later another odd man rush was given up by the Admirals and the connection of Frazee and Jacobs would once again make them pay. Frazee's third point of the period was the result of him blasting home the rubber and along with Jacobs, Alex Roach would receive an assist, his second helper of the year. The middle period of the night belonged to Zach Pochiro of the Admirals though, scoring not once, but twice to get the game back to even. #14's first as an Admiral came eight minutes into the frame when Gabriel Verpaelst lined up a one-timer for Pochiro, just seconds after an Atlanta penalty came to an end. Eight minutes later Pochiro jammed home a rebound to knot the score at 3-3. Josh Brittain shuffled a pass to Jaedon Descheneau behind the Gladiators net, where he would then force his way to the front of the net, spin around and blast a shot off the pads of Matt Ginn. Pochiro beat Blake Kessel on the doorstep, giving his body position to bang it home for his second of the period and evening. In the third Atlanta would reclaim their lead though as Thursday's stud, Eric Neiley, would have a puck deflect off of his shins and past Laurikainen. Brock Higgs won the offensive zone draw for the Gladiators, where he quickly shuffled it to Justin Buzzeo on his wing. Buzzeo's odd-angle shot bounced off of his teammates paraphernalia, spring-boarding his team back into prime position. When it looked like Atlanta was going to cruise to victory with just minutes left in regulation, Nick MacNeil had other plans. The Admirals leading point getter earned just the second power play tally of the season for his crew, after Jeff DiNallo used his speed to break into the zone and find #12 in the slot. With just 2:37 left in regulation, the score was tied at 4-4. With the score tied at the end of regulation, the two sides headed to overtime. The Admirals earned multiple chances to prevail as John Dunbar, Nick MacNeil and Zach Pochiro all had themselves in strong position to score, however Matt Ginn was equal to the test on all accounts. When all was said and done, the Gladiators would produce a two-one-one in transition, polished off by Ben Marshall sending the Infinite Energy Arena crowd into a roar with a Gladiators win. Norfolk will now travel to South Carolina to take on the Stingrays for the first time this season tomorrow night. Puck drop is set for 7:05 and all the action can be heard on 102.1 FM The Tide or watched online on ECHL.TV. Following tomorrow's game the team will return home for a weekend set against the Reading Royals on December 2 and 3. Tickets for those games are on sale now and can be found online at Ticketmaster.com, as well as at the Norfolk Scope box office. For more information on the team, be sure to check out NorfolkAdmirals.com as well as liking and following the team on all major social media platforms. (Slider Photo Credit: Atlanta Gladiators / Taylor Trebotte) Box Score
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