By Dustin Bixby
The Gwinnett Gladiators regained first place in the ECHL’s South Division with a 3-2 win over the Greenville Road Warriors on Teddy Bear Toss Night Jan. 14 at the .
The Road Warriors Brett Robinson scored the opening goal of the game at 2:03 into the first period to give Greenville the 1-0 lead. Gwinnett outshot the Warriors 11-6, but still remained down by one to end the period.
Forward Andy Brandt initiated the ninth annual Teddy Bear Toss with a goal that beat Greenville’s netminder Jason Missiaen to tie the game 1-1 at 2:44 into the second period. Captain Paul Flache collected the helper with a pass to the glove side of Missiaen from the near circle for Brandt to deflect helping him collect his eighth marker of the season.
The goal unleashed a flurry of fur onto the ice that halted the game for over 10 minutes as the teddy bears and stuffed animals were collected. More than 5,000 bears and stuffed animals where collected that will be donated to local children's charities in the metro Atlanta area and North Georgia.
The Road Warriors took a 2-1 lead at the 15:39 mark of the second period with a goal from Justin Bowers with the help from Robinson and Marc-Oliver Vallerand. Greenville kept the one-goal advantage to end the middle period.
Gladiator Colin Vock battled through the defense to get the puck to defenseman Cody Brookwell who passed it to Nikita Kashirsky. Kashirsky danced into the zone with the puck and pulled up at the top of the circle to tee up the shot that beat Missiaen to tie the game 2-2 at the 1:22 mark of the final period. Kashirsky’s goal was his first goal since Dec. 2 against the Florida Everblades.
Brookwell notched another point on the night as he set up the game-winner from just inside the blue line. Brookwell set a season best with two assist in the win. Justin Milo had the goal deflecting Brookwell’s shot from the point. Chris Clackson add an assist on the marker. Clackson has 12 assists on the season and is tops for Gwinnett in plus/minus ranking.
Netminder Jeff Jakaitis notched his 12th win for the Glads with 12 saves. Gwinnett had more than double the shots of Greenville, outshooting the Road Warriors 38-14 in the contest.
The Gladiators will return to the Arena at Gwinnett Center to host the Greenville Road Warriors on Monday at 12:30 p.m. to observe MLK Jr. Day.
(Editor's note: This report on the game was provided by Dustin Bixby, vice president of communications and new media for the Gwinnett Gladiators.)