GWINNETT, Ga. Rallies of three and five goals doomed the Florida Everblades Saturday as the Gwinnett Gladiators laid an 8-1 beating on the Blades.
Scoreless through the first five minutes, Gwinnett exploded for three straight goals in the first period on goals by Brendan Walker, Josh Currie and Dirk Southern.
Compounding the Blades' problems was the red-hot play of Gwinnett goalie Paul Karpowich, who denied a point-blank opportunity on Parker Stanfield amid nine first period saves.
Will MacDonald got Florida on the board 2:24 into the second, giving the Blades a glimmer of hope by slamming home a one-timer from Jordan Henry to cut the score to 3-1.
Gwinnett, however, responded with another three-goal avalanche, getting strikes from Joey Haddad, Kurtis Bartliff and Maxime Legault to stretch the lead to 6-1 after two.
Karpowich continued his mastery of the Everblades in the third, turning aside all 16 shots he saw, including a Mike Merrifield breakaway.
Back-to-back Gladiator power play goals in the final five minutes of the game by Evan Bloodoff and Currie gave the contest its final score of 8-1.
Riku Helenius took the loss in net, making 29 saves on 37 shots. Karpowich earned honors on the night with 36 stops for the victory.
The Blades return home to open a four-game homestand with a 7:30 p.m. Friday showdown with the first-place South Carolina Stingrays at Germain Arena.