Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 23 Recap

( Photo Credit: Taylor Trebotte / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The Atlanta Gladiators secured five points from three games in a what proved to be a good week for the Duluth based team. With 10 games remaining, the Glads are now level on points with the South Carolina Stingrays for the final playoff spot. Every game is crucial, and the Gladiators are rising to the challenge.

The South Carolina Stingrays were Atlanta’s first opponent of the week. After an impressive run of games, the Glads started Sean Bonar in net. With both teams fighting for the final playoff spot, the pressure was intense. South Carolina scored first, Mason Mitchell put the visitors ahead with the only goal of the first period. Midway through the second, the Stingrays doubled their lead after Jordan Samuel-Thomas beat Bonar. Four minutes later, the ‘Rays were three goals ahead, after Mitchell snagged his second goal of the night. Atlanta responded immediately, forward Brett McKenzie pulled one back for the hosts, assisted by Zach Malatesta. 3-1 the score after two.

Despite out-shooting South Carolina in the first two periods, the Gladiators had a lot of work to do in the third. It took five minutes for Matt Lane to get Atlanta within one, he was assisted by Zach Malatesta and Nolan LaPorte. Atlanta continued to pressure the Stingrays, and it finally paid off. Nick Bligh scored to tie the game at 3-3, Derek Nesbitt and Olivier Galipeau combined for the assists. The game went into overtime, and after a tense five minutes, the score remained tied. Both teams had to prepare for a shootout. Andrew Cherniwchan scored for the Stingrays, and Brett McKenzie found the net for Atlanta to make it 1-1 after three attempts each. After a series of misses from both teams, Alex Overhardt scored in the 11th round of the shootout before a save from Bonar secured a stunning comeback win for the Gladiators.

Game two saw the Florida Everblades come to town for the final time in the regular season. Following his heroics in the shootout, Atlanta stuck with Bonar as the starting goaltender. He was tested early by a Florida power play, but the Glads stood firm. The home team took the lead midway through the first period, with a goal from Nolan LaPorte, Matt Lane, and Zach Malatesta was credited with the helpers. The Gladiators held onto their one-goal lead until the second period, when Shane Walsh leveled for Florida. Neither team could find a second goal, even after overtime, so for the second game in a row, a shootout would determine the winner. Blake Winiecki beat Bonar to win the game for Florida, but the Glads came away with a crucial point.

The Glads took on the Norfolk Admirals for the third and final game of the week. After a string of good performances, Bonar started again. The game remained scoreless until the second period when LaPorte put the Glads ahead with an assist from John Furgele. Norfolk leveled the score with a power-play goal from Domenic Alberga, ending the second period 1-1. Both teams had chances to take the lead in the third, but it was Atlanta that pulled ahead. Nick Bligh scored the game-winning goal, assisted by Derek Nesbitt. 2-1 the final score, capping off a solid week for the Gladiators.

Interested in going to an Atlanta Gladiators or Boston Bruins game? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from our advertising partners over at SeatGiant. Click the links below and please use discount code BNGP to save a little cash! Thank You!

—>Atlanta Gladiators 2018-19 Schedule & Ticket Info<—

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Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 23 Preview

( Photo Credit: Dale Zanine / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

After a tough week on the road, the Atlanta Gladiators return home for three divisional matchups against South Carolina, Florida, and Norfolk. Coach Pyle will be working hard to make sure his team returns to winning ways and keep their playoff hopes alive. The Glads are just two points behind the South Carolina Stingrays, who are in the final playoff spot. This is a crucial week, and the playoff picture could look very different after the next three games.

The Glads were boosted by the return of Brett McKenzie last Friday, following a stint in the AHL with the Providence Bruins. The rookie forward made an instant impact, but the big move of the week was the trade that saw forward, Branden Troock, sent to the Maine Mariners in exchange for defenseman, John Furgele. The rookie blueliner has been a standout performer this season, contributing 21 points (8g, 13a) in 51 games for the Mariners. He opened his Glads account straight away with two assists for his new team. In other news, forward Jared Ross has been signed and added to the active roster. Derek Nesbitt and Jake Flegal return from reserve while Joshua Victor and Joe Widmar head the other way. Defenseman Kevin Montgomery has been placed on IR as of March ninth.

The Gladiators started the week against the South Carolina Stingrays. With the two teams so close in the South Division standings, this is the most important game of the week. Playing at home will be an advantage for Atlanta, but with so much at stake, it is a tough game to call. The Glads have been closing in on the Stingrays for some time, and letting them win would increase the gap to four points. Both teams will be feeling the pressure, this could be a defining moment in the playoff race.

The games do not get any easier for Atlanta. Following the crucial game against South Carolina, the Glads get a chance of redemption against the Florida Everblades. Atlanta lost all three games against the ‘Blades last week, but they managed to earn a point in the third match up. The Everblades have been a problem for a very long time, but the Glads know they are capable of beating them. Home ice will be an advantage, but Atlanta will have to be at their best to win this one.

The Glads finish the week at home against the Norfolk Admirals. It has been over a month since the two teams last faced off. Since then, the Gladiators have climbed above Norfolk in the South Division standings and head into the week five points ahead of them. The Admirals are 3-6-0-1 in their last 10 and have not won in six games. Earlier this week, they picked up former Gladiator, Shane Eiserman, via trade which will add spice to the game.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Brett McKenzie: After spending time in the AHL with the Providence Bruins, McKenzie returned to the Glads and picked up where he left off scoring three points (1g, 2a) last week. The rookie forward has become an important player for Atlanta and is currently third on the team in total points with 36 (12g, 24a).

Olivier Galipeau: The rookie defenseman has been quiet offensively in recent weeks and is due for some points. The Gladiators power play has been strong all season, and Olivier is a key part of it. He is a skillful player and always fun to watch, keep an eye on him.

Nick Bligh: The third-year forward exploded against Jacksonville with three first period goals (for the second time this season) and has seven points (4g, 3a) in his last five games for Atlanta. He has been in solid form over the last two weeks and will be one to watch this week.

Interested in going to an Atlanta Gladiators or Boston Bruins game? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from our advertising partners over at SeatGiant. Click the links below and please use discount code BNGP to save a little cash! Thank You!

—>Atlanta Gladiators 2018-19 Schedule & Ticket Info<—

–> Boston Bruins 2018-19 Schedule & Ticket Info <–

Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 22 Preview

( Photo Credit: Amanda Bingham / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The Atlanta Gladiators face four tough divisional matchups this week. They will play three games on the road against the Florida Everblades before heading to Jacksonville to take on the Icemen. It will not be an easy ride, but the Glads have a great opportunity to test themselves in a playoff style scenario. Atlanta is just one point behind the South Carolina Stingrays in the race to the postseason.

Last week the Glads were boosted by the return of forwards Derek Nesbitt and Branden Troock, but there have been significant changes to the roster since then. After an impressive week, forwards Matt Lane and Zach Magwood were recalled to the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL. Atlanta acquired defenseman Joshua Victor, but the rookie was placed on reserve along with forward Luke Stork.

For the second time this season, Atlanta heads to the Hertz Arena for a three-game stint against the Florida Everblades. There are not many teams that would look forward to playing three straight games against the South Division leaders, but Coach Pyle will ensure that his players are prepared. Both teams are 6-4 in their last 10 games and enter the week in similar form. After struggling against the Everblades for almost two seasons, the Glads have won two of the last three games against them so they can take confidence from that. Atlanta has won 14 straight games when scoring first, so a good start will be vital against the Everblades.

Atlanta will finish the week in Florida against Jacksonville. The Glads have unfinished business after falling 2-0 to the Icemen last week. They will be hoping to get revenge and close the gap on their divisional rivals. Four road games is never easy, but the Glads will be motivated to prove that they belong in the playoffs.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Joe Widmar: The second-year forward has been a solid addition to the Glads roster with 17 points (6g, 11a) in 25 games. After being traded by a few teams, he has settled in Atlanta and been a consistent performer. Last week he bagged a goal and an assist and is definitely worth keeping an eye on this week.

Michael Bitzer: The back-up goaltender struggled in his last start, being pulled before the end of the first period. With the Glads playing four games this week, he is likely to start at least once. Bitzer is a very talented goalie and will bounce back from his last start. He recorded his first professional shutout just two games before and a lot has been said about his ability. He will be fun to watch this week.

Branden Troock: Troock’s return from injury was a big boost for the Gladiators last week. He hit the ground running with three points (1g, 2a) after a long period on Injured Reserve. In 19 games for Atlanta this season, he’s tallied 17 points (10g, 7a) which is just short of a point per game. He is one of the most productive forwards in the league and if he can stay healthy, will be a very important player for Atlanta down the stretch.

Interested in going to an Atlanta Gladiators or Boston Bruins game? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from our advertising partners over at SeatGiant. Click the links below and please use discount code BNGP to save a little cash! Thank You!

—>Atlanta Gladiators 2018-19 Schedule & Ticket Info<—

–> Boston Bruins 2018-19 Schedule & Ticket Info <–

Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 21 Recap

( Photo Credit: Amanda Bingham / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

After a successful week on the road in South Dakota, the Gladiators returned to more familiar territory in week 21, facing South Division rivals Jacksonville and Greenville. Despite the return of Derek Nesbitt, Atlanta only managed one win from three games. The Glads remain in fifth place, just one point behind South Carolina, the playoff race is still very much alive.

The week began with a trip to Jacksonville to take on the Icemen. Sean Bonar was given the start, and the Glads began their fifth-straight road game. Atlanta was awarded an early power play, but it was all Jacksonville for most of the first period. The Glads defended bravely, and the game was scoreless heading into the first intermission. Less than a minute into the second period, the Icemen took the lead with a goal from David Broll. The Gladiators managed to create some chances but were unable to find the net. With two seconds left in the second, the home team doubled their lead with a score from Everett Clark. The two-goal lead proved to be more than enough in the final frame with Atlanta unable to score. A disappointing start to the week for the Glads.

After five tough road games, Atlanta finally returned home to take on the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Sean Bonar remained the starter, and the Glads were boosted by the return of forward, Branden Troock. It was Derek Nesbitt who struck first, putting Atlanta ahead with assists from Nolan LaPorte and Joe Widmar. The Glads were in control but could not increase their lead before Jake Bolton leveled the score for the visitors. 1-1 the score at the break.

Atlanta continued to dominate in the second period, but the Swamp Rabbits hung on, somehow keeping the puck out of their net. The Glads persistence finally paid off when Avery Peterson scored the only goal of the second period, assisted by Tyson Fawcett and Justin MacDonald. Atlanta extended the lead early in the third frame, Matt Lane with the tally, assisted by Zach Magwood and Branden Troock. The Glads were cruising until the Swamp Rabbits were awarded a power play, which led to a goal from Austen Brassard, making it a one-goal game. Greenville threw everything they had at Atlanta, pulling their goalie and putting pressure on Sean Bonar and the Glads defense. After a tense few minutes, the Gladiators weathered the storm and emerged victorious, 3-2 the final score.

After the thrilling win over the Swamp Rabbits in Game Two, Atlanta traveled to Greenville for a rematch in the third and final game of the week. The Glads stuck with Sean Bonar after confident displays from him in the previous two games. The Swamp Rabbits took the lead in the 10th minute with a goal from Tyler Bird. The Gladiators leveled moments later thanks to Branden Troock, who was assisted by Olivier Galipeau and Matt Lane. Both sides had chances before Greenville was awarded a power play. The home team took full advantage, and Adam Larkin restored their lead. The frantic first period ended with Alex Overhardt scoring for Atlanta with help from Troock, 2-2 the score at the break.

Greenville took the lead for the third time half-way through the second period, with goals from Dylan Vander Esch and Austen Brassard. Atlanta was unable to respond until the final frame when Joe Widmar pulled one back thanks to assists from Derek Nesbitt and Nick Bligh. It looked like the Glads were going to level the score again before a Greenville power play goal from Stephen Pierog thwarted their hopes. 5-3 the final score.

Interested in going to an Atlanta Gladiators or Boston Bruins game? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from our advertising partners over at SeatGiant. Click the links below and please use discount code BNGP to save a little cash! Thank You!

—>Atlanta Gladiators 2018-19 Schedule & Ticket Info<—

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Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 21 Preview

( Photo Credit: Taylor Trebotte / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The playoff race is really heating up in the South Division, and the Atlanta Gladiators are in the hunt for a spot. Just two points separate South Carolina, Atlanta, and Norfolk. After an impressive week on the road, Atlanta has a chance to boost its playoff hopes with three games against divisional opponents. The week starts with a trip to Jacksonville to face the Icemen before the Glads take on the Greenville Swamp Rabbits both at home and on the road.

The Gladiators announced two big moves on Tuesday. Forward Tyson Fawcett joined Atlanta from the Reading Royals, in exchange for cash considerations. The experienced center has only managed five points (4g, 1a) in 35 games this year, but has scored 118 points (52g, 66a) in 278 ECHL games. He will bring experience to the Gladiators forward core and has a chance to feature against his former team, the Jacksonville Icemen, this week. After an impressive spell in Atlanta, defenseman Filip Pyrochta was recalled to the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. He notched two goals and three assists in his time with the Glads. In other news, the Admirals reassigned forward Zach Magwood to Atlanta. The first-year pro earned an assist in three games for the Glads earlier in the season. Defenseman Kevin Montgomery has been activated from reserve after a lengthy spell on the sidelines, and Mr. Gladiator, Derek Nesbitt, returns to the lineup after missing out on the Rapid City road trip.

The matchup against Jacksonville will be Atlanta’s fifth consecutive game on the road. After taking four points from a possible six last week, the Glads will be hoping to end the road trip in style. The Icemen are 5-3-1-1 in their last 10 games and third place in the South Division standings, six points ahead of Atlanta. The Gladiators have won the last two games against Jacksonville and the Icemen will be looking over their shoulders as the playoff race heats up, this will certainly be a fun game to watch.

Game two of the week marks the return of the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, who are no strangers to the Infinite Energy Arena. After replacing Atlanta at the bottom of the South Division standings, the Swamp Rabbits have been able to win some games and have improved to 5-5 in their last 10. It is always difficult to call when these two teams play, but with home advantage, the Glads should win comfortably.

Atlanta finished off the week with a trip to Greenville, hopefully on the back of a positive result from game two. The Glads will be the favorites for the rematch, but the Swamp Rabbits should not be underestimated. As long as Coach Pyle’s men respect their opponent, Atalanta will take the win.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Sean Bonar: After the game, we don’t talk about (8-2 loss to Newfoundland) Bonar has bounced back in great form. He recorded a shutout win last week and only conceded one goal in two starts. He also replaced Michael Bitzer for two periods and kept his net empty. It’s safe to say he’s back to his best, definitely one to watch this week.

Zach Malatesta: The hard-hitting defenseman has been one of Atlanta’s unsung heroes this season. He scored a game-winner against Rapid City last week and has consistently been a key part of the Glads defensive core. He is very dangerous when he gets the opportunity to attack and deserves to be highlighted this week.

Derek Nesbitt: Mr. Gladiator returns to the lineup after missing out against Rapid City. He will be raring to go as the Glads are on fire offensively. He leads the Gladiators against the Icemen this season with eight points (3g, 5a) and should be on your radar this week.

Interested in going to an Atlanta Gladiators or Boston Bruins game? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from our advertising partners over at SeatGiant. Click the links below and please use discount code BNGP to save a little cash! Thank You!

—>Atlanta Gladiators 2018-19 Schedule & Ticket Info<—

–> Boston Bruins 2018-19 Schedule & Ticket Info <–

Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 20 Recap

( Photo Credit: Richard Anderson / rapidcityjournal.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The Gladiators return from their road trip to South Dakota triumphant. After winning two of the three games against the Rapid City Rush, Atlanta has closed the gap on the South Carolina Stingrays to just one point. Despite losing some key players to Providence before the road trip, the Glads stuck together and will be pleased with their four-point haul.

Sean Bonar was given the start between the pipes for game one, hoping to bounce back from a slight dip in form the previous week. Atlanta took an early lead with a goal from Nick Bligh, assisted by Joe Widmar and Avery Peterson. The Glads looked comfortable in the first period, but the Rush improved in the second. Eventually, the home team leveled the score with a tally from Justin Faryna. A win was on the cards for both teams heading into the final period, and after a flurry of chances, defenseman Zach Malatesta stepped up and scored the game-winner for Atlanta. He was assisted by Joe Widmar and Luke Stork. 2-1 the final score.

After making 23 saves from 24 shots in game one, Atlanta stuck with Sean Bonar as the starter for round two. The Glads controlled the opening frame and eventually took the lead with a power-play goal from Nolan LaPorte, assisted by Daniel Leavens and Olivier Galipeau. Rapid City’s discipline continued to cause them problems in the second period. Atlanta doubled the lead with a second power-play goal, this time it was Justin MacDonald with the score, assisted by Nick Bligh and Avery Peterson. The home side gave up a third power-play goal just moments later, as Alex Overhardt slotted home with helpers from Olivier Galipeau and Nolan LaPorte. The Rush had a mountain to climb in the third period. After throwing everything at Atlanta, they couldn’t beat Sean Bonar. Justin MacDonald wrapped up the shutout win with an empty-netter in the closing stages. 4-0 the final score. It was Coach Pyle’s 500th win as an ECHL coach, he became the second person in league history to achieve the milestone.

Michael Bitzer was given the start against his former team for the third and final game of the week, but it was a difficult night for the second-year netminder. It was the Rush who scored first with Zach Fischer getting on the board midway through the first period. Moments later, former Gladiator Darby Llewellyn found the net to double Rapid City’s lead, before Zach Fischer scored his second of the night on the power play, making the score 3-0. This prompted the Glads to pull Bitzer in favor of Bonar with just under a minute remaining in the first frame.

Atlanta had a lot of work to do heading into the second period and scored quickly after Nick Bligh was set up by Filip Pyrochta and Joe Widmar. Despite heavily out-shooting Rapid City, the Glads could not add to their tally in what proved to be a very frustrating period. Atlanta continued to put pressure on the home team during the third period, and eventually found a second goal, Matt Lane the scorer, assisted by Pyrochta and Malatesta. As the clock ticked down, the Glads looked certain to level the score before Cedric Montminy tucked home an empty-netter for the hosts, ending the game 4-2 to the Rush. It was a bitter pill to swallow for Atlanta, who out-shot Rapid City 40-17.

Interested in going to an Atlanta Gladiators or Boston Bruins game? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from our advertising partners over at SeatGiant. Click the links below and please use discount code BNGP to save a little cash! Thank You!

—>Atlanta Gladiators 2018-19 Schedule & Ticket Info<—

–> Boston Bruins 2018-19 Schedule & Ticket Info <–

Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 20 Preview

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( Photo Credit: gwinnettdailypost.com / Taylor Trebotte )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The Gladiators franchise-record point streak ended last week, but the team has already laid the foundations for another unbeaten run. After a disappointing loss to the Newfoundland Growlers, Atlanta bounced back with comfortable wins against Greenville and South Carolina. This week, the Glads head to South Dakota for a three-game series against the Rapid City Rush.

There have been some significant departures from the Gladiator’s roster over the last week. Forward Brett McKenzie was recalled to Providence after an impressive rookie season in Atlanta. He leaves the Gladiators ranked second for points on the season with 34 (11g, 23a) and will be missed by the fans and his teammates. Defenseman Joel Messner was also recalled to Providence, and like McKenzie, will be a big loss for Atlanta. He was establishing himself as one of the most important players on the roster and had recently been made alternate captain. The Gladiators have resigned defenseman Brandon McMartin who did a feature for the team earlier in the season but has spent the majority of 2018-19 with the Knoxville Ice Bears of the SPHL. He has joined up with the squad and could feature against Rapid City this week.

This week’s opponents, the Rapid City Rush, are the second non-divisional opponents that the Glads will face this season. Atlanta will be hoping for much better results than the game against the Newfoundland Growlers. Both the Glads and the Rush are very close in the league standings, with 50 points each. The Rush have a 5-3-2 record in their last 10 games and will pose a physical threat to Atlanta, with almost twice as many penalty minutes on the season. Gladiators netminder, Michael Bitzer, could face his former team if he gets a start over Sean Bonar, and the Glads will be up against former forward, Darby Llewellyn, who has 16 points (5g, 11a) on the season for the Rush. It is difficult to predict who will come out on top as the teams have not faced each other yet, home advantage will help the Rush, but Atlanta will be hoping to improve their playoff chances with points on this road trip.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Daniel Leavens: The veteran forward has hit the ground running for Atlanta. He grabbed three points (2g, 1a) in three games for the Glads last week and is establishing himself as a key part of the offense. His experience will be very valuable on what will be a tricky road trip, he will want to lead by example. Keep an eye on him.

Michael Bitzer: The second-year goaltender has been waiting patiently for a run in the Atlanta team and he made a great impression last week, recording his first professional shutout in the game against Greenville. Facing his former team will give added motivation and makes him an intriguing player to watch this week.

Nick Bligh: The third-year forward has eight points in his last eight games and has scored some very important goals for the Glads already this season. He’s been one of the most important forwards in recent weeks and his contributions have gone slightly under the radar. An exciting player and definitely one to watch out for this week.

Interested in going to an Atlanta Gladiators or Boston Bruins game? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from our advertising partners over at SeatGiant. Click the links below and please use discount code BNGP to save a little cash! Thank You!

—>Atlanta Gladiators 2018-19 Schedule & Ticket Info<—

–> Boston Bruins 2018-19 Schedule & Ticket Info <–

Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 19 Recap

( Photo Credit: gwinnettdailypost.com / Taylor Trebotte )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The Atlanta Gladiators franchise-record win streak came to an end on a valentines day, following a humbling defeat at the hands of the Newfoundland Growlers. The result was quickly forgotten, and the Glads began a new streak with victories over Greenville and South Carolina to complete a thrilling weekend of hockey.

Atlanta’s game against the Newfoundland Growlers was postponed by a day due to bad weather, but that didn’t slow the visitors down. They took the lead in the seventh minute with a goal from Giorgio Estephan. Eight seconds later, the Growlers doubled their lead with a goal from Brady Ferguson. The Gladiators struggled to establish themselves, and just after the 10-minute mark, they were three goals down, after J.J. Piccinich beat Sean Bonar in the Atlanta net. Less than a minute later Josh Kestner made the score 4-0, the first intermission could not come soon enough for the Gladiators.

The Growlers dominance continued into the second period, they peppered Atlanta’s net with shots before James Melindy made the score 5-0, prompting the Glads to replace Sean Bonar with Michael Bitzer. The change did not slow down Newfoundland, as Brady Ferguson scored his second of the night. After giving the visitors a six-goal head start, the Glads finally got on the board with a goal from Daniel Leavens. His effort was canceled out a minute later when Giorgio Estephan bagged his second goal, making the score 7-1 after two periods. The Growlers showed no mercy in the third period, the Glads managed to keep the puck out of their net for seven minutes before Derian Plouffe scored. Matt Lane scored for Atlanta to make the score 8-2, but it was a disappointing night for the home team.

After their worst defeat of the season, the Glads hosted the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Jeff Pyle’s men were determined to get back to winning ways. Following the previous night’s blowout, Michael Bitzer was given the start between the pipes over Sean Bonar. After a scoreless first period, Joe Widmar put Atlanta ahead halfway through the second. Joel Messner doubled the Glads lead moments later, and the home team looked comfortable heading into the second intermission. Daniel Leavens finished off the Swamp Rabbits early in the third, the visitors were unable to trouble Bitzer, who recorded his first professional shutout. 3-0 the final score.

The Glads wrapped up week 19 with a visit to South Carolina to take on the Stingrays. It was Derek Nesbitt’s 900th professional game, another milestone for the veteran forward. Justin MacDonald gave Atlanta an early lead before Grant Besse leveled for the ‘Rays. Neither side could score during the second period, despite both having chances. The Stingrays snatched the lead with less than 10 minutes to go, with a goal from Mike Chen. Despite going a goal down late on, the Glads kept their cool and managed to tie the game with a goal from Filip Pyrochta. Moments later, Nick Bligh put Atlanta ahead with a power-play goal before Joel Messner sealed the win with an empty netter. The Gladiators were fully deserving of the 4-2 win.

The results leave Atlanta fifth in the South Division, three points clear of the Norfolk Admirals and just five points behind the South Carolina Stingrays and a playoff spot. The Gladiators will head to South Dakota for week 20 and play three games against the Rapid City Rush. They still have a lot of work to do, but the Glads will be determined to reach the playoffs.

Interested in going to an Atlanta Gladiators or Boston Bruins game? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from our advertising partners over at SeatGiant. Click the links below and please use discount code BNGP to save a little cash! Thank You!

—>Atlanta Gladiators 2018-19 Schedule & Ticket Info<—

–> Boston Bruins 2018-19 Schedule & Ticket Info <–

Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 19 Preview

( Photo Credit: Taylor Trebotte / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The Gladiators fly into week 19 on the back of their longest ever point streak of 13 games. They face a new challenge this week, the Newfoundland Growlers of the North Division, followed by a visit from Greenville and a trip to South Carolina. Atlanta is level on points with the Norfolk Admirals and will be looking for good results this week to continue the surge up the South Division standings.

No roster changes this week, though it is worth mentioning that forward Justin MacDonald was named ECHL Player of the Week on Tuesday. He put in some huge performances last week, scoring three goals, including an overtime winner against the Stingrays, and made five assists, all in just four games. He now has 12 points in his last seven games for the Gladiators, and 32 points in 33 games this season. His Player of the Week award was fully deserved.

Atlanta takes on the Newfoundland Growlers on Thursday night. The game was originally scheduled for Wednesday but was delayed due to bad weather. It is the Growlers inaugural season in the ECHL, and they have been impressive so far. They currently top the North Division and are the third-best team in the league heading into the game. Newfoundland will be the first non-divisional opponent the Glads face this season, and it will be a tough test. It is a difficult game to call, but Atlanta is full of confidence and playing at home, giving them a huge advantage.

On Friday night, the Glads take on the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Greenville snapped a long losing streak against the Gladiators last week with an overtime win. Atlanta will be desperate for revenge. There is always high intensity when these two rivals play each other, but the Gladiators should be confident heading into this one.

The Glads will finish the week with a trip to South Carolina. They beat the Stingrays twice last week, though both games went to overtime. In fact, five of the games between these two teams this season have gone to overtime. It is almost always a close game, home ice will be an advantage for the Stingrays, but Atlanta knows they can win in South Carolina. This will be a close one, but the Glads will be the favorites.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Justin MacDonald: It would be hard not to include the ECHL Player of the Week in this list. His performances last week were immense and he’s been in impressive form for some time now. If he maintains this level of production then the AHL could come calling, he is that good. Definitely, one to watch this week.

Nolan LaPorte: The third-year forward finds his place on this list for the second week in a row. With four goals in four games last week, how could he not? He has scored some big goals for Atlanta this season and that is likely to continue. Keep an eye on him this week.

Sean Bonar: The goaltender has been the backbone of Atlanta’s revival. Arguably the most consistent player on the team since the new year, he’s been nothing short of brilliant. He won a pile of awards in January and is set to do the same this month. Very dependable and fun to watch.

Interested in going to an Atlanta Gladiators or Boston Bruins game? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from our advertising partners over at SeatGiant. Click the links below and please use discount code BNGP to save a little cash! Thank You!

—>Atlanta Gladiators 2018-19 Schedule & Ticket Info<—

–> Boston Bruins 2018-19 Schedule & Ticket Info <–

Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 18 Recap

( Photo Credit: Taylor Trebotte / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The Gladiators march to the playoffs continues after another record-breaking week. Three wins and an overtime loss extends the teams unbeaten run to a franchise-record 13 games. Atlanta has moved up to fifth in the South Division standings and only six points behind the playoff places.

Week 18 began with a trip to Greenville to take on the struggling Swamp Rabbits. After a disappointing opening period, the Glads trailed 2-0 at the break courtesy of goals from Michael Pelech and Luke Ripley. Atlanta recovered well in the second period and tied the score with goals from Daniel Leavens and Alex Overhardt. The game was evenly poised heading into the final frame. As the minutes ticked by, the Gladiators took the lead with a goal from Derek Nesbitt. It looked like Atlanta had secured the win before Jake Bolton scored for the hosts in the final moments, sending the game into overtime. After a nervous couple of minutes, Kamerin Nault netted the winner for the Swamp Rabbits, 4-3 the final score.

With Greenville out of the way, the South Carolina Stingrays were in town for the first of two back to back games at the Infinite Energy Arena. Atlanta established a comfortable lead with first period goals from Avery Peterson and Brett McKenzie. The home team continued to extend their lead in the second period, with Justin MacDonald and Olivier Galipeau finding the net. The struggling Stingrays found their first goal of the night in the final minute of the second when Grant Besse scored to make it 4-1 after two.

The game was all but over heading into the final frame of regulation, but the visitors hadn’t given up hope. Patrick Gaul put the puck in the net just 12 seconds into the third period to keep the game alive. Two more goals in quick succession from Matt Pohlkamp and Tim Harrison tied the game at 4-4, much to the frustration of Atlanta coach Jeff Pyle. Derek Nesbitt restored the hosts lead but in the final minute of the third, Tim Davison pulled the Stingrays level, sending the game to overtime. After dominating the first two periods, the Gladiators were determined to finish the job. Brett McKenzie sealed the two points with his second goal of the night, much to the relief of coach Pyle, 6-5 the final score.

With South Carolina out for revenge, the stage was set for the rematch. Joseph Widmar scored the only goal of the first period, giving Atlanta the lead at the first intermission. After the break, Stingrays forward, Grant Besse, continued his impressive form against the Glads and tied the game 1-1 in the second period. Both teams had chances but neither side could find a second goal before the end of the third. Atlanta went into overtime for the third straight game. It only took 31 seconds for Justin MacDonald to save the day for the hosts, a fully deserved win for the home team, 2-1 the final score.

After the intense double-header against the Stingrays, the Glads took on the Norfolk Admirals for their fourth and final game of the week. Atlanta started the game well, but it was the hosts that lead after the first period, thanks to a goal from Matt McMorrow. Despite out-shooting their opponents, the Gladiators could not find the net until Nolan LaPorte buried the puck just before the end of the second period. 1-1 the score after two.

After the interval, Atlanta took the lead with a power-play goal from Nick Bligh. After some early frustration, the floodgates had finally opened and the goals started to flow for the visitors. Justin MacDonald scored the Gladiators third shortly before Nolan LaPorte tallied his second of the night, completing the comeback. 4-1 the final score.

It was another impressive week for the Gladiators who have been on fire since the new year. Justin MacDonald had a huge week scoring three goals and adding five assists. He was named ECHL player of the week. It is great to see individual players recognized, but more importantly, the team is playing well and getting good results. It seemed impossible back in December, but Atlanta has finally become a playoff contender.

Interested in going to an Atlanta Gladiators or Boston Bruins game? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from our advertising partners over at SeatGiant. Click the links below and please use discount code BNGP to save a little cash! Thank You!

—>Atlanta Gladiators 2018-19 Schedule & Ticket Info<—

–> Boston Bruins 2018-19 Schedule & Ticket Info <–