Joey Haddad picked up two third-period goals, lifting the Gwinnett Gladiators to a dramatic 3-2 win in Game Two of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series Wednesday (April 4) night with the South Carolina Stingrays at North Charleston Coliseum. The victory evens the best-of-five series at 1-1 with Games Three, Four, and Five coming to the .
Trailing 2-1 with time running out in the third Gwinnett battled back to tie. Forward Andy Brandt took a shot that deflected through traffic to the near post where Haddad was waiting, as he deflected the puck past Rays goaltender Daren Machesney to even the score at 2-2 at the 11:18 mark of the third. Paul Flache had the other assist on the marker.
Haddad wasn’t finished. The Sydney, Nova Scotia, native skillfully redirected a point shot from Brandt out of mid-air right between the legs of Machesney to put Gwinnett ahead for good with just 1:50 left in regulation. Pat Galivan tacked on a helper, and the Gladiators clamped down defensively from there on out.
Marc Cheverie earned his first win of the postseason making 20 saves, while Machesney took the loss making 23 stops. Gwinnett cashed in on the power play going 2-for-5 while holding the Rays to 0-for-2.
South Carolina jumped ahead in the first, as Maxime Lacroix capitalized on a turnover in the Gladiators end and put a quick shot behind Cheverie at 4:15 for a 1-0 Rays lead.
The Gladiators thought they had the game tied on the power play late in the first, but after a flurry of chances in front the goal was waved off due to goaltender interference and the score stayed at 1-0 through one period.
Justin Milo finally solved Machesney in the second on the man advantage. Gwinnett worked the puck to the crease and in the confusion Milo tucked in it with Tyler Murovich and Bryan Brutlag assisting at 5:37.
With the game tied in the third Greg Stewart scored his third goal of the series at 2:24 to put South Carolina ahead, setting the stage for Gwinnett’s comeback.
Game Three is Friday, April 6, at 7:05 p.m. at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. Tickets are available on the Gwinnett Gladiators website.
(Editor's note: This game report provided by the Gwinnett Gladiators.)