BY: Cristiano Simonetta, Catherine Morrison
SAVANNAH, GA — The Ghost Pirates (7-11-2-1) used three second-period goals to propel themselves to a 5-2 victory against the Atlanta Gladiators (9-10-0-0) Friday night.
The Ghost Pirates scored early thanks to Sebastian Vidmar’s third goal of the season at 3:55, which came off a 2-on-1 chance.
“He’s starting to find his legs,” Ghost Pirates head coach Rick Bennett said. “He’s always been a guy that can score and put up points when given the opportunity.”
Anthony Collins was credited with the primary assist, making his mark in his 500th ECHL game. Collins is the 48th player in ECHL history to play in 500 games.
“It’s been a ride,” Collins said. “I say it’s the best job you’ll ever have, so enjoy every single minute of it because it does go quickly. It feels like yesterday I was the young rookie trying to get my feet wet in this league, and next thing you know, it's five hundred games.”
The Gladiators retaliated with a power play goal at 14:40 by Cody Sylvester to tie the game.
Atlanta had a chance to get the leading goal when Peter Tischke was sent to the penalty box for high sticking with a little over two minutes left in the first, but Savannah killed the penalty to hold the Gladiators at one.
The Ghost Pirates came out strong in the second period, retaking the lead with a power-play goal from Matt Boudens at 3:31. The goal marked Boudens’ first of the season and the first goal by a Ghost Pirates captain in franchise history.
Atlanta’s Mitch Walinski was sent to the penalty box for hooking seven minutes later, and Brent Pedersen capitalized, shooting a puck from the slot that deflected off a Gladiators skate into the net for his seventh goal of the year, giving Savannah a 3-1 lead at 11:00.
Rookie defenseman Tanner Vescio added to Savannah’s advantage, scoring his first professional goal at 16:05 off a shot from the far side circle. Vescio played last season at Northern Michigan University, serving as the captain of the Wildcats. He joined the Ghost Pirates this summer via free agency.
“It’s uplifting,” Bennett said. “For Vescio, it was a terrific goal, his first one, and that was really special because it was a beautiful goal.”
It looked like Atlanta might turn things around when Cody Sylvester scored his second goal of the game in the third period, again on the power play, to make the score 4-2 at 10:43.
However, the Ghost Pirates answered again when Pat Guay redirected a shot by Nolan Valleau into the net at 15:49 for his third goal in eight games since rejoining Savannah from the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights.
“We always say the enemy has a say in every battle,” said Bennett. “I think Atlanta’s say is pretty fiery, and I just like our response.”
Valleau finished the night with two assists in his 400th game as a pro. Michael Bullion made 26 saves for the Ghost Pirates, picking up his 20th career win.
The Ghost Pirates went 2-for-5 on the power play and 3-for-5 on the penalty kill in the victory.
The Ghost Pirates will return to Enmarket Arena on Saturday, December 9, to face the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. For ticket information, go to GhostPiratesHockey.com!