Atlanta came back twice in the final period including the game-tying goal with 1:17 remaining to send the contest into overtime as they eventually defeated the Admirals by a score of 5-4 in the extra-period at the Norfolk Scope on Monday night.
Atlanta would break the ice for the night with a shorthanded goal at the 12:43 mark of the beginning frame. Eric Neiley put himself into a tie for the team-lead in goals, after the second-year pro fired a shot that bounced off the Norfolk goalie, Brett Kilar, and dropped into the net. Both Shane Bakker and Patrick McCadden tallied an assist on the Dartmouth product’s 27th tally on the campaign.
The Gladiators would then double their lead just :30 seconds later to go ahead 2-0. Mark Naclerio buried his 12th of the season with a snap-shot from the slot. Neiley added to his point total for the night with an assist on the play, and Ben Marshall also picked up a helper.
Norfolk would bring the game back to within one with a power play goal 5:06 into the second period. Tommy Giroux notched his fifth goal of the season after he was able to slip a shot past Matt Ginn on the short side. Jordan Abt was credited with the lone assist on the Admirals’ first goal of the night.
Just over a minute later, the home team would tie the game at 2-2 with a strike at the 6:22 mark of the middle frame. Scott Jacklin knotted the game for Norfolk after he tapped a rebound past Ginn on the far side. Abt doubled his point total for the night with his second assist of the contest, while Kyle Dutra added his name to the score sheet with the secondary helper.
The Admirals then took their first lead of the game with 11:02 remaining in the second. Michael Pontarelli wristed a shot that squeezed between the arm and torso of Ginn to put his team ahead. The goal was the first of the rookie’s career in just his second professional game.
Only 2:22 into the third period, the Gladiators found the back of the net to tie the game at 3-3. Tyler Murovich skated with the puck in his offensive zone and lined a shot from the high slot that flew below the glove of Kilar to set off the goal-light. Thomas Frazee and Alex Guptill both picked up an assist on Atlanta’s alternate captain’s 21st goal of the year.
Norfolk then regained their lead and made the score 4-3 with another power play tally at the 8:41 mark of the final period. T.J. Foster was able to keep the puck in the zone for the Admirals and sent a pass across the zone to John Dunbar. There, the Calgary native potted his 18th goal of the season to put the home squad again.
With only 1:17 remaining in the third period, Atlanta scored a late goal to knot the game at 4-4. Naclerio stood at the back door and received a pass from Murovich, which he then shot through a defenseman’s block attempt for his second goal of the game. Derek Nesbitt became the eighth Atlanta player with a point in the contest with the secondary assist.
After neither team could score in the final minute of regulation, Ben Marshall ripped a shot from the point that bested Kilar just :55 seconds into overtime to give the visitors the 5-4 victory on the power play goal. Atlanta improved to 26-35-6-2 with the road win, which kept the Gladiators in sixth in the South Division with 60 points. Meanwhile, Norfolk fell to 26-38-5-0 on the season with the overtime loss and remained in seventh in the division with 57 points.
Up next, Atlanta will have tomorrow off before they return home for a matchup with South Carolina on Wednesday. The puck drops between the Gladiators and Stingrays at 7:05 PM at the Infinite Energy Arena on April 5th.