The Jacksonville Icemen defeated the Atlanta Gladiators, 4-3, on Thursday night at Veterans Memorial Arena. Thursday's game is the last home game of 2017, and the Icemen sent the fans home for the holidays happy with a win.
In a physical first period, goaltending on both ends of the ice was outstanding. Austin Lotz made several quality saves on Darby LLewellyn in the crease in the first half of the frame. The best scoring opportunity for the Icemen came when Tanner Eberle beat Sean Bonar, but the puck rang off the far post and back out of the crease. Later on, Bonar stopped Bobby MacIntyre on a breakaway, but was penalized for tripping. Both teams ended up unable to score on their respective power plays, and the period ended scoreless.
Minutes into the second period, Garet Hunt and Taylor Stefishen got into a scuffle, resulting in a Gladiators power play. Near the end of the man advantage, Luke Sandler scored with a deflection off Colin Jacobs' shot. The resilient Icemen team would find a way to quickly respond. Just over a minute after the Atlanta goal, Jimmy Lodge got the puck all alone on the left circle, skated in and made a quick move to tie the game at one. The Gladiators would respond as Brady Vail got a fortunate bounce off Chris Joseph to put Atlanta back on top, 2-1.
Jacksonville would start the third period with 1:37 remaining on the power play. Tyson Fawcett wasted little time and scored just 18 seconds in to tie the game at two. Austin Lotz would make another fantastic save minutes later that led to a breakaway for Bobby MacIntyre. Atlanta goalie Bonar would skate to the blue line to steal the puck, but Mingo picked it up and passed it to MacIntyre for the easy goal. Tanner Eberle got on the scoresheet with his seventh goal of the season at 11:20 into the third period. The Gladiators would get a goal late with their goalie pulled, but the Icemen would hold on for their first win over Atlanta in franchise history.
The Icemen travel to take on the Greenville Swamp Rabbits tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. to cap off a hectic three games in three nights.