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Gladiators Beat Storm, 5-3, Lead series 1 game to none
5/5/2006
Gladiators Beat Storm, 5-3, Lead series 1 game to none
DESBIENS HAS HAT TRICK IN WIN

Guillaume Desbiens recorded the third hat trick of the post season for the Gladiators helping Gwinnett past the Toledo Storm, 5-3, in Game 1 of the American Conference Championship series at the Arena at Gwinnett Center on Friday night. Gwinnett leads the best-of-seven series 1 game to none and hosts Game 2 of the Series on Monday night at the Arena at Gwinnett Center at 7:05 p.m.

Gwinnett jumped out to a 1-0 lead on the Storm with a power play goal at the 2:04 mark of the first period. Desbiens found a loose puck in the slot and ripped it past Toledo netminder Logan Koopmans for the marker. Derek Nesbitt and Troy Milam moved the puck around helping get Koopmans out of position to set up the tally.

Toledo stormed back tying the contest up at a goal apiece just 35 seconds later on a marker off the stick of Chris Blight. No one picked up Blight parked in the slot as he took a centering pass from Mike James from behind the net and ripped a snapshot past Gladiators goaltender Adam Berkhoel for the marker. Braken Kearns also had an assist on the goal.

Scooter Smith capitalized on a Toledo power play at the 15:07 mark of the first period to give the Storm a 2-1 lead. Parked along the near post, Smith jammed a loose puck past Berkhoel for the marker. Matt Zultek and Todd Jackson collected the assists on the man advantage goal.

Zultek pushed the Toledo lead to 3-1 with the Storm’s second power play goal of the period. Ryan Reid and Jackson picked up the assists on the goal moving the puck along to Zultek to set up the tally.

With time winding down in the second period, Desbiens added his second goal of the game on the power play. Berkhoel chipped the puck off the right wing glass to a waiting Brad Schell who worked the puck along to Jeff Campbell walking in over the Toledo blue line. Campbell dished to Desbiens streaking down the left wing side as the Alma, Quebec native slipped past the Toledo defense and flipped the puck past an outstretched Koopmans for the marker. Desbiens 5th post-season goal came on the power play with just six seconds left in the middle period.

Steve Slaton tied the game at three with his first goal of the post season. The rebound off of Derek Nesbitt’s slapshot from the left wing side deflected right to Slaton, where he fired the puck into what was an empty net as Koopmans was caught out of position for the marker. Troy Milam also had an assist on the goal at 4:43 of the third period.

Jeff Campbell, the ECHL’s regular season MVP gave the Gladiators a 4-3 lead with 3:35 left in the third period. Campbell found the puck in a pile up in front of the Toledo net and ripped the puck past Koopmans for the marker. Dwyer and Schell hooked up to collect the assists on Campbell’s go-ahead goal.

Desbiens added an empty net goal for the 5-3 lead with just 3.9 left in the third period. Schell tipped the puck out into the neutral zone to Desbiens who finished the hat trick by backhanding the puck into the empty net for the game’s final score.

Adam Berkhoel won his fifth game of the post season making a handful of game-saving saves in the third period while finishing with 26 saves in the game for Gwinnett in the win.

PLAYOFFS
ECHL  FINAL                 1ST  2ND  3RD  TOTAL
                            ---  ---  ---  -----
      TOLEDO                 3    0    0     3
      GWINNETT               1    1    3     5     FINAL
      GOAL SCORING:
      1ST PRD: GWN - (PP) GUILLAUME DESBIENS 4 (DEREK NESBITT, TROY MILAM) 
                      2:04
               TOL - CHRIS BLIGHT 4 (MIKE JAMES, BRAKEN KEARNS) 2:39
               TOL - (PP) SCOOTER SMITH 3 (MATT ZULTEK, TODD JACKSON) 15:07
               TOL - MATT ZULTEK 4 (RYAN REID, TODD JACKSON) 17:44
      2ND PRD: GWN - (PP) GUILLAUME DESBIENS 5 (JEFF CAMPBELL, BRAD SCHELL)
                      19:54
      3RD PRD: GWN - (PP) STEVE SLATON 2 (DEREK NESBITT, TROY MILAM) 4:43
               GWN - JEFF CAMPBELL 3 (JEFF DWYER, BRAD SCHELL) 16:25
               GWN - (EN) GUILLAUME DESBIENS 6 (BRAD SCHELL) 19:57
      POWER-PLAY CONVERSIONS: TOL - 2 OF 6, GWN - 3 OF 6.
      SHOTS ON GOAL:        1ST  2ND  3RD  TOTAL
                            ---  ---  ---  -----
                     TOL    17    4    7    28
                     GWN     6   13   18    37
            GOALIES: TOL - LOGAN KOOPMANS
                     GWN - ADAM BERKHOEL
          OFFICIALS: REF - JAMIE KOHARSKI
                     LIN - DAVID JONES, TODD OWEN
                ATT: 3,941

The Gwinnett Gladiators continue the 2006 ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs at the Arena at Gwinnett Center on Monday, May 8th as they host the Toledo Storm in Game 2 of the American Conference Finals at 7:05 p.m. The Gladiators offer several ticket packages for different needs as well as group outings, suites and birthday parties. For more information call 770-497-5100 or log on to gwinnettgladiators.com.

The Gladiators play all 36 home games at the Arena at Gwinnett Center located on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth and are the AA affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers.

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