The Future Of The Boston Bruins ECHL Affiliation

( Photo Credit: icethetics.co )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The Boston Bruins recently announced a 10 year extension with their AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins. It was a record agreement and a tribute to the successful partnership between the two teams, which Bruins president, Cam Neely, cited as a major factor in securing a long-term deal. With the AHL affiliation tied down until 2029, the B’s have yet to make a decision, at least publicly, on the agreement with current ECHL affiliate, the Atlanta Gladiators, which ends this season.

The Gladiators became the ECHL affiliate of both the Boston Bruins and the Providence Bruins after signing a two-year agreement in 2015. In February of 2017, the agreement was extended a further two years, securing the affiliation until the end of the current season. With the announcement of the 10 year extension with Providence back in March, many expected the B’s to follow-up with news on their relationship with Atlanta, but we are still waiting. With the Bruins focused on the Stanley Cup playoffs, an announcement on the future of the ECHL affiliation is unlikely until the team is finished on the ice.

Boston has a number of options, the most obvious would be to extend the affiliation with Atlanta. The Bruins have a number of goaltenders in their prospect pool and the ECHL is a great place for them to hone their skills. Providence goaltender Dan Vladar featured regularly for Atlanta in the 2017-18 campaign and with Kyle Keyser eligible for the pros next season, Atlanta would be an ideal spot for him to continue his development. Throughout the regular season, as players were summoned from Providence to Boston, Atlanta reinforced Providence with the likes of Tanner Pond and Sean Bonar, while giving regular playing time to Olivier Galipeau, Joel Messner and Brett McKenzie. The fundamental role of a minor-pro affiliate is to support the senior teams, Atlanta has certainly fulfilled that role for the Bruins.

It is possible that the Bruins part ways with Atlanta. If they do, there are currently two independent ECHL teams that they could partner with, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits or the Rapid City Rush. Geographically this would not make much sense, as neither team is close to New England. Unless the B’s plan on bringing the affiliation closer to home, it would be a shame to sever ties with Atlanta after building a close relationship with them, only to start over with another team based so far away.

It was reported earlier in the season that the Manchester Monarchs are seeking new ownership, casting doubt on their future. This creates a potential opportunity for the Bruins to step in and replace the LA Kings as the senior affiliate. It would make sense to have an affiliate closer to both Boston and Providence to reduce travel between the teams, making it easier for players to move up and down and allowing the organization to keep a closer eye on prospects. Perhaps a relationship with the Bruins would help the Monarchs, who have seen their attendance decline since they were switched to the ECHL. This is of course speculation, for now the Monarchs are still affiliated with the LA Kings, though things could change quickly with new ownership.

If the Bruins were to end the affiliation with Atlanta, expect the Glads to strike a deal with the Nashville Predators organisation. The Gladiators have worked closely with the Nashville’s AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals this season. Atlanta coach, Jeff Pyle, likes to push his players towards the higher levels and a relationship with a senior team makes that possible. Atlanta would most likely become Nashville’s ECHL  affiliate if Boston were to move on.

The Gladiators have certainly lived up to their side of the bargain, what Boston decides to do remains to be seen. For now we can only speculate on the future of their ECHL affiliation.

Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Season Ending Week 26 Recap

( Photo Credit: Dale Zanine / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The Atlanta Gladiators season came to an end on Sunday as they came up short against the South Carolina Stingrays. The Glads fought hard all week but an overtime loss to Orlando followed by two defeats against South Carolina left them three points short of the playoffs after 72 games.

The week began in Orlando where the Glads faced off against the Solar Bears for the last time this season. Determined to get ahead of South Carolina in the playoff race, Atlanta took the lead midway through the first period with a power play goal from Nolan LaPorte, assisted by Justin MacDonald and Joel Messner. The Glads doubled their lead four minutes later when Brett McKenzie found the net with help from Jake Flegal and Hugo Roy. The home team fought back in the second, forcing save after save from Sean Bonar who was doing an incredible job in the Atlanta goal. Orlando finally beat Bonar with less than two minutes remaining in the second, Chris LeBlanc the scorer. The third frame began with another Orlando goal, Alexander Kuqali leveled for the hosts. Neither team could add to the score before the end of regulation so the game went into overtime. Colby McAuley sealed the comeback for Orlando after four minutes, 3-2 the final score.

After the Orlando game, the Glads traveled to South Carolina for the first of two matches against the Stingrays to decide the final playoff place. As expected it was an exciting start, with both teams desperate to establish a lead. Tad Kozun put the hosts ahead after nine minutes. Cameron Askew doubled the ‘Rays lead in the final minute of the first, putting the Glads two down at the break. Atlanta came out swinging in the second but could not find the back of the net before Askew put South Carolina three goals ahead. Atlanta refused to give in and Derek Nesbitt finally got them a goal to kick-start the comeback, assisted by Nick Bligh and Hugo Roy, ending the second period 3-1.

The Glads were awarded a power play early in the third period, they took full advantage of the opportunity and Bligh scored with help from Brett McKenzie and Matt Lane. Coach Pyle’s men kept going and Joel Messner scored a stunning one-handed goal to tie the game, LaPorte and McKenzie were credited with the assists. The Glads had the momentum but were stunned in the final minute of regulation when Jordan Samuels-Thomas put the ‘Rays back into the lead. Seconds later Kozun scored an empty-netter to complete a 5-3 win for South Carolina, a bitter result for Atlanta who fought hard to get back into contention.

The Stingrays were in Atlanta for the final game of the regular season. For the Gladiators, the objective was simple; a win in regulation would see them into the playoffs, any other result and it would be South Carolina heading into the postseason. The ‘Rays were the first to score, a power-play goal from Kozun on 15 minutes gave them the lead heading into the first intermission. LaPorte scored the only goal of the second period with help from Messner and MacDonald, giving the Glads 20 minutes to beat the Stingrays to the playoffs. Andrew Cherniwchan scored for SC with about 10 minutes left in the game. Atlanta needed two goals to keep their season alive, with time running out McKenzie scored to tie the game with less than a minute to play, Lane and LaPorte with the assists. With the crowd on the edge their seats, willing their team on, Mason Mitchell scored off the faceoff, sending South Carolina to the playoffs. It was a cruel way to end the season, and the Gladiators bowed out with a 3-2 loss.

The Glads deserve credit for turning their season around. Last Christmas they were dead and buried, lurking at the bottom of the ECHL standings. Coach Pyle rallied the team and they started 2019 with a franchise record point streak. They began to climb the South Division standings and came very close to fighting their way into the playoffs. Although they did not make the postseason, the Glads have built a solid platform to build on for next season.

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

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Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 26 Preview

( Photo Credit: Amanda Bingham / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

With 69 games played, the Atlanta Gladiators are finally on the home stretch. After looking down and out before Christmas, Jeff Pyle’s team has fought back to within touching distance of the playoffs. With three regular-season games remaining, the Glads are tied with South Carolina for the final postseason spot, the entire season comes down to the next three games.

There are four playoff spots available in the South Division, the first three have been secured by Florida, Orlando, and Jacksonville. The Glads are battling with the South Carolina Stingrays for the fourth and final spot. Both teams have 72 points each, but Atlanta has the advantage of having three games remaining compared to South Carolina’s two. If that is not compelling enough, the last two games of the season are head-to-head matchups between the Glads and the ‘Rays.

After the wave of AHL reinforcements last week, there has been very little activity on the Glads roster in the last few days. On Sunday forward Alex Overhardt was activated from reserve, while defenseman Jake Flegal was placed on reserve.

Atlanta starts the final week of the regular season on the road against the Orlando Solar Bears. The Glads thrashed them 5-1 last week, and another win would give them a huge advantage before they face the Stingrays. The Solar Bears have nothing left to play for with their spot in the playoffs secured, but they would love to upset Atlanta. The rivalry between the teams this season has produced some very physical games, this matchup will be the same. With the season on the line, Coach Pyle will ensure his players are highly motivated and will want two points to put them ahead in the playoff race. You do not want to miss this one.

After the Glads finish with Orlando, they have two back to back games against the South Carolina Stingrays. Game one is in South Carolina, and game two is in Atlanta. It truly is a winner takes all scenario and there will be no margin for errors. The previous 70 games can be forgotten for both teams, it all comes down to this, two games Glads fans simply cannot miss.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Nick Bligh: The third-year forward was in stunning form last week, notching six points (2g, 4a) in four games. The Glads offense is firing on all cylinders last week and his natural hunger for goals makes him one to watch this week.

Joel Messner: After a stint in the AHL with the Providence Bruins, the rookie defenseman returned to Atlanta in explosive form, tallying five points (2g, 3a) last week. He probably won’t maintain that level of offensive output, but he is one to watch for his defensive contributions. He is a very consistent presence on the blue line and the Glads will be pleased to have him back for the playoff push.

Derek Nesbitt: With three assists last week, Nezzy became the Gladiators all-time leading point scorer. His record-breaking season has been a joy to watch. He leads the team in points this season with 49 (17g, 32a) and his experience will be vital this week.

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

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Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 25 Recap

( Photo Credit: Amanda Bingham / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

After winning two out of four last week, the Atlanta Gladiators find themselves level on points with South Carolina with three games left in the regular season. Victories over Orlando and Jacksonville put the Glads in touching distance of the playoffs. As it stands, every game is crucial.

After a disappointing loss against Orlando the last time they met, Atlanta was in search of revenge against the Solar Bears. The Glads got off to a great start with Nick Bligh scoring the only goal of the first period, less than two minutes into the game, he was assisted by Matt Lane & Filip Pyrochta. The Solar Bears leveled midway through the second period with a goal from Zach Frye. Atlanta responded quickly, Zach Malatesta restored the lead with helpers from Zach Magwood and Jack Stander. 2-1 the score heading into the final intermission.

The Gladiators showed no mercy after the break, Brady Fleurent extended the lead with a power-play goal, assisted by Derek Nesbitt and Joel Messner. The Solar Bears had no answers for the Glads offense, and Matt Lane bagged Atlanta’s fourth of the night with help from Olivier Galipeau and Bligh. Justin MacDonald wrapped up the demolition of Orlando with an empty netter, assisted by Pyrochta and Sean Bonar. 5-1 the final score, a great start to the week for the home team.

With bags of confidence after their big win, the Glads traveled to Jacksonville for the first of two games against the Icemen. Messner found the net to put the visitors ahead, assisted by Pyrochta and Hugo Roy. Jacksonville tied the game with a goal from Kyle Shapiro, ending the first period 1-1. Atlanta’s offense exploded in the second, as Bligh put the Glads ahead with help from Nesbitt. Moments later, Messner scored his second of the night on the power play, assisted by Nesbitt and Bligh. Dajon Mingo pulled a goal back for Jacksonville, but it was quickly canceled out by Roy who notched the Glads fourth of the night, assisted by Magwood and Messner. The Icemen were crushed in the final period by an empty-netter from MacDonald and an equal strength goal from Tyson Fawcett, assisted by Fleurent and MacDonald. 6-2 the final score. Nesbitt’s assists made him the all-time leader in points for the Gladiators, congratulations Nezzy.

The rematch against the Icemen was not as fun for Atlanta fans. The Glads got off to a poor start, giving up an early short-handed goal, scored by Cameron Critchlow. Jacksonville doubled the lead in the second with a score from Garrett Ladd. Brett McKenzie grabbed one back for Atlanta, assisted by Bligh. For a while, the Glads looked threatening, and Stander managed to tie the game with help from Lane and Bligh. Seconds after catching the Icemen, the Glads let them pull away with a goal from Christophe Lalancette, 3-2 the score after two. Atlanta gave up a second short-handed goal early in the third when Wacey Rabbit scored what ended up being the game-winner. The Glads fought back with a goal from Stander, assisted by Fawcett, but it was in vain as Jacksonville held on for a 4-3 win.

Atlanta’s final game of the week was against the South Carolina Stingrays, with the final playoff spot at stake, both teams had everything to play for. Patrick Gaul put the hosts ahead in the seventh minute, with the only goal of the first period. Lane scored early in the second to tie the game, assisted by Pyrochta and McKenzie. South Carolina restored the lead with a goal from Grant Besse before the end of the second. The Glads refused to give up and leveled again, Magwood, the scorer with help from Roy and Messner. Unfortunately for Atlanta, it was the last time they would celebrate, a power play goal from Cameron Askew and an empty-netter from Andrew Cherniwchan sealed a 4-2 win for South Carolina.

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

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Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 25 Preview

( Photo Credit: Taylor Trebotte / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The race to the ECHL playoffs is almost over. With the finish line in sight, the Atlanta Gladiators face a tricky path to secure their place in the postseason. The Glads are two points behind South Carolina, who is currently in the final South Division playoff position. This week, they face Orlando at home, before three back to back road games, two against Jacksonville and one against South Carolina. Nobody said it would be easy.

The Gladiators roster was boosted by the return of defenseman Joel Messner. He was reassigned from Providence after a stint in the AHL, where he featured in 29 games. Messner was also joined in Atlanta by defenseman Filip Pyrochta and forward Zach Magwood, who return from the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. Forward Hugo Roy has also been assigned to Atlanta by Milwaukee. To make room for the new arrivals, the Gladiators announced that forwards Jared Ross, Luke Stork, Joe Widmar, and defenseman Sean Campbell have been released from their contracts. In other news, forward Nolan LaPorte has been placed on reserve.

The Glads take on the Orlando Solar Bears in their only home game of the week. They will be desperate to avenge last weeks 5-1 defeat at the Amway Center. The Solar Bears play a physical game, and with so much on the line for Atlanta, you can expect the gloves to be dropped at some point. With this game followed by three tough road games, it will be important for the Gladiators to start this week on a positive note. Atlanta has the advantage of AHL reinforcements and will be targeting a win at home.

After the Orlando game, the Glads travel to Jacksonville for two games against the Icemen. Atlanta won 4-1 the last time they faced off at the Veterans Memorial Arena and will be looking for similar results this week. The Icemen are two points ahead of the Stingrays, but their playoff place is not secure yet. They will be fighting for their place just like the Glads so these two games will be intense, you do not want to miss out.

Atlanta will finish the week in South Carolina to take on the Stingrays, this will be a huge game for both teams. The Glads have actually won the last five matchups against the ‘Rays, but four of those games have gone into overtime. With added pressure on both teams, it will be a test of nerves as much as a test of skill. These are the types of games you have to win to be a playoff contender, it will be a must-see.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Derek Nesbitt: He was the hero last week after scoring five points (2g, 3a) in three games, with the pressure mounting as the team approaches the ‘Business’ end of the season, his experience and leadership will be vital. The ever-reliable forward is so important to this team, keep an eye on him this week.

Joel Messner: His return will improve the Atlanta defense. The numbers speak for themselves, the Glads are much better with Messner in the team. He has a great reading of the game and that allowed him to play in 29 AHL games this season. Shortly before his call up to Providence, the rookie blueliner was named as an alternate captain for the Gladiators, highlighting his importance to this team.

Sean Bonar: It is no coincidence that the Glads started winning games when Bonar got healthy. He has been one of the most important players on the team since he returned from an injury that kept him sidelined earlier in the season. A reliable goaltender is important at any level, the Gladiators are fortunate to have one of the leagues best. He has made some incredible saves this season and was featured on ESPN’s Sports Center for his heroics last 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!

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Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 24 Recap

( Photo Credit: Taylor Trebotte / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The Gladiators recovered from a tough loss in Orlando with two wins against Kansas City and Greenville to keep their playoff hopes alive. The results leave Atlanta just two points behind South Carolina in the race for the final South Division playoff spot.  With only seven games remaining, every point is crucial.

Atlanta started the week on the road to Orlando. Sean Bonar was the starting goaltender. He was tested early by two power plays from the home side, and the Solar Bears found the net soon after, with goals from Colby McAuley and Otto Somppi, giving them a comfortable two-goal lead at the end of the first period. The misery continued for Atlanta in the second, Brent Pendersen and Chris LeBlanc both scored, prompting Jeff Pyle to replace Bonar with backup goalie, Michael Bitzer. Nolan LaPorte scored late in the second, thanks to an assist from Brett McKenzie. His goal was over-shadowed by Cody Donaghey, who scored to extend Orlando’s lead back to four goals. Neither side could find the net in the final frame, and the game ended 5-1 to the Solar Bears.

The Gladiators returned home to take on the Kansas City Mavericks for game two of the week. Sean Bonar was given the chance to redeem himself as the starter, but it was the visitors who struck first. Rocco Carzo opened the scoring on the power play for Kansas City. Atlanta responded quickly with a goal from Tyson Fawcett, his first as a Gladiator, assisted by Avery Peterson. The Mavericks crept ahead with just six seconds left in the first period, with an equal strength goal from Darian Dziurzynski.

It was ‘Super Hero Night’ at the Infinite Energy Center, and the Glads needed saving. Veteran forward, Derek Nesbitt, stepped up and scored his first of the night, assisted by Nick Bligh and Zach Malatesta. With the game wide open, Greg Betzold put Kansas City back into the lead, 3-2 the score after two. Determined to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Gladiators came out fighting in the final frame. The Mavericks defense stood firm for 16 minutes but Matt Lane finally leveled the score for Atlanta, with help from Nesbitt and Jack Stander. Just 14 seconds after tying the score, Nesbitt pounced on a defensive error to fire the Glads into the lead with the game-winning goal. A dramatic end to a great game of hockey, 4-3 the final score.

The Gladiators finished the week at home against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Bonar started the game and the Glads set out to secure a win and keep the pressure on South Carolina. Danny Elser put Greenville ahead with the only goal of the first period. The Swamp Rabbits were the better team in the second, but a goal from Jake Flegal tied the score 1-1. He was assisted by Brett McKenzie and Avery Peterson. With both sides level at the final intermission, the stage was set for an exciting third period.

Atlanta struck first with a power play goal from Joseph Widmar, assisted by Brady Fleurent and Matt Lane. Both teams continued to have chances as the clock ticked on. In the dying moments, Lane scored the winning goal with help from Nesbitt and Jack Stander. Brendan Harms pulled one back for the Swamp Rabbits with seconds remaining in the game, but it was not enough to stop the Glads from securing a 3-2 win.

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 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!

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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<—

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