Duluth, GA - C Mathew Sisca scored twice and added two assists to help the Solar Bears kick off a three-game road trip with a 4-3 win over the Gwinnett Gladiators at the Arena at Gwinnett Center on Friday night.
The Solar Bears got on the board first, using a power play in the later stages of the frame to take the 1-0 lead. After a puck was turned over from behind the Gladiators net, Sisca scooped it up and with G Louis Domingue caught out of the cage, he buried his chance with 6:37 left in the opening period. The Gladiators answered with 42 seconds left to play with a power play marker of their own. F Casey Pierro-Zabotel found F Joey Haddad wide open in front of the net, and Hadded tapped the feed past G John Curry to send the game tied at 1-1 into the first intermission.
Just before the halfway point of the second period, Orlando regained their advantage. RW Chris Lawrence picked up a pass from C Mat Sisca and fired a shot into the top right corner of the net to put Orlando ahead 2-1 at 8:02. Solar Bears captain Ryan Cruthers extended the Orlando lead to a 3-1 advantage when forward C.J. Severyn knocked the puck loose to Sisca on the right wall, and Sisca found Cruthers alone in the slot for his 13th goal of the 2012-13 campaign. Sisca then added his fourth point of the night with 1:12 seconds left in period, taking a rebound off the side of the night and driving it over Domingue to give Orlando a 4-1 leading heading into the third.
The Gladiators came storming back in the final frame. 6:51 into the third stanza, D Sacha Guimond fired a shot from the left point that squeezed through a screen in front of Curry and brought Gwinnett back to within two. Then, with 1:12 remaining in the contest and Domingue pulled for the extra attacker, Pierro-Zabotel found F Justin Bowers open on the left wing, and Bowers slammed the one-timer home to make it a 4-3 game. The Solar Bears were able to hold off the Gladiators for the remainder of the period, however, and battled their way to the 4-3 victory.
Three Stars: 1. M. Sisca (ORL); 2. R. Cruthers (ORL); 3. S. Guimond (GWT)
Power Plays: ORL: 1/4; GWT: 2/4
Shots: ORL: 24; GWT: 38
RW Chris Lawrence returned to the Orlando line up tonight. He ended the game with one goal and a+1 rating... D Corbin Baldwin also made his return, finishing the game +1... The Solar Bears defeated the Gladiators for the first time this season... C Ryan Cruthers extended his goal streak to three games. His second period goal was the 99th goal of his ECHL career... C Mathew Sisca had his third four-point game of the season and his seventh multiple point game.