By: Chris Greene | Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and with the Gladiators defending like a bunch of turkeys, the reduced workload will be welcome in Atlanta. Wednesday night the Glads will take on the Greenville Swamp Rabbits before facing the South Carolina Stingrays on Friday night. After earning just two points from their last six games, the Gladiators are growing desperate for wins, this week’s games are crucial.
It was confirmed yesterday that the Gladiators had released defenseman Jake Faiella and forward Justin Greenberg from their contracts and both are now eligible for waiver claims. Neither player managed to make much of an impact during their time in Atlanta. On a more positive note, the Gladiators acquired defenseman Kyle Chatham from the Witchita Thunder in exchange for cash considerations. The 25-year-old blueliner only featured in one game for the Thunder this season, and his ECHL potential remains to be seen. The Gladiators have also signed third-year pro defenseman Don Olivieri to bolster the struggling defense. Hopefully, the new additions can make a quick impact.
Given recent results, there probably isn’t a better team for the Glads to face than fellow strugglers Greenville. The Swamp Rabbits are only two points ahead of the Gladiators in the south division, and they’ve had their fair share of beat-downs. The infamous 9-0 thrashing at the hands of the Cincinnati Cyclones will still be keeping them awake at night. One thing Gladiators fans won’t want to hear is that the Swamp Rabbits have scored 15 goals in their last three games since the 9-0 defeat, so they’ll be hungry to get after the Atlanta defense. The teams have played each other twice this season, winning one game apiece. Given home advantage, the Glads will be looking at this as an opportunity to get back into the playoff race, though there’s plenty of games left in the season, the clock is ticking. I’m growing tired already of saying ‘this is a must win for the Gladiators’, but it really is.
After a day off for Thanksgiving, the Glads face the South Carolina Stingrays on Friday night. It will be Shane Eiserman’s first trip back to the Infinite Energy Arena since the Gladiators traded him to South Carolina. He certainly made them pay for that when the teams met days after the deal was done, bagging a goal and an assist just minutes after the puck dropped. Despite going 3-0 down early the last time they played the Stingrays, Atlanta battled hard, showing spells of dominance later in the game. They are certainly capable of a win against South Carolina, this one will be fun to watch.
This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:
Nolan LaPorte: After spending time on injury reserve, the third-year veteran has found some great form. With a total of eight points in just seven games so far this season, the forward bagged himself two goals and two assists last weekend. He’s hot right now if the Gladiators score this week, I’m sure he’ll be involved somehow.
Miroslav Svoboda: Given the recent defensive issues, there are no blueliners on the list this week, however, there’s no way this guy could miss out. He made 83 saves in two games last weekend, unbelievable numbers. Don’t let the recent scorelines affect your opinions of this players talent, because his future is bright. Treasure his time in Atlanta, he’s destined for great things.
Garret Ross: Four points in four games is a good start to his Gladiators career. Given the teams struggles, a point per game forward is exactly what the team needs to rediscover it’s winning ways. He’s settled into the Glads squad quickly and shown his offensive ability, expect him to keep racking up points.