Hockey Fights Cancer Weekend Continues Tonight
The Gladiators returned to home ice, after a two-week road trip, to host the Norfolk Admirals. Despite a three-point night from Nolan LaPorte and 47 saves from Miroslav Svoboda, the Gladiators were unable to hold a third period lead and fell to the Admirals 5-3 on Friday night.
After a scoreless first period, Atlanta broke the deadlock at the 4:06 mark of the middle frame. Justin MacDonald took the puck from the Admirals at center ice and moved it to Nolan LaPorte. The Chicago, IL native rushed into the zone and found Garret Ross open in the left wing circle. The former Chicago Blackhawks draft pick sailed a wrist shot into the net for his first goal as a Gladiator.
Norfolk responded at the 7:01 mark of the second period to knot the game at one. Jacob Graves fired a shot from the right wing boards that slipped through traffic in front and past Glads’ goalie, Miroslav Svoboda. Jalen Smereck and Connor Hurley earned the helpers on Graves’ second goal of the season.
The Gladiators regaine the lead 9:23 into the second frame. LaPorte added his name to the scoresheet once again, this time with his second goal of the season off a one-time shot from the slot. Justin MacDonald notched the assist on the play after stealing the puck from Ads goalie, Ty Reichenbach, behind the net and finding LaPorte in front.
The Gladiators increased their lead to two goals with a power play tally with just over two minutes left in the second. After some quick passing, LaPorte found Alex Overhardt wide-open in front. The rookie forward one-timed the puck past Reichenbach for his third of the season. Jesse Gabrielle collected the helper with the secondary assist.
The visitors managed a goal just :43 seconds after the Gladiators third mark. Dominic Alberga scooped the puck over a sprawling Svoboda on scramble in front. Luke Nogard received the only helper on the play.
Norfolk got the game back to even with a tally 5:42 into the third period with a power play goal. Dan Maggio took a shot from the point that whistled past Svoboda’s ear and into the net. Maggio’s second goal on the year was assisted by Zane Schartz and Alberga.
The Admirals took their first lead of the game near the half-way point of the third period. Alberga posted his second goal of the evening with a redirect of a T.J. Melancon point-shot past Svoboda.
Alberga would net an empty-net goal to complete the hat trick and give the Admirals the 5-3 win. The Gladiators dropped to 4-6-2-0 in the loss and remain at 10 points. With the road win, Norfolk broke a two-game losing streak and advanced to 19 points on the campaign.