The Icemen nearly beat the Atlanta Gladiators for the first time in the 2017-18 season presented by Community First Credit Union. However, a late goal with just over one minute remaining in the game put that hope on hold, as the Gladiators won, 2-1.
Austin Lotz’s impact was immediately felt in his debut with the Icemen. In the first period, the Icemen were outshot 13-5, but Lotz was able to keep the Gladiators off the scoreboard for the first 20 minutes of play.
Just over seven minutes into the second period, Elgin Pearce took possession of the puck in the defensive zone and found Goulet all alone at center ice. Goulet continued all the way to the net and beat Vladar with a nice backhand shot through the five-hole to put the Icemen on top. The goal is Goulet’s first since returning from injury and extends his point streak to six games. Elgin Pearce and Christopher Dienes picked up the assists on Goulet’s goal. With the primary assist, Pearce extends his point streak to four games. Minutes later, Brady Vail would get a breakaway of his own and beat Lotz to tie the game at one.
The Icemen saved their best performance offensively for the third period. With two power plays and a quality shorthanded scoring chance from Goulet, the Icemen nearly grabbed the lead multiple times. However, the Gladiators would find the game-winning goal shortly after a Jacksonville penalty expired late in the third period. Zach Malatesta scored his first-ever professional goal as he beat Lotz from the right circle with 1:17 remaining in the game. The Gladiators would hold on for the final 77 seconds to take the win in Duluth.
Despite the loss, goalie Austin Lotz stood out for the Icemen tonight. The 22-year-old stopped 37 shots tonight and kept the Icemen in the game despite facing 33 shots in the first two periods.
The Icemen head to Estero, Florida to take on the Florida Everblades in a back-to-back series beginning Friday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. Fans can catch all the action on ECHL TV.