GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The Gwinnett Gladiators recovered from a late third period deficit, and knocked off the Greenville Road Warriors 5-4 in a Teddy Bear Toss shootout Friday night at the BI-LO Center.
Gwinnett (16-6-1-0) led 3-1 headed into the third, but Greenville (13-8-1-1) rattled off three unanswered goals within 4:28 of each other to grab a 4-3 lead. A roughing minor to Jeremy Gouchie and a delay of game penalty to Brendan Connolly of Greenville gave the Gladiators a late 5-on-3 advantage and Gwinnett capitalized.
Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Kyle Lawson set-up defenseman Dallas Jackson, who hammered a one-timer from the point past a screened Nathan Lieuwen to tie the game with 2:42 remaining in regulation.
A scoreless overtime session gave way to the Gladiators first shootout of the season. Doug Jones scored in the second round, with Marc-Olivier Vallerand answering in round four for the Warriors. Casey Pierro-Zabotel put Gwinnett ahead 2-1 in the Gladiators fourth round attempt and Andrew Yogan shot his fifth round effort off the near post to seal the Gladiators 5-4 win.
Gwinnett extends its lead atop the South Division and Eastern Conference, while Greenville remains in second place in the division. The Gladiators are now 15-0-1 when scoring first, and 11-0-1 when leading after two periods.
Louis Domingue won his fifth start in a row, turning aside 37 of 41 shots.
The Gladiators got the early jump on Greenville in the first period, finding the back of the net twice on their first four shots.
Captain Andy Brandt opened the scoring 3:22 in, as he beat Lieuwen over the right shoulder with a wrist shot from the near circle for his second marker of the season. Rookie Evan Bloodoff picked up the assist, but the Gladiators weren't done.
1:10 later defenseman Ryan Donald blasted a slapper from the far point through traffic past Lieuwen for a 2-0 Gwinnett lead. Maxime Villemaire and Rylan Galiardi added the helpers, and the Gladiators carried a two-goal edge into the second period.
T.J. Reynolds' first goal of the season brought the Road Warriors within a goal 7:31 into the second and unleashed a barrage of teddy bears from the fans. The Gladiators answered however at 10:40, as Brandt buried his second of the night on a close-in chance in the slot.
Islanders prospect Jason Clark, who made his Gwinnett debut Friday, put a pass into the slot off a body and straight to the stick of Brandt, who slid the puck under a sprawling Lieuwen. Bloodoff also tallied his second assist of the game, and the Gladiators had a 3-1 lead though 40 minutes.
Greenville rallied for three unanswered goals to take a 4-3 lead in the third period. Andrew Yogan scored at 3:45 and 7:41 to tie the game, and Kenndal McArdle's goal at 8:13 gave Greenville its first lead of the night.
Both teams are back in action Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. at the Arena at Gwinnett Center for the fifth of 12 meetings between the two squads this season.