Atlanta Moves Into Sole Possession of a Playoff Spot with 6-2 Win in Jacksonville
Joel Messner scored twice and added an assist to help pace the Atlanta Gladiators to a 6-2 victory over the Jacksonville Icemen at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena Friday night.
The Gladiators struck first on a tally from Joel Messner. Messner collected the puck at the center point and wristed a shot through traffic that beat Angus Redmond to give Atlanta a 1-0 lead.
Moments later, the Icemen found themselves down two-men and forced to kill off a 5-on-3 Atlanta power play for a full two minutes. The Icemen’s top ranked penalty kill unit completed the task and returned to full strength. Just 46 seconds later, Kyle Shaprio delivered a rocket shot from the point that ripped high past the blocker of Atlanta netminder Sean Bonar to tie the game 1-1.
The Gladiators reclaimed the lead at 8:02 of the second period, when he skated into the zone ands wristed a shot high that beat the glove of Redmond. The goal was Bligh’s ninth of the season against Jacksonville.
Atlanta extended its lead on the power play when Messner scored his second marker of the game with seven minutes remaining in the middle frame. Messner delivered a slapshot from the blueline that clipped off the tip of Redmond’s glove and into the net to put the score at 3-1.
Less than two minutes later, Dajon Mingo returned fire with a goal of his own. Mingo streaked into the zone on the right wing side and from the low circle snapped a shot high into the net behind Bonar to pull the Icemen back within one.
However, the Gladiators countered just 54 second later to assume a two-goal edge yet again. Hugo Roy skated quickly into the zone and gained a step on the Jacksonville defense. Roy wristed a shot that that hit off the inside of Redmond’s pads and rolled slowly into the net to put the score at 4-2 at the second break
The Icemen entered the third with a solid attack, but couldn’t find any puck luck as the puck twice hit off the post, while several other chances just rolled wide of open portions of the net. Sean Bonar turned aside all 12 shots in the final stanza of regulation.
Atlanta later added an empty-net goal from Justin MacDonald and received a late goal with second remaining from former Icemen Tyson Fawcett to secure a 6-2 victory.
Sean Bonar earned the win making 23 saves, while Redmond takes the loss making 22 saves.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. Promotional details for Saturday’s game is provided below.
Saturday, March 30, vs. Atlanta, 7:00 p.m. – Fan Appreciation Night! The final home game of the regular season, and there will be a team photo giveaway and other giveaways throughout the night for the best fans in the ECHL!