DULUTH, Ga. -- The Gwinnett Gladiators scored three unanswered goals in the third period to knock off the Wheeling Nailers 6-5 Friday night at the Arena at Gwinnett Center to kick off the team's sixth annual Pink in the Rink Weekend. With the win Gwinnett reclaims the top spot in the South Division with 67 points.
Christiaan Minella put Wheeling ahead 5-3 with a goal 2:34 into the third. From there on out, the Gladiators took over scoring three goals in just under four minutes.
Joey Haddad roofed a shot over Nailers goalie Scott Darling on a chance from the far side just 20 seconds after Minella's tally to make it a one-goal game.
A little over two minutes later Justin Bowers took a deflection at the near post and slid the puck past Darling to toe the game. Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Haddad picked up the assists, and the Gladiators weren't finished.
Cody Brookwell scored the game-winning goal for the Gladiators 6:52 into the third. Haddad led a two-on-one rush with Brookwell, and found the defenseman with a pass to the slot that was tucked between the legs of Darling. Louis Domingue added his third assist of the season.
Domingue finished with 19 saves, while Pierro-Zabotel, Jones, Ryan Donald, and Justin Weller all finished the night with a +3 rating.
The Gladiators scored the first goal of the game 49 seconds into the first period. Donald punched a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle past Darling. Jones and Pierro-Zabotel earned assists on the marker.
Wheeling answered with a goal by Cam Fergus 2:26 into the first. Paul Crowder put the Nailers on top with a power play goal 12:23 into the first.
Gwinnett tied the score with an unassisted marker by Alex Belzile 16:56 into the first on a top shelf wrist shot. The Nailers regained the lead 3-2 with a power play goal from Chris Barton 17:30 into the first to end the period.
Barton scored his second power pay goal for Wheeling 9:44 into the second period. Pierro-Zabotel lessened the deficit for the Gladiators to one with a marker 13:01 into the second. The Ashcroft, BC native deflected a Weller shot from the point past Darling. Donald picked up his second point on the goal.
The Gladiators continue Pink in the Rink Weekend at the Arena at Gwinnett Center Saturday at 7:05 p.m. against the Florida Everblades.