PORTLAND, ME – February 19, 2023 – The top line of the Atlanta Gladiators combined for nine points and all five goals, as they defeated the Maine Mariners 5-2 on Sunday afternoon at the Cross Insurance Arena. The Mariners battled back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits, but Atlanta went 2/3 on the power play to take control of the game.
Atlanta struck just 57 seconds into the game when Cody Sylvester took a puck to the net and Eric Neiley cleaned up a rebound to make it 1-0 early. The Mariners went to the power play and continued their success with the man advantage when Pat Shea ripped home a loose puck underneath the crossbar at 6:49 for his fourth goal of the weekend. The goal set off the annual “underwear and sports bra toss,” collecting new packages of underwear for Preble Street and sports bras for the Sports Bra Project. Atlanta jumped back into the lead at 13:30 when Sylvester led a 2-on-1 and snapped a short side shot past Michael DiPietro.
The Mariners quickly tied it up when the 2nd period began as Austin Albrecht capped off a hard-working shift, one-timing a Conner Bleackley feed between the pads of Joe Murdaca at 2:47. The score remained tied at two until the tail end of the period when Mike Pelech jammed a power play goal into the net that was sitting next DiPietro’s pad. Atlanta carried a 3-2 lead into the third.
Grant Gabriele’s double-minor penalty for high-sticking gave Atlanta a four-minute 4-on-3 power play early in the third. Sylvester beat DiPietro for his second of the game to give the Gladiators insurance at 2:53. Neiley hit a long-range empty netter at 18:20 to bring the game to a 5-2 final. Sylvester finished the game with four points (2 goals, 2 assists), while Neily recorded three (2 goals, 1 assist).