Updated: Saturday, 27 Oct 2012, 9:31 AM EDT
Published : Saturday, 27 Oct 2012, 12:17 AM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Coyotes prospect Evan Bloodoff scored two first period goals and tacked on a late assist, as the Gladiators thumped the Fort Wayne Komets 4-2 en route to their third straight win Friday night in front of 7,417 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
The physical contest featured 120 penalty minutes; most of which came with just seven seconds left in the third. A Brent Henley punch from behind on a Gladiator set off a massive scrum, with three fights breaking out leading to 85 penalty minutes and four game misconducts.
Mike Lee picked up his third win in a row for Gwinnett, stopping 18 of 20 shots. His counterpart Marco Cousineau turned aside 33 of 37.
Bloodoff, the Coyotes sixth round pick in 2009, got the Gladiators on the board in the first, as he finished a fantastic cross ice-set-up from Doug Jones at 5:34. Casey Pierro-Zabotel also had an assist, as Gwinnett blitzed Cousineau early.
Fort Wayne drew even at 7:11 on Brandon Marino’s team-leading fourth goal of the season, but Gwinnett again took the lead before the period was through. At 10:39 Bloodoff cut into the mid slot on the power play and let loose a wrist shot that beat Cousineau high glove side for a 2-1 Gwinnett edge. Ryan Donald had the helper, and the Gladiators outshot the Komets 16-9 through the first 20 minutes.
7:15 into the second period, Jones added to the lead. Forward Tony Lucia took control of the puck behind the Komets net, and found Jones with some free space in the slot for a one-timer tally to make it a 3-1 game. Tyler Murovich also had an assist, and the lead carried over into the third.
The Komets made a game of it late, as Marino potted his second of the night at the 12:07 mark, but just 57 seconds later the Gladiators found an answer. Bloodoff fed Lucia, who drove to the slot while outmuscling a defenseman and tapped the puck through the air over the glove of Cousineau to put the lead back at two. Sean Duddy had the second assist, and the Glads prevailed by the 4-2 final.
Both teams clash again Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. from the War Memorial.
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