Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 16 Preview

( Photo Credit: Taylor Trebotte / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The Atlanta Gladiators head into week 16 firing on all cylinders. After five wins in a row, the Glads are full of confidence and take on the Orlando Solar Bears at home on Saturday night, in their only game of the weekend. With some new additions to the defensive core, the Gladiators will be focused on extending their streak to six games.

Earlier this week, it was confirmed that the Nashville Predators had assigned defenseman Filip Pyrochta to Atlanta from the Milwaukee Admirals. The Czech native has played in 24 games for the AHL team this season and contributed three assists. The Admirals also loaned defenseman Brian Cooper to the Gladiators. Cooper has tallied four assists in 19 games for Milwaukee this season. After an impressive return from injury, defenseman Ben Danford has signed a PTO with the Admirals. He leaves Atlanta tied for the team-lead in assists from a defenseman with nine, despite missing 14 games. It’s his second stint in the AHL, and he fully deserves the opportunity.

This week’s South Division showdown will be the fifth head to head between the Gladiators and Solar Bears this season. Orlando currently leads the series 3-1, after winning the last three contests. The Solar Bears are 5-5 in their last 10 games, compared to the Glads who are 7-3. Orlando is a very physical team and has the highest PIM in the division at 733, so Atlanta should get plenty of power-play opportunities. There’s a huge grudge between the two teams and the refs will be busy. If the Glads can keep their composure and play their natural game, they have a great chance of winning. Playing at home should give them the edge in this one.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Olivier Galipeau: As I’ve mentioned, the power play is going to be an important weapon for the Glads this week. With Danford out of the picture, the stage is set for Galipeau to step up and support the forwards. He scored a goal in the season opener against the Solar Bears and hasn’t had much offensive production lately, this is a great opportunity for the Providence Bruins to add to his season tally.

Matt Lane: The forward returned to Atlanta in style with a goal and an assist in his first game back. He’s spent a considerable amount of time in the AHL this season, and his class has shown. He has nine points (3g, 6a) in 11 games for Atlanta so far, almost a point per game. He’s a talented player, and the Glads will want to make the most of his time back with the team.

Nick Bligh: After a steady start, the forward now has 14 points (8g, 6a) in 17 games for the Gladiators. He is full of confidence after scoring the game-winner in the shootout against Jacksonville and the Solar Bears will struggle to slow him down. If he gets a chance on Friday night, expect him to bury it into the net.

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: Gladiators Week 6 Preview

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( Photo credit: atlantagladiators.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

After a tough road trip last week, the Gladiators begin a two-week homestand on Friday night when they take on the Norfolk Admirals, a team they’ve got to know pretty well recently, before back to back games against the Florida Everblades on Saturday and Sunday. It’s no secret that the Gladiators have struggled so far this season, particularly defensively. Coach Pyle now has a chance to rally the troops and try to build some momentum with a stretch of games at the Infinite Energy Arena. There’s certainly work to do to get the team into playoff contention.

Defenseman Olivier Galipeau has been recalled to the Providence Bruins which will hurt the Gladiators power play. So far he’s the teams highest scoring defenseman having contributed nine points so far on the season. Given the Boston Bruins injury problems, it’s possible that Olivier has been called to Providence as cover and that he will return to Atlanta at some point. The Gladiators announced the signing of defenseman Faiella in replacement for Galipeau.

Forward Justin MacDonald has been activated from reserve and replaces Brandon Troock who has been placed on reserve. New signing Eric Freschi is active on the roster and will look to hit the ice running. There hasn’t been much news about Brett McKenzie who was helped off the ice on Tuesday with what looked like a knee injury, so it’s unclear if he will feature this weekend or not. I would expect netminding duty to be split by Miroslav Svoboda and Colton Phinney.

If we can expect anything from the first game of the weekend, it’s goals, lots of them. The last three games between the Gladiators and the Norfolk Admirals have produced 19 scores. Both teams are capable of winning but with home advantage, the Gladiators will be targeting two points. The Admirals currently sit second in the south division, seven points above Atlanta, a gap the Glads will have to reduce in order to make the postseason.

On Saturday night the Gladiators take on the Florida Everblades for the first of two games against the divisional rivals. It’s the first time the teams have met competitively since the Everblades dumped the Glads out of the playoffs last season. So far the Everblades have been a far cry from the team that went to game seven of the Kelly Cup finals last year, the Gladiators will be out for revenge. Whether or not the Glads can overcome last years thrashing remains to be seen, but you can bet your bottom dollar that coach Pyle will have had the Florida games circled on his calendar for a long time. History tells us there will be no love lost between the teams, these games could get ugly.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Derek Nesbitt: With Two goals and an assist in his last two games, the veteran is finding some good form after a steady start to the season. He’s been a dependable asset to the Gladiators for years and sets high standards for his teammates. A true leader, he will be determined to score against the Everblades.

Ben Danford: The third-year defenseman has contributed eight valuable assists in his 11 games already this season. With Galipeau returning to Providence the Gladiators need someone to step up on the power play, I believe that he is the man to do it. A player who’s certainly not shy of moving into the attacking zone, his 10 goals last season prove he’s capable of stepping up for the Glads.

Jesse Gabrielle: With eight points in his 10 games for the Gladiators, the Boston Bruins prospect is starting to prove the critics wrong. He is a technically gifted skater and looks to have settled into the team well, given the doubts about his attitude in previous seasons. With injuries happening in both Boston and Providence, he’ll be focused on impressing his peers in Atlanta, in a make or break season for the young forward.

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

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

Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Season Preview

( Photo Credit: atlantagladiators.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The 2018-19 ECHL regular season is finally underway, and the Atlanta Gladiators start their campaign on the road tonight, Saturday, October 13th. The Glads will face off against the Orlando Solar Bears in what should be an exciting game. There are many new faces on the Atlanta roster as well as some old ones. I’m interested to see how the team gels after training camp headed by coach Jeff Pyle.

The Gladiators announced their captains for the season yesterday, forward Derek Nesbitt, defensemen Kevin Montgomery and Ben Danford will all have an A stitched onto their jersey for the upcoming season. Interestingly, coach Pyle has decided that the team will not have a main captain this year. Following the announcement, Pyle said, “We are a team, one player shouldn’t have to answer for the whole group. That’s my job, and I’ll be the one taking sole responsibility for any blame that is needed”. This approach suggests that Pyle is not shying away from any responsibility and is looking to reduce the pressure on the players, hopefully allowing them to play their natural game. The head coach isn’t afraid to experiment adding, “We have a lot of leaders on this team, and I feel it’s important to reward guys for playing and acting the right way by having multiple players wear a letter at different points in the year.”

The Gladiators’ roster for the opening game in Orlando was confirmed earlier in the week via the team’s official website:

Forwards: Derek Nesbitt, Nolan LaPorte, Branden Troock, Tyler Moy*, Carl Persson*, Brett McKenzie*, Darby Llewellyn, Tyler Deresky, Alex Overhardt*, Matt Lane*, Luke Sandler, Justin MacDonald, 

Defensemen: Kevin Montgomery, Vytal Cote, Joel Messner*, Olivier Galipeau*, Jack Stander, Zach Malatesta, Ben Danford, 

Goaltenders: Sean Bonar, Miroslav Svoboda*

* indicates the player is on an AHL or NHL contract.

Before the puck drops at 7:00pm ET, here are this week’s players to watch:

Darby Llewellyn: The 22-year-old winger enters his second season with the Gladiators after impressing in his rookie campaign. Last year he racked up 30 points, including some stunning goals, making him Atlanta’s top scoring rookie with 17. Following his breakout season, he had a tryout with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL. This is a great platform for the young forward, you can expect the sophomore to thrive under coach Pyle this year.

Ben Danford: The teams top scoring defenseman last season with 34 points from just 52 games, earning him an AHL tryout with the Chicago Wolves in the summer. Recognition from the higher league is sure to give him a boost in confidence, he loves to get forward and will surely be a threat on the power play. While his numbers will be hard to replicate, I’m confident that Danford will continue to put up points for the Gladiators.

Olivier Galipeau: The 21-year-old defenseman joins the Gladiators on loan from the Providence Bruins. The first year pro will be eager to impress the Bruins top brass, who will be keeping track of his performances in the ECHL. Last year he was the QMJHL defenseman of the year following a monster season as the leagues top scoring blueliner with 25 goals and 74 points. You can expect big things from the youngster this campaign.