Atlanta took the ice for the second time in three days against the Norfolk Admirals seeking revenge from Friday night’s overtime loss. An offensive explosion led by Branden Troock’s Hat Trick propelled the Gladiators to the 5-1 win Sunday afternoon.
Just 1:11 into the first period, the Gladiators scored the opening goal to take the early lead. Jesse Gabrielle moved around his offensive zone dancing around the Norfolk defenders before dropping a pass to Ben Danford. The Minnesota native fired a shot towards the net that was redirected in front by Brenden Troock and sailed past Norfolk goalie, Ty Reichenbach for his third goal of the season.
With only :43 seconds left in the first period, the Gladiators improved their lead to two goals. Alex Overhardt picked-off a clearing attempt from the Admirals goalie, Reichenbach who wrapped the puck around the boards. With the Norfolk netminder behind the goal, the rookie forward threw the puck into the open net for his first pro goal.
At the 6:50 mark of the middle session, Atlanta put Norfolk in a 3-0 hole. Troock skated into the zone with his team shorthanded one-on-one with the defender. The Edmonton, AB native netted his second goal of the game with a blistering wrist shot from the right wing circle. Olivier Galipeau earned the helper on Troock’s fourth tally on the campaign.
Just over three minutes later, the Gladiators registered their fourth goal of the evening. Brett McKenzie powered to the front of net but had his stuff-attempt stopped by Reichenbach. The puck slid out to the low slot where Shane Eiserman chipped it between the legs of the Norfolk goalie for his first goal as a Gladiator. Galipeau also notched an assist on the fourth Atlanta mark.
Norfolk broke the Miroslav Svoboda shutout bid 2:22 into the third period. Dan Maggio intercepted a clear attempt from the Czech goalie. With Svoboda scrambling to get back into the crease, Maggio shot the puck between his legs for his first goal of the season.
With only 1:01 left in the contest, Troock completed the Hat Trick and put the home-side up by four once again. The Gladiators leading goal scorer stripped the puck from the Admirals defender and riffled the disc over the shoulder of new Admirals goalie, Brad Barone on a short range breakaway. After the hats were cleaned up off the ice, the Gladiators killed the rest of the clock and won the game 5-1.
With their first win since October 19th, the Gladiators picked up their third win of the season and points seven and eight in the standings. With their first loss in their last four games, Norfolk dropped to 6-3-0-0 and remained at 12 points.
Up next, the Gladiators continue their stretch of four straight games vs. the Admirals in Norfolk, VA next Friday at the Norfolk Scope Arena at 7:00pm.