By: Chris Greene | Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports
December is upon us, and as 2018 draws to a close, everyone is asking where the year went? The ECHL season is flying by in similar fashion, and the Atlanta Gladiators head into week nine with some good news, and some bad news. The bad news? After 18 games, they sit at the bottom of the south division by eight points and 27th, last place, in the ECHL league standings. The Gladiators have managed just 5 wins this season, their record is 5-10-3. The good news? Well it can’t get any worse, can it?
On a more positive note, earlier in the week, the Gladiators announced the return of forward Tanner Pond, who’s spent the season so far with the Providence Bruins making eight appearances. Last season he contributed 37 points (14 goals and 23 assists) in 61 games for the Gladiators. The second-year-pro isn’t afraid to drop the gloves, he accrued 163 penalty minutes in his rookie season and also fought for the Boston Bruins during their preseason game against the Washington Capitals. He was added straight onto the active roster and is eligible to play for Atlanta this weekend. Unfortunately forward Alex Overhardt was recalled by the Milwaukee Admirals. With nine points in his first 17 games as a pro, his departure will be felt by the Gladiators. In other roster news, Bruins prospect Jesse Gabrielle was placed on reserve last week and at the time of writing, hasn’t been added back to the active roster. As things stand, he will not be playing this weekend.
It will be a busy weekend for the Gladiators who are set to play three games in as many days. On Friday night they’ll face the Orlando Solar Bears at home before traveling to the North Charleston Coliseum to take on the South Carolina Stingrays. The Glads will wrap up the weekend against the Stingrays back at home on Sunday night. Three games against divisional opponents give the team a real chance to close the gap on their closest rivals. Halloween is a distant memory for most, but the Gladiators nightmares carried into November. The players and fans alike will be hoping for better results this month, giving the team a platform to build on in the new year.
This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:
Miroslav Svoboda: The Czech netminder is finding himself on this list quite a lot this season. He’s made some incredible saves and really kept the Glads in the contest last Sunday with 35 saves from 36 shots. When he’s in the zone he’s incredibly hard to score against, he will play an important part in the Gladiators revival.
Tanner Pond: His return to Atlanta has been a hit with the fans, and there’s a huge sense of optimism about what the second-year-pro can bring to the ice. A stint in the AHL will have been a great experience for the 26-year-old. He joins his old team when they’re in need of an offensive boost, and packs a punch in more ways than one.
Derek Nesbitt: In difficult times, coaches often turn to experience to help the team back to winning ways. Time and time again Nesbitt has been there for the Gladiators. He has a knack for scoring when the team needs it most, always dependable, he will be key to the Glads revival. He got a goal against Greenville last week and will be hungry to add to that in the next three games.