NORFOLK, VA. - The Atlanta Gladiators (26-35-6-2) used Ben Marshall's overtime tally to earn a victory over the Norfolk Admirals (26-38-5-0) on Monday.
Atlanta tallied a pair of goals in the opening 20 minutes, coming just 30 seconds apart. In the midst of a Gladiator change, Shane Bakker drew the attention of three Admirals defenders before sending a pass to center where Eric Neiley finished while all alone on Brett Kilar.
On the very next shift, some hard work in their own zone by Eric Neiley and Ben Marshall allowed Mark Naclerio to get a step behind the Admiral defenders, walk in and snap a shot past the netminder to make it 2-0.
The game took a complete twist in the second period though, as Tommy Giroux, Scott Jacklin and Michael Pontarelli all scored less than four minutes apart to put the Admirals in the drivers seat for the first time.
Giroux's marker came on the power play, delicately placing his shot above the glove of Matt Ginn. 1:16 later Scott Jacklin deflected a Jordan Abt shot from the point into the cage, knotting the score at 2-2. The third goal of the sequence was Pontarelli's first pro marker in just his second career game. Scott Jacklin knocked the puck off of the tape of a Gladiator in their attacking zone, springing both the puck and the rookie out of Union College free into neutral ice. In on a breakaway, Pontarelli slammed on the breaks and made a move to his forehand, beating Ginn to make it 3-2.
Tyler Murovich set the contest back to even to open the third period but John Dunbar countered with a power play goal to give Norfolk a 4-3 advantage with 11:19 to go in regulation.
However, with just over a minute remaining and the extra attacker on, the visitors were able to tie the contest at 4-4 thanks to Mark Neclerio's second of the night. Murovich and Nesbitt made the passes to find the American born forward out of Brown University.
This forced overtime, one that would last less than a minute long. With Admirals defenseman Jordan Abt taking a double-minor for high sticking just after the goal, that gave Atlanta an opportunity they would cash in on with defenseman Ben Marshall.
Matt Ginn earned the win in net for Atlanta, stopping 40 out of 44. Brett Kilar suffered his first pro loss, making 45 saves on 50 shots.
The Admirals will now hit the road to take on the Reading Royals on Wednesday in Pennsylvania and will return home following to conclude their season against them on Friday and Saturday. Tickets for the games are available now on Ticketmaster.com and at the Norfolk Scope box office.