ELMIRA, N.Y. - The Elmira Jackals attempted to mount a third-period comeback on Monday night against the Gwinnett Gladiators at First Arena. They cut a two-goal deficit to one but couldn't creep any closer and fell 5-1 on Monday night. Elmira's record dropped to 22-31-8 on the season.
Gwinnett, which hadn't visited Elmira since November 2011, jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead by scoring on half of its first four shots of the game. The goals were nearly identical rebound finished by Casey Pierro-Zabotel 50 seconds into the game and Mike Merrifield 4:09 later. Gwinnett didn't give the Jackals much of a chance to get back into the game because Elmira was limited to four shots in the frame. Elmira goalie Scott Greenham rebounded to stop each of the final nine shots he faced in the first to keep the score close.
Greenham, who hadn't started a game since February 28, saw his night get exceptionally busy in the second period. Gwinnett consistently peppered the net to the tune of 15 shots while Elmira manage eight against the Gladiators' Mark Guggenberger. Despite some solid opportunities by both sides the score remained a 2-0 lead for Gwinnett when the scene shifted to the third period.
The Jackals struck quickly in the final stanza so as not to allow the clock to become a major enemy in their bid for a comeback. A long cross-ice pass through center by Jake Trask sprung Mike Vaskivuo into the attack zone one-on-one against a Gwinnett defender. Vaskivuo cut behind the net for some open ice and then beat Guggenberger under the crossbar with a wraparound shot at 6:56. It was Vaskivuo's team-leading 18th goal of the season and Trask's fourth assist. The Jackals couldn't climb any closer, though, and Pierro-Zabotel responded in-kind at`12:50 with a breakaway goal for his second of the night. Merrifield then set up scores by Maxime Legault at 17:12 and Mike Seidel at 19:32 to set the final score.
Greenham faced 41 shots on the night and turned away 36. Elmira did not receive a power play in the game but went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Jackals return to home ice on Saturday, March 29 to take on the Reading Royals. Join us for the inaugural Pink In the Rink presented by Wine and Design. Order tickets using the "PINK" promo code to have $2 from each ticket donated to Susan G. Komen Twin Tiers Region. Don't forget that groups of 10 or more who book in advance receive discounts off the box office price and preferred seating based on availability. Call 607-734-7825 to get your group outing booked.