Forward C.J. Severyn netted his seventh and eighth goals of the season to tie the game twice in the second period, but it was not enough as the Solar Bears fell 3-2 to the Gwinnett Gladiators at the Arena at Gwinnett Center on Saturday night.
The Gladiators broke through for the only goal of the first 20 minutes. A couple of quick passes through the neutral zone saw F Dirk Southern lead a 2-on-0 rush into the Orlando zone, and Southern snapped a shot past the right pad of G Christopher Gibson as Gwinnett grabbed a 1-0 lead. Gibson collected a few spectacular saves in the first frame, stopping 14 of the 15 shots he faced to keep the Solar Bears within one heading into the second period.
Early in the middle frame, the Solar Bears evened the score at 1-1. While on the power play, D Blake Kessel fired a slap shot that was kicked out by G Scott Stajcer, but Severyn found the rebound and tucked a backhand shot inside the right post at 3:46. Gwinnett regained the lead when F Maxim Legault chipped a shot over the outstretched pad of Gibson to finish off a 2-on-1 chance with 9:59 remaining in the frame. Severyn answered with his second goal of the game when D Cody Wild snapped the puck into the slot and Severyn blasted a one-timer inside the right post to tie the game at 2-2 with 2:36 to go.
After the Solar Bears killed off the rest of a 5-on-3 power play that carried over from the second period, the Gladiators used the ensuing 5-on-4 to take the lead. F Marshall Everson wristed a shot from the bottom of the right circle into the top left corner at 1:17 to give Gwinnett a 3-2 lead. Despite a late push from the Solar Bears with Gibson pulled, they were unable to find the equalizer as they fell 3-2 to Gwinnett.
Three Stars: 1. M. Everson (GWT); 2. C. Severyn (ORL); 3. M. Legault (GWT)
Power Plays: ORL: 1/4; GWT: 1/7
Shots: ORL: 20; GWT: 43