2003 - 2004
March 30, 2004
GENERALS GET ONE POINT IN BATTLE WITH GLADIATORS
GREENSBORO - In front of 5,009 faithful fans inside the Greensboro Coliseum, with the Greensboro Generals battling for their playoff lives, and the South Carolina Stingrays win over the Augusta Lynx, Greensboro faced a critical home finale with the Gwinnett Gladiators. In a tough battle throughout, the Generals earned a tie at home following a 4-3 loss in a shootout, and completed the 2003-04 regular season with a 20-15-1 record at the Greensboro Coliseum.
The Generals (39-29-2) did not open the first period of their final home regular season in the matter in which they would have liked, allowing a 1-0 Gwinnett advantage at the end of play. An even strength goal by forward Gladiators (40-22-7) forward Eric Nielsen proved as the only one of 11 Gwinnett shots on goal to find net. Nielsen, on a pass from the right side by forward Brandon Dietrich, hit the puck top shelf past Jamie Hodson for the lone goal. Greensboro managed 10 shots on goal in the period that was filled with only one penalty.
Greensboro found its rhythm in the second period, as the Generals capitalized its offensive possessions with 15 shots on goal. The Generals also managed to tie the game at 1-1, when at the 3:15 mark of the game, Mike Bayrack made a pass between the legs to an incoming Matt Turek for his 20th goal of the season. Greensboro would assume the lead, when Pete Gardiner returned following a holding penalty, as he sent in a pass from Mark Turner for a 2-1 lead.
Hodson continued his strong defensive performance, but a rebound shot that went top shelf with him sprawled out on his stomach, again knotted the score. Chris Durno would take advantage of a Steve Slonina rebound shot just 43 seconds into the third period, tying the score. The Generals Bryson Busniuk responded with his 10th goal of the season, as teammate Eric Fortier pass from behind the net to an on-coming Busniuk who gave Greensboro a 3-2 lead. An extra skater put on the ice by Gwinnett, helped to tie the score with just 24 seconds remaining in the game, as Durno would prove costly again this time on an unassisted goal that was batted down by Hodson, as Durno converted the rebound.
A scoreless overtime period, Greensboro would manage only two shots, both by defenseman Kurt Drummond, sending the game to a shootout. In the shootout, Gwinnett’s Steve Slonina converted the game-winner, moving Greensboro into a four-way tie for second in the Southern Division.
The Generals will complete the ECHL regular season on the road with games against the Florence Pride and South Carolina Stingrays. Greensboro will face-off against Florence on Friday, and follow with a match-up for what could potentially be a deciding game for both teams to reach the ECHL playoffs.
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