Jackals top Gwinnett
In just his second professional game Jackals rookie Taylor Law posted a pair of goals to help lead Elmira to a 6-3 win over the Gwinnett Gladiators on Wednesday night. It was Elmira's first win at the Arena at Gwinnett Center since November of 2009 and the win improved their record to 24-38-8.
Coming into Wednesday's contest Gwinnett had won six of its last seven games on home ice. The Jackals, though, were undaunted and were able to grab the early lead on just their second shot of the game. After gaining the attack zone on a 3-on-2 rush Patch Alber zipped a pass in front to Jordan Pietrus who roofed a shot glove side only 1:15 into the contest. It was Pietrus' 13th strike of the year with assists to Alber and Vaskivuo. Like the Jackals, the Gladiators utilized an odd-man rush to pot their first goal of the game. Nolan Descoteaux jumped up in the play from his defensive position to take a drop pass from Dirk Southern between the circles. He slipped a shot between Neil Conway's pads for his first professional goal and tied the score at 9:49. Law answered right back for Elmira with a wraparound goal at 10:23 for what was also his first pro goal. Elmira then capitalized on an attack-zone faceoff that came on the heels of an icing call. Pietrus won a faceoff back to Alber at the blueline and his wrist shot gave Vaskivuo a rebound on the doorstep to jam home for his 20th goal of the season. Eleven saves by Conway in the period allowed the Jackals to take the two-goal lead into the second.
At the onset of the middle frame Conway, and the Jackals defense, received a stern test when the Gladiators registered four shots on their first power play of the game. Elmira held fast in the face of heavy pressure and then Law came through with his second of the game to grow the lead to three. Randy Cure launched a slapper from the point that Unice padded directly to Law on the doorstep for the slam dunk goal. Cure picked up his first pro point with the helper. Later on in the period Gwinnett turned a steal at the point into a four-on-one rush that Maxime Legault converted to bring the Gladiators back within two heading into the third period.
Elmira put three goals back between itself and Gwinnett thanks to a fine individual effort by Rob Bellamy. He collected the rebound of a Neil Conway save while working on a penalty kill and then took off like a bullet up ice. He beat three Gladiators through the neutral zone to cut in alone on goalie Josh Unice and score his first shorthanded goal of the year. It gave Elmira a 5-2 lead 5:03 into the frame, but Legault drew Gwinnett back within two 1:27 later. The Gladiators then unleashed a furious comeback attempt that forced Conway to stand on his head to keep the Jackals in front. He swatted away a Mike Seidel breakaway with just under three minutes remaining and then robbed Chris Culligan with a glove save in the final minute as part of his impressive night.
When the final horn sounded Conway made 39 saves to earn his ninth win of the season. The Jackals ended the night 3-for-3 on the penalty kill, with a shorthanded goal, and 0-for-2 on the power play.
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