FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Gladiators (16-31-3-1) dropped a one-goal contest to the Fort Wayne Komets (35-12-1-3) for the third time this season on Saturday night. This time, the Gladiators jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead, but they could not hold onto it as the Komets responded with three unanswered goals.
For the second consecutive night, the Gladiators started the game with a very strong first period, and this time they were able to get something tangible out of it. Eight minutes into action, Zach Yuen gave Gwinnett the game’s first goal. With Brenden Walker and Casey Pierro-Zabotel crashing the net, it was Yuen that was able to find the loose puck in the ensuing scrum and clean the mess for his sixth goal of the season.
Two minutes and one shot later, on the Gladiators’ first power play of the evening, Garry Nunn tallied his third goal in as many games by blasting the puck through Pat Nagle from the left circle at 10:08. It was the first time since February 6th that the team jumped out to a multi-goal lead.
But the Komets would start chipping back from there. On Fort Wayne’s first power play of the night, Matthew Pistilli fed a one-time pass through his legs from the left post to the right post and onto the waiting stick of Brock Higgs. Before Mark Guggenberger could recover in the crease, Higgs lifted the puck into the net at 18:27.
The Komets tied the score at 1:12 of the second on their second man advantage with Christian Ouellet’s dangling semi-breakaway through the offensive zone. Fort Wayne would control most of the play in the second frame, outshooting Gwinnett 18-to-2, but that Ouellet goal would be their only tally of the period.
In the third period, Fort Wayne continued their momentum and got under Gwinnett’s skin, drawing three physical penalties. But it was Cody Sol’s even strength slap shot from the left point that was the difference in the game at 11:36.
Mark Guggenberger was 33-for-36 in his crease, while Pat Nagle picked up the win with a 19-for-21 effort. The Gladiators were 1-for-5 on the power play, and the Komets were 2-for-6 on their end.