Icemen Battle Hard, but Fall to Undefeated Atlanta
JACKSONVILLE, FL – Reece Vitelli finished with a goal and an assist as the Atlanta Gladiators improved to a club record 8-0-0 with a 5-2 win over the Jacksonville Icemen at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena Saturday night.
The Gladiators scored the game’s first goal with their league-best fifth shorthanded goal of the season. Mitchell Fossier stole the puck away from the Icemen point man and took off on a shorthanded breakaway and performed a backhand-forehand deke to steer the puck high over goaltender Michael Houser for the tally.
Later in the opening period, the Gladiators executed a perfectly set up play as they rushed into the zone. Fossier dropped the puck back to Reece Vitelli who collected it on the left wing. Vitelli then passed it across the Ice to the backside of the crease perfectly to a wide-open Mycah Miller who tapped it in behind Houser to make it a 2-0 Atlanta lead.
The Gladiators added to their lead, in the second period, on a shot from the circle that was stopped by Houser, but the rebound jumped to Vitelli who hammered the puck into the net for the goal.
The shorthanded Icemen battled hard throughout the game, generating a ton of chances down the stretch. Early in the third period, the Icemen went on the power play and Anthony Petruzzelli snapped a shot from the right circle that hit off of Atlanta goaltender Tyler Harmon to pull the Icemen with two at 3-1.
Atlanta countered five minutes later on a tally by Ryan Cranford, but the Icemen refused to go away as Chris Grando would tip and redirect a Brandon Fortunato shot that would clip into the net to pull the Icemen within two once again at 8:10 of the third.
Despite the momentum boost, and a surge of offensive chances, the Gladiators were able to hang on and later an empty-net tally to take the game 5-2 and improve to 8-0-0 on the season.
The Icemen continue their homestand on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of next week.
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