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 <–

Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 18 Preview

( Photo Credit: gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The Gladiators march into week 18 with a nine-game point streak after three straight wins against Greenville, Florida, and Orlando. The results have boosted Atlanta six points above last place and the team are starting to reel in the rest of the South Division. The Glads will play four times this week, starting with a visit to Greenville on Monday night. The players will have some rest before three back to back games, two at home to South Carolina followed by a trip to Norfolk.

The Gladiators are in the best form of the season, but it has taken a lot of personnel changes to get to this point. It was announced over the weekend that forward David Mazurek had been released from the team. He managed five points (2g, 3a) in 17 games for Atlanta, including an assist in last weeks win over Florida, but it wasn’t enough to keep him in coach Pyle’s plans. In other news, Atlanta activated defenseman Kyle Chatham from reserve in place of defenseman Jake Flegal who heads onto the reserve list.

Atlanta’s first opponent of the week is the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, who recently replaced the Glads as the worst team in the ECHL. The Gladiators demolished Greenville 4-0 last week in dominant fashion and will be looking to start the week with another win. The Swamp Rabbits will have the advantage of playing at home, but the Glads have won their last two games at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena, this does not look good for Greenville.

After two days of rest, the Gladiators will host the South Carolina Stingrays for back to back games on Thursday and Friday night. It will be the eighth and ninth time the two sides have faced off this season. The Stingrays won the first six games against the Glads with Atlanta winning the last encounter in overtime. In fact, three of those games went into overtime, and five were won by just one goal. The Stingrays are currently second in the South Division, and the two games against them will be a good measure at just how much Atlanta has improved. Last weeks win over Florida proves that the Glads are more than capable of beating the best, the challenge will be to do it on a consistent basis. These are two important games for Atlanta.

The Glads will take on the Norfolk Admirals on Saturday for the fourth and final game of the week. The Admirals lead the head to head series 4-3, and it will be the first meeting between the teams since December last year. Based on current form, Atlanta would normally be favorites, but the burden of three back to back games will take its toll. The Glads have pulled off some impressive wins lately, but Norfolk should be taking the points in this one.

Heading into week 18, the Gladiators are now eight points away from a playoff spot. A season-high 10,243 spectators turned up to watch the Orlando game, the fans are starting to get behind their team. There is still a lot of work to be done in order to get there, but the team is heading in the right direction.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Joseph Widmar: After taking a few games to settle into his new team, the second-year forward has scored eight points (3g, 5a) in eight games, including a dramatic last gasp goal against the Solar Bears last week. With four games crammed into this week, the offense will have to share the workload, expect him to contribute.

Nick Bligh: After a short spell off the scoresheet, Bligh found the net against Orlando last week and added an assist to his tally on the night. Atlanta is playing well and he, like many of his offensive peers, is going to be an important player this week.

Nolan LaPorte: Certainly one of Atlanta’s unsung heroes, LaPorte has scored 23 points in 31 games for the Glads this season. He bagged two goals against Greenville last week and will be looking to add to his tally this week, watch him closely.

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 14 Recap

( Photo Credit: Amanda Bingham / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

It’s been a long time since the Atlanta Gladiators had a perfect weekend, but the wait is finally over. A strong performance on the road followed by a record-breaking night at home has lifted Atlanta to 10 wins on the season. With five wins in their last 10 games,  the Glads are starting to close the gap on the rest of the South Division.

Week 14 began with a trip to South Carolina to take on the Stingrays. Sean Bonar started in net for the Glads following strong performances since returning from injury. Atlanta out-shot the Stingrays 12-3 in the first period, but the game remained scoreless heading into the first intermission. Three minutes into the second period, Matt Pohlkamp put the home side ahead with a power play goal. The Gladiators responded positively, and Derek Nesbitt tied the game with an even strength goal, assisted by Nick Bligh. Atlanta continued to out-shoot their opponent and took the lead minutes later, with score from Justin MacDonald, assisted by Brett McKenzie and Nolan LaPorte. The teams headed into the locker rooms with the Gladiators leading 2-1.

The home side were much improved in the third period, and leveled the game with an equal strength goal by Tim Harrison, taking the game to overtime. The Gladiators had secured a point, but they weren’t finished. They were denied five times before forward Nick Bligh broke away for the game-winning goal. The Glads out-shot the ‘Rays 6-1 in overtime and fully deserved their 3-2 win.

The Glads returned home to take on the Jacksonville Icemen in front of a record crowd on Saturday night, thanks to the annual teddy bear toss. It took less than two minutes for Nick Bligh to open the scoring for Atlanta, sending thousands of bears flying onto the ice. He was assisted by Joseph Widmar and Derek Nesbitt. Moments later, the Glads doubled their lead with a short-handed goal, Bligh’s second of the night, assisted by LaPorte and Chatham. Cody Fowlie pulled one back for Jacksonville, before Bligh completed his hat-trick with a power play goal in the 15th minute, assisted by Messner and Nesbitt.

It was Derek Nesbitt’s 358th game for the Gladiators, a franchise record. The veteran forward celebrated in style, notching Atlanta’s fourth score of the night, assisted by Chatham and Widmar. Bligh continued to torment the Icemen and scored his fourth goal of the period, assisted by Widmar. The Glads led 5-1 after an incredible 20 minutes of hockey.

Jacksonville began the second period with a power play goal from Cam Maclise. The frantic game calmed down for a while, before Derek Nesbitt grabbed his second of the night, assisted by Luke Stork, restoring the Glads four-goal lead before the second intermission. There wasn’t much action in the final frame, Jacob Cederholm scored for the Icemen, but the game was all but over. Sean Bonar finished with 38 saves from 41 shots, 6-3 the final score.

It was a memorable night for the Gladiators organization. The crowd of 9,971 was the biggest of the season and the team collected a record of 6,072 teddy bears for children in need. There’s a lot of positives for coach Pyle and his team moving forward. Next week they take on the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in back to back road games, let’s hope this run continues.

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 14 Preview

( Photo Credit: postandcourier.com / Stingrays Photo )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The Atlanta Gladiators started off 2019 slightly better than expected, with a win over bitter South Division rivals, the Florida Everblades. The Glads started the new year with a three-game road trip to the sunshine state and very little hope. Despite picking up a win, the Gladiators remain at the bottom of the South Division by a startling 11 points. There’s a mountain to climb, but Coach Pyle’s men are undoubtedly up to the task. They play two games this week against the South Carolina Stingrays and the Jacksonville Icemen.

Earlier in the week, the Gladiators released defenseman Don Olivieri, who was picked up on waivers by the Norfolk Admirals. The third-year-pro tallied seven points (2g, 5a) in 14 games for the Glads and his release came as a surprise to many fans. He’s already bagged a goal and an assist on his return to Norfolk. The departure created space for Atlanta to pick up defenseman Brandon McMartin, who joins the Gladiators from the Knoxville Ice Bears of the SPHL. He’s featured in 20 games so far this season, scoring six points (2g, 4a).

On Friday night, the Gladiators travel to South Carolina to take on the Stingrays at the North Charleston Coliseum. It will be the seventh time the two teams have faced off this season, the Glads have lost all six encounters so far. The Stingrays have won six of their last 10 ECHL games and will be heavy favorites heading into the contest. Atlanta is used to being the underdog by now and is beginning to thrive in that role. Interestingly, the Glads have picked up points in two of the last three games against the Stingrays, they’re certainly capable of an upset and I wouldn’t count them out of this one.

The Gladiators play at home for the first time in 2019 on Saturday night. They take on the Jacksonville Icemen for the fifth time this season. Jacksonville leads the head-to-head contest 3-1, but fans will remember the Glads 4-0 demolition against the Icemen which ended their 10-game losing streak. If Atlanta can play anything like they did that night, then they can certainly come away with a win. One thing that this game promises is goals.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Nolan LaPorte: Three points in three tough games against the Florida Everblades last week confirms LaPorte’s inclusion on the list this week. His offensive production was incredible against the leagues best last week. Did I mention he scored a hat-trick the last time he played the Stingrays?

Sean Bonar: He made a total of 53 saves last week and was one of the main reasons the Glads managed to beat the Florida Everblades. He’s held down the starting role since returning from injury and has made so many incredible saves this season. I’m already looking forward to watching his highlight reel in February.

Brett McKenzie: One of the most consistent players on the roster, McKenzie has six points in his last seven games. He’s been very productive for the Gladiators this season, if he can stay healthy is going to be one of their most reliable weapons moving forward. This week, he was named as an alternate for the ECHL All-Star Classic, the only Gladiator to make the roster.

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 13 Recap

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( Photo Credit: Taylor Trebotte / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The Atlanta Gladiators kicked off 2019 with an unlikely win in a difficult three-game road trip against the Florida Everblades. It was a true team performance to seal the win against the league leaders, with everyone stepping up and playing their part. The results leave the Gladiators last in the South Division, but the win gives them a foundation to build on for the second half of the season.

On Wednesday night, the Gladiators went toe-to-toe with the Florida Everblades for the first of three games in the sunshine state. Sean Bonar, who ended 2018 in great form, was given the start between the pipes for the Glads. Atlanta started bravely and looked confident against the Everblades, managing to avoid any mistakes. Florida also defended well, and the first period ended with no score. The Everblades eventually broke through, with second-period goals from Patrick McCarron and Justin Auger.

The Gladiators fought on, and Nolan LaPorte cut Florida’s lead in half with a power-play goal early in the third. He was assisted by Oliver Galipeau and Brett McKenzie. The Glads pushed for a game-tying score but were unable to find one before Kyle Platzer bagged Florida’s third of the night. Atlanta pulled Bonar off the ice with one last roll of the dice, but Nathan Perkovich poked in an empty-netter to seal the game for the Everblades. 4-1 the final score.

The teams faced off again on Friday night for game two of the series. Coach Pyle kept his faith in Sean Bonar, who assumed his position in the crease. Atlanta once again came into the game fearlessly and looked like the better team in the opening period, they had chances to take the lead, but the game remained scoreless by the end of the first period. The Everblades came flying into the second frame, dominating the early exchanges and taking the lead through Blake Winiecki.

The Gladiators were awarded a power play and took full advantage, Nolan LaPorte the scorer, assisted by Joel Messner and Dave Mazurek. New signing Luke Stork then stepped up with his first professional goal to put Atlanta ahead, he was assisted by Vytal Cote. The Everblades threw everything at the Glads in the third period, but they couldn’t beat Sean Bonar and the resolute defense in front of him. The Gladiators held on for a fully deserved 2-1 win.

It was a Saturday night showdown for the third and final game of the week between the Glads and the Everblades. New signing, Michael Bitzer, was given the start in net for Atlanta, in what proved to be a baptism of fire for the young goaltender. There was a lot of chatter between both teams before Zach Malatesta dropped the gloves with Florida’s Tommy Thompson, just two minutes into the game. Moments later, the Everblades had the lead with a goal from Ben Masella, ending the first period 1-0. The penalties kept coming for both teams, and 36 seconds into the second frame, the Glads pounced on a power play opportunity and Brett McKenzie tied the game, assisted by Olivier Galipeau and Justin MacDonald.

The rest of the second period was dominated by the Everblades, who scored four goals before the next intermission. Joe Cox, Logan Roe, Blake Winiecki, and Josh Wesley all tallied to give Florida a huge 5-1 lead heading into the third. Olivier Galipeau bagged himself a power-play goal for the Gladiators, assisted by Zach Malatesta and Nolan LaPorte. The effort was in vain, as Michael Neville and Justin Auger put the game well beyond Atlanta’s reach with two more, 7-2 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 <–

Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 10 Preview

( Photo Credit: gwinnettdailypost.com / Taylor Trebotte )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

Winless in their last six games, the Atlanta Gladiators head into what could arguably be the toughest week of their season so far. Three back-to-back road games against strong divisional rivals is never easy, especially when you’re bottom of the division by nine points. The Glads have managed just five wins in 21 games so far, with an underwhelming record of 5-12-4. At this stage of the season, they’re playing for pride.

Last weekend the team were buoyed by the return of forward Tanner Pond, who had spent the start of the season in the AHL with the Providence Bruins. He contributed right away, scoring twice in his first game back and adding five assists in the three games he spent with his old team. He barely had time to unpack before he was recalled to Providence, a big blow to Atlanta. The team confirmed on Tuesday that defenseman Ben Danford had been placed on Injury Reserve, it’s unclear how long he will be out for. The Glads also lost forward Matt Lane who was recalled to Milwaukee. On a more positive note, the team acquired forward Nick Bligh in exchange for future considerations. The Boston, MA native has accumulated nine points in 19 games with the Worcester Railers so far this season, though he only managed one point (an assist) in his last six games with them. In other news, forward Branden Troock was placed on reserve and defenseman Vytal Cote was added to the active roster.

The first of three games on the road takes place on Wednesday night, the Gladiators will travel to the North Charleston Coliseum to take on the South Carolina Stingrays. It will be the third game in a row between the two teams. Atlanta came agonizingly close in the first two contests of this mini-series, hopefully they can wrap it up with a win. On Friday night the Glads head to Jacksonville to take on the Icemen. Atlanta have only played one game against the Icemen so far this season, a 3-2 defeat in overtime. The boys will close out the road trip with a visit to the Orlando Solar Bears, desperate to avenge the most recent 5-4 loss against them. Although the offense is putting up good numbers, the Gladiators need to tighten up defensively in order to start winning games. Coach Pyle admitted that the team needed to defend better after last weeks loss to the Solar Bears before adding “I don’t think we’ve ever quit, that’s the upside of the team.” One thing is for sure, the Gladiators wont go down without a fight.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Brett McKenzie: Four points in his last three games, the center is in solid form. With the departures of Matt Lane and Tanner Pond, he will have an increased responsibility in the coming weeks so he will need to maintain his offensive production. While he has big boots to fill, the potential is there for him to step up for the team.

Zach Malatesta: The hard-hitting defenseman continued to add to his points tally last weekend with three assists against the Stingrays. He’s been a lot more aggressive moving the puck into the offensive zone and it’s paid off. With Danford on Injury Reserve, the Gladiators will need him to step up on the power play. He’s shown his capability of setting up the forwards, he will be an important player this week.

Nolan LaPorte: What else needs to be said after a stunning hat-trick put the team in prime position for a win against South Carolina? The third-year forward seems to be finding momentum now, with 13 points in 14 games. After a quiet spell he was on fire last weekend. If he can carry that form into next week then he’s certain to add to that tally.

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 Week 9 Recap

( Photo Credit: gwinnettdailypost.com / Taylor Trebotte )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

Defensive woes returned for the Atlanta Gladiators this weekend, three consecutive defeats leave the team in dire straights. The Glads are now winless in their last six games, the gap at the bottom of the South Division has stretched to nine points. At 5-12-4 on the season, the numbers suggest that the team has given up, but that is not the case. Though the results have been poor, coach Pyle’s men are working extremely hard, they came agonizingly close to a win this weekend.

The weekend began with the Glads taking on the Orlando Solar Bears at the Infinite Energy Arena on Friday night. Showing off their new black uniforms, the Gladiators were desperate for a win. Orlando took an early lead through Troy Bourke before Tanner Pond announced his return to Atlanta with his first goal of the season in the middle of the first period. Both teams continued to exchange shots but were tied at the first intermission. Derek Nesbitt put the Glads ahead four minutes into the second frame, before a flurry of goals from Mathieu Foget, Brady Shaw and Troy Bourke, his second of the night, gave the Solar Bears a comfortable lead. Tanner Pond doubled his goal tally moments before the end of the second period, 4-3 the score at the break. Cody Donaghey restored Orlando’s two-goal advantage in the third period. Forward Brett McKenzie managed to pull one back for Atlanta, but it wasn’t enough, the Solar Bears winning the contest 5-4.

On Saturday night the Gladiators traveled to the North Charleston Coliseum to take on the South Carolina Stingrays. Colton Phinney was given the start between the pipes and did well to keep the puck out of his net for the first period, 0-0 the score at the end of the first. Branden Troock and Jake Flegal gave Atlanta a rare two-goal lead early in the second period, and the Glads looked comfortable for the first time in a long time. Matt Pohlkamp scored a crucial goal for the Stingrays moments before the second intermission to keep his team in the game. Just five minutes into the final period of regulation, Branden Troock scored his second of the night, putting the Glads up 3-1. The lead didn’t last long, two quick goals from Cameron Askew tied the game 3-3, and the contest went into overtime. Tad Kozun scored the winner to complete a remarkable comeback for the Stingrays, a tough result for Atlanta but a crucial point earned for their efforts.

After a close game on Saturday, the stage was set perfectly for a rematch. On Sunday the Stingrays traveled to Duluth for Atlanta’s third and final game of the weekend. Nolan LaPorte put the Glads ahead inside the first minute, much to the delight of the home crowd. Tad Kozun leveled the score before Jonathan Charbonneau edged the Stingrays into the lead. Shane Eiserman continued his good form against the Gladiators, his goal extending the lead to 3-1. Brett McKenzie and David Mazurek both scored for Atlanta to leave the game evenly poised at 3-3 heading into the final period. Mike Chen restored South Carolina’s lead before LaPorte bagged his second goal of the night, tying the game at 4-4. Tad Kozun scored again to put the Stingrays ahead before LaPorte completed his hat-trick for Atlanta. Incredibly the score was 5-5 with less than five minutes left on the clock. With both teams desperate to steal the win, Cameron Askew bagged one more goal for the Stingrays, ending a fantastic game of hockey 6-5, another defeat for Atlanta.

On Monday, the Gladiators announced that forward Tanner Pond had been recalled to the Providence Bruins. He made an instant impact during his short spell back with the team, and he will be missed. Despite his departure, there are encouraging signs for the Atlanta Gladiators. Though the defense had a tough weekend, the offense is firing on all cylinders. As the old saying goes, you can’t win if you can’t score. The Gladiators will need the likes of LaPorte, Troock, Nesbitt, and McKenzie in good scoring form to get back to winning ways. Their contributions will dictate the results moving forward. There’s plenty of hockey still to play.

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 Week 7 Thanksgiving Preview

( Photo Credit: Amanda Bingham / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and with the Gladiators defending like a bunch of turkeys, the reduced workload will be welcome in Atlanta. Wednesday night the Glads will take on the Greenville Swamp Rabbits before facing the South Carolina Stingrays on Friday night. After earning just two points from their last six games, the Gladiators are growing desperate for wins, this week’s games are crucial.

It was confirmed yesterday that the Gladiators had released defenseman Jake Faiella and forward Justin Greenberg from their contracts and both are now eligible for waiver claims. Neither player managed to make much of an impact during their time in Atlanta. On a more positive note, the Gladiators acquired defenseman Kyle Chatham from the Witchita Thunder in exchange for cash considerations. The 25-year-old blueliner only featured in one game for the Thunder this season, and his ECHL potential remains to be seen. The Gladiators have also signed third-year pro defenseman Don Olivieri to bolster the struggling defense. Hopefully, the new additions can make a quick impact.

Given recent results, there probably isn’t a better team for the Glads to face than fellow strugglers Greenville. The Swamp Rabbits are only two points ahead of the Gladiators in the south division, and they’ve had their fair share of beat-downs. The infamous 9-0 thrashing at the hands of the Cincinnati Cyclones will still be keeping them awake at night. One thing Gladiators fans won’t want to hear is that the Swamp Rabbits have scored 15 goals in their last three games since the 9-0 defeat, so they’ll be hungry to get after the Atlanta defense. The teams have played each other twice this season, winning one game apiece. Given home advantage, the Glads will be looking at this as an opportunity to get back into the playoff race, though there’s plenty of games left in the season, the clock is ticking. I’m growing tired already of saying ‘this is a must win for the Gladiators’, but it really is.

After a day off for Thanksgiving, the Glads face the South Carolina Stingrays on Friday night. It will be Shane Eiserman’s first trip back to the Infinite Energy Arena since the Gladiators traded him to South Carolina. He certainly made them pay for that when the teams met days after the deal was done, bagging a goal and an assist just minutes after the puck dropped. Despite going 3-0 down early the last time they played the Stingrays, Atlanta battled hard, showing spells of dominance later in the game. They are certainly capable of a win against South Carolina, this one will be fun to watch.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Nolan LaPorte: After spending time on injury reserve, the third-year veteran has found some great form. With a total of eight points in just seven games so far this season, the forward bagged himself two goals and two assists last weekend. He’s hot right now if the Gladiators score this week, I’m sure he’ll be involved somehow.

Miroslav Svoboda: Given the recent defensive issues, there are no blueliners on the list this week, however, there’s no way this guy could miss out. He made 83 saves in two games last weekend, unbelievable numbers. Don’t let the recent scorelines affect your opinions of this players talent, because his future is bright. Treasure his time in Atlanta, he’s destined for great things.

Garret Ross: Four points in four games is a good start to his Gladiators career. Given the teams struggles, a point per game forward is exactly what the team needs to rediscover it’s winning ways. He’s settled into the Glads squad quickly and shown his offensive ability, expect him to keep racking up points.

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 Week 6 Recap

( Photo Credit: Amanda Bingham / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

This weekend the Gladiators were joined by 10-year-old Ethan McClean, who traveled all the way from Ballymena, Northern Ireland thanks to the ‘Dreams Come True’ organization. Ethan is a passionate Belfast Giants fan who has been diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a painful and terminal disease. It was great to see Ethan enjoy his time with the team, who welcomed him into the Atlanta Gladiators family. I hope he and his loved ones have a safe trip home and wish the best of luck to the Belfast Giants.

On the ice, the Gladiators defensive woes continued, and after a disappointing weekend, the team finds themselves bottom of the south division with a mountain to climb if they are to get their playoff hopes back on track. Three consecutive home defeats leave the team with a 4-8-2 record after 14 games. It’s no secret that the team isn’t anywhere near their potential at this stage of the season, fortunately, there’s still plenty of time for them to steady the ship and make their way up the south division standings.

On Friday night, the Gladiators took on the Norfolk Admirals. I mentioned in the week 6 preview that this game promised goals, and it delivered. After a goalless first period, new signing Garret Ross opened the scoring just four minutes into the second. The Admirals quickly responded through Jacob Graves and at 1-1, both teams looked evenly matched. The Gladiators edged in front with goals from Nolan LaPorte and Alex Overhardt before Domenic Alberga reduced the lead to a single goal, the second period ended with the Gladiators leading 3-2. Atlanta’s lead lasted five minutes into the final period with Daniel Maggio tying the game at 3-3. The Gladiators struggled to generate any more scoring chances, and the Admirals completed the comeback with two more goals from Alberga, who finished the night with a hat-trick, 5-3 the final score.

There was no time to mourn the loss to the Admirals, with the Gladiators back in action on Saturday against the Florida Everblades, the team that dumped them out of the playoffs last year (in case you needed reminding). Despite a slow start to the season, the Everblades picked up where they left off against Atlanta, taking a 2-0 lead with Joe Cox and Nathan Perkovich both scoring. Hopes for the Gladiators to start the second period strongly were dashed when Derek Sheppard put Florida three goals ahead just 18 seconds after the puck dropped. Nolan LaPorte finally got the Glads on the board with his second goal of the weekend, one of the few positives for Atlanta. The third period was the most exciting of the game, both teams combined for five goals, Jordon Southorn, John McCarron and David Friedmann scoring for Florida, and Alex Overhardt and Justin MacDonald for the Gladiators. The game ended 6-3.

The six goals Atlanta conceded on Saturday were the most they had conceded in a single game so far this season, that was until they played the Everblades again on Sunday afternoon. Seconds after the puck dropped, Atlanta’s Tyler Howe dropped the gloves and went toe-to-toe with Florida’s Mitch Vandergunst in an effort to inspire his team. It seemed to have the desired effect. After peppering the Florida net with shots, the Gladiators took an early lead as Justin MacDonald found the net for the second time in two games. The score remained 1-0 for the remainder of the first, despite creating a number of chances, the Gladiators couldn’t add to their lead.

The first period was a success, however, the second was an absolute disaster. The Gladiators were blown away by six Florida goals, yes six. Zach Nastasiuk and Blake Winiecki put Florida ahead before Joe Cox added two of his own. A goal each from Jordon Southorn and Tommy Thompson completed the second-period demolition. Battling for pride in the final period of the weekend, Derek Nesbitt pulled one back for the Glads, but seconds later Winiecki scored another for Florida. Ben Danford found the net for Atlanta, but the misery continued, Kyle Platzer scored shortly after for the Everblades and the game finished 8-3.

The Gladiators have looked decent offensively recently. Scoring three goals in each of the last three games shows consistency, but defensively the team has a lot of work to do. Conceding 19 goals in three games is disastrous at any level, especially when playing at home. The numbers could have been worse, goalies Miroslav Svoboda and Colton Phinney combined for 110 saves last weekend. Moving forward the defense must improve. The Gladiators do get a chance to redeem themselves on Wednesday when they face the  Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Surely the only way is up from here.

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<—