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<—

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Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 13 Preview

( Photo Credit: Taylor Trebotte / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

After 30 games, it’s no secret that the season hasn’t gone to plan for the Atlanta Gladiators, who currently sit at the bottom of the South Division. Head coach and GM, Jeff Pyle, has been very busy with roster changes over the new year period as he looks to improve the team’s results in 2019. Atlanta begins the year with a trip to the sunshine state, for three road games against the Florida Everblades, the second-best team in the league. Road trips don’t come much tougher than that.

The Gladiators roster will look very different by the time they take to the ice against Florida. The team has acquired rookie forward Luke Stork from the Wichita Thunder. Boston Bruins prospect, Jesse Gabrielle, was reassigned by the NHL Bruins organization to Wichita shortly after the Stork deal per information gathered from BNG writer Mark Allred in a related article that can be SEEN HERE. On new years eve, the Gladiators announced the signing of forward Joe Widmar, and traded away Bo Brauer and Sean Campbell to Worcester and Reading respectively. Goaltender Colton Phinney was removed from the active roster after deciding to step away from hockey, he has been replaced by Michael Bitzer, who joins from Rapid City. Defenseman Olivier Galipeau also returns to Atlanta on loan from the Providence Bruins.

The Gladiators head to Florida with last weeks defeat against their hosts fresh in their memory. The brutal 5-2 loss showcased the Everblades ruthlessness, they took the lead just 22 seconds into the game and never looked back. Florida does a great job of controlling the opposition and keeps the puck in the attacking zone for long periods, they are a very good team. They’ve won eight of their last 10 games and will be very confident heading into the mini-series. The Glads have lost all three games against the Everblades so far this season, which were all in Atlanta. Perhaps a change of scenery might help, or perhaps I’m just clutching at straws. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, miracles do happen.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Justin MacDonald: Seven points in his last five games including a hat-trick against the Norfolk Admirals last week, there’s no way MacDonald was going to miss the list this week. He is such an important part of the Glads offense, they will need him at his best if they are to have any success this week in Florida. He grabbed an assist in the last game against the Everblades and will be desperate to add to that.

Olivier Galipeau: After a short stint with the Providence Bruins, Olivier Galipeau is back in Atlanta. He played three games for the Glads just before Christmas, adding an assist to his tally and is currently tied for the team-lead for points by defensemen. He was handy on the power play earlier in the season for Atlanta, so his return will certainly boost the team.

Derek Nesbitt: The forward finds himself on this list again, but I simply couldn’t leave him out. The veteran has at least one point in each of his last seven games for Atlanta and remains the team’s top point scorer this season. Last week he notched his 300th point for the Gladiators. The younger players will look to him for guidance in the next few games, there aren’t many better leaders in the ECHL.

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 12 Preview

( Photo Credit: Taylor Trebotte / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

After taking a short break for Christmas, the Atlanta Gladiators are back in action this week with three more games before the end of the year. They will take on the Florida Everblades before two back-to-back games against the Norfolk Admirals. The Gladiators will be looking to build on their dominant 4-0 win over the Jacksonville Icemen last week, which ended their 10 game slide. With their record standing at 6-15-5-1, the Glads will be hoping for positive results for them to build on in the new year.

Last week, the Gladiators benefited from the return of Olivier Galipeau. The defenseman contributed an assist and a +3 rating on his return to Atlanta. After a short stint with the team, he was recalled to the Providence Bruins. After a long-awaited home debut, former NHL forward, Jared Ross, was released from the active roster according to echl.com. It’s unclear whether he will feature again for Atlanta, as he had been released from and then re-added to the Glads roster before last weeks games.

On Thursday night, the Florida Everblades will visit the Infinite Energy Arena to challenge the Gladiators. After a steady start to the season, the Blades have found their groove and currently top the South Division, after winning eight of their last 10 games. Atlanta has struggled against the Everblades since the playoff series last year, where they were beaten in four straight contests. The two teams have played twice already this season, with Florida winning both games, 6-3 and 8-3 respectively. One thing is for sure, Atlanta will have to be better defensively when the puck drops. Playing at home will help the Glads, but this will be a difficult game. That being said, miracles do happen.

After the Florida game, the Gladiators will finish 2018 with two home contests against the Norfolk Admirals, on Saturday and Sunday. The Admirals have been struggling lately, like Atlanta, they only have one win in their last 10 games. Glads fans will be pleased to learn that surprisingly, Atlanta has actually earned more points in their last 10 games than the Admirals. In the five games between the two teams this season, Norfolk edge the series 3-2, but the Gladiators have a good chance of turning that round on home ice. They proved that they are capable with the win against Jacksonville, and good results against the Admirals would be a great platform to start the new year. I think these two games will be close, but home advantage should give the Gladiators the edge.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Derek Nesbitt: I’ve lost count of how many times Nesbitt has made this list already, but the veteran forward has been on fire recently. With five points (2g, 3a) in his last four games, the Canadian has established himself as the team’s top scorer. Always leading by example, you simply cannot count him out.

Nick Bligh: After joining the team recently, the third-year-pro didn’t take long to contribute. He has four points (2g, 2a) in his last four games and will want to maintain his point per game output for as long as he can. The Gladiators offense was in need of a spark before he arrived, now he’s thriving in Atlanta.

Jesse Gabrielle: After a four-game point drought, the Boston Bruins prospect grabbed two goals against the Icemen last week. The controversial forward did a great job of getting under the skin of the Jacksonville players and had the last laugh with his empty-netter in the 4-0 win. He reminded me somewhat of Brad Marchand with the way he frustrated the opposition, he will be worth watching 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 11 Preview

( Photo Credit: Facebook.com/atlantagladiators )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

Christmas is less than a week away, and the Atlanta Gladiators have three games to play before a short break for the holiday. After 24 games, the Glads record is 5-13-5-1, no-where near their preseason aspirations of a playoff challenge. This week they have three chances to close the gap on their South Division rivals.

The Gladiators have struggled recently, missing a number of players through injury and call-ups to the AHL. The return of forward Justin MacDonald will be a boost to the team. He missed a few weeks through injury but was added to the active roster just before the last game against The Orlando Solar Bears. He had seven points (2g, 5a) in four games before being helped off the ice, hopefully, he can rediscover that level of production and help the Glads get back to winning ways.

The Providence Bruins have loaned defenseman Olivier Galipeau back to Atlanta. This will improve the power play significantly, all three of his Glads goals earlier in the season were scored with opponents in the box. The Gladiators have also acquired rookie forward Bo Brauer in a trade for future considerations with the South Carolina Stingrays. In other news, forward Nolan LaPorte and defenseman Kevin Montgomery have been added to reserve, and power forward Tyler Howe has been released. The big man featured in 14 games for Atlanta this season, scoring no points but earning 19 penalty minutes.

This week, the Gladiators will play three times in as many days on home ice at the Infinite Energy Arena. On Wednesday night the Greenville Swamp Rabbits are in town. Atlanta’s last win was against them back in November, almost a month ago. They will be desperate to end the nine-game losing streak with another win over their South Division rivals. The two teams have met five times already this season, sharing 26 goals between them, one thing’s certain, the goalies will be kept very busy. On Thursday and Friday, the Jacksonville Icemen are in town for a double-header. Atlanta managed to take them into overtime last week, securing a hard-earned point in the process. The Glads will be hoping to improve on that result with a win or two this week.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Colton Phinney: With Miroslav Svoboda out due to injury, Phinney has a good chance of featuring for the Glads this week. He’s looked solid in his six games so far for the team. He was named ECHL goaltender of the week just before he was traded to Atlanta, so the talent is definitely there. He’ll be determined to shut out his former team, the Jacksonville Icemen.

Dave Mazurek: It took a little while to settle into his new surroundings, but Mazurek has been impressive recently. Three points in his last four games and a +2 rating make him one of the most in-form forwards on the Glads current roster. He will look to build on that platform in the coming games, keep an eye on him.

Derek Nesbitt: I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve mentioned Nesbitt as a key player, but his numbers prove he’s one of the best. He’s the Glads joint top-scorer this season with 16 points (6g, 10a) and kept Atlanta’s hopes alive with a goal last week against Orlando. You can never count him out.

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 <–

Providence Bruins Week 10 Begins

locker(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

By: Jen Stasio Coombe | Follow Me On Twitter @hockeygirl2976

It’s going to be a long week for the Providence Bruins as they headed out on a four-game tour of the North Division yesterday. The trip began with their first stop in Toronto, followed by tomorrow in Rochester, Saturday in Belleville and finally next Wednesday they will be in Utica. The only team of these four they had already met this season were the Rochester Americans, and that game ended up with a Providence win thanks to a goal from Ryan Donato in overtime. With Ryan back in Boston the team will have to find another lethal weapon to slay their northern foes. If they continue to use the skill, speed, coordination, and teamwork we have seen from them the past two weeks, they need look no further.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Toronto Marlies (AWAY)

marlies(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

The first stop in the great white north was to face the Toronto Marlies.  Ranked two places below Providence at eleventh in the Eastern Conference with a total of twenty-two points they were separated from Providence by only two points.  This game could have made the difference for the Marlies if it had gone their way.  The current Calder Cup champions are no doubt unhappy with where they are currently positioned in the rankings and were eager to claw their way closer to the top. So last night’s result was far from certain.

Toronto had scored eighty-six goals this season out of the 710 shots they had taken that put them at about a 12% success rate. Providence, on the other hand, was a little lower only being successful about 11% of the time. However, neither of these stats appeared to be a factor last night.  It came down to Providences strength on the Penalty Kill, the ability to take advantage of the power play opportunities in the second period, and the stellar goaltending of Dan Vladar.  This was the second shutout of the season for Vladar and a 5-0 victory for the Bruins over the Marlies.  A good start to a road trip and no matter how the rest of the week goes, they will have the support of all the fans back home who will anxiously be awaiting their arrival back at the Dunk on the 14th of December.

Friday, December 7, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Rochester Americans (AWAY)

amerks(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

The Providence Bruins travel back stateside for Friday’s game to meet up in New York with the Rochester Americans for the second time this season. With the first game being so close and finally falling Providences way, the pressure is surely going to be strong for the Americans to take this game and get a record win against the Bruins. Meeting twice a year for at least the past three years the Bruins seemed to have been charmed taking home the W in every match-up. So a win for Rochester this Friday would break a very long losing streak and dare we say it, a curse?

Rochester may have the man with the plan this year. Currently, they have a top 10 scorer, who also happens to be the overall defensive leader in goals, power-play goals, and shots on goal. That’s right Zach Redmond, the Rochester d-man, boast numbers of 13-9-22 in just 21 games. That is someone who deserves a little extra attention this Friday night if we want to be sure his numbers don’t climb higher that evening.

That is a strong player true, but one player does not make a team, and with the coordination and teamwork our boys are currently displaying they can definitely put an end to any run the Americans would like to start against the Bruins.

Saturday, December 8, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Belleville Senators (AWAY)

belle(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

Having only one year in the league the Belleville Senators and the Providence Bruins have a rather short history. They have played two games against each other one in Providence and the other in Belleville. The game in Providence was won by the Bruins in regular time while the game in Belleville took into overtime for the Senators to score the game-winning goal, but win they did. With two games in the history books, these two teams have a .500 lifetime record, and this one game will make that number swing one way or the other by .250. Funny how quickly things change when the sample size is so small.

One other set of numbers to watch is the conference position and total points. As of today, the Senators are at fourteenth with twenty-one points, and the Bruins sit at eighth with twenty-six points. With six points up for grabs this weekend and two of them being a direct battle between the two teams, they could switch positions on the table very easily.

The significant items that would point toward Providence coming out on top of this battle are where the team names show up on the AHL Daily Report. Providence has players, not many mind you, scattered throughout many positive tables. Dan Vladar is a top fifteen goalie, Joel Messner leads with shorthanded assists and two players Fitzgerald and Hughes with successful penalty shots. Belleville shows up very little but does show up with the third most losing goalie, having lost eight, and a defenseman with the fifth most penalty minutes in the league with  51 PIMs in 22 games. These items do not spell victory for Providence, but they do give me a good feeling about it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Utica Comets (AWAY)

utica(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins)

The Utica Comets welcome the Providence Bruins for their first meeting of the year.  Providence won all four matches between these two teams last season, and the Comets are looking to change that going forward.  They come into this match with speed and the ability to aim for the net, already having taken seven hundred shots on goal this season as compared to Providences six hundred fifty number.  The number of times you shoot at the net doesn’t really matter if they never become goals. So, the question here is who actually has more goals.  The answer is, even with a much lower shot count, the Bruins have five more goals in total.

So we now know offensively who has the numbers advantage, let’s take a quick look at the defense.  We can see that Providence has allowed sixty-seven goals to slide by their goaltender in the twenty-three games so far this year.  Utica has allowed ninety-four to reach the back of the net, but they have played two additional games thus far. That’s a 2.91 and 3.76 goals against average for the two teams respectively.  Dan Vladar and Zane McIntyre have both had an amazing couple of weeks, and the defensive team has really picked up their game as well. Even if we take into account our rocky start, this looks good for the Bruins.  I don’t know about you, but I am under the impression that if the boys keep their wits about them and continue playing as they have, barring a catastrophic disaster, the Bruins should take those two points home to end their tour of the North Division.

My picks to watch this weekend:

Up Front:

Everyone – I know it seems like a cop-out, but honestly last week I could not pick a single outstanding front-runner. Everyone was working hard and pick-pocketing like they had been ripped from the pages of David Copperfield. Let’s take another week to enjoy the beauty that is/are, the Providence Bruins front lines at the moment.

On The Blue Line:

Olivier Galipeau – Overall I don’t know too much about him. He has one assist and two minor penalties in the four games he has played with Providence so far.   He was captain of his team in the QMJHL and had a +89 over a total of 308 games in 5 years. I recommend we all take a look this weekend and see what we think.

In Net:

Dan Vladar – Last week both our goalies performed stellar feats of tending. This week I thought we would focus on checking out the different style that Vlad brings to the net. His size naturally leads him to cover more of the net, but that does not end the conversation. How does he cover the correct parts of the net and how does he move that tall, lanky frame so quickly and effortlessly into position to prevent the goals that to an outsider appear unstoppable?

Cheers to week ten and best of luck to our Baby-B’s. Welcome to the first full week of December.  I will catch up with you next week and until then, feel free to message me on twitter with any questions or comments and as always, take some time to check out the other great articles by the incredible team here at Blackngoldhockey.com. Now Go Get Hockey With It!

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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 Update: Busy Week In Atlanta

( Photo Credit: orlandosentinel.com / Gary Bassing )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

Atlanta began the season on the road to the Orlando Solar Bears, after a wild 6 goal 2nd period, the Gladiators won the contest 4-2. The game was scoreless until Matt Lane opened the floodgates in the 2nd frame, his first goal for Atlanta, assisted by Tyler Moy. The Gladiators doubled their lead during a power play when Moy himself tucked home a pass from Derek Nesbitt. The Solar Bears leveled the game with 2 short-handed goals just 23 seconds apart, the Gladiators punished for letting their foot off the gas, allowing the Orlando back into the contest. After a brief melee between the players, the Gladiators capitalized on the power play twice more with Olivier Galipeau and Joel Messner scoring their first professional goals and restoring the Gladiators 2 goal lead. The Solar Bears were unable to threaten Atlanta in the 3rd period, and the Gladiators left the Amway Center with the victory and importantly 2 points.

It’s been a busy week already for head coach and GM Jeff Pyle, with some changes to the roster. Boston Bruins prospect forwards Jesse Gabrielle and Joona Koppanen have been loaned to the team from Providence while forward Andrew Schmit was signed to a professional contract. Earlier today, Tuesday, October 16th, the Gladiators announced that forward Matt Lane was recalled by the Milwaukee Admirals in exchange for Zach Magwood who joins the Gladiators on loan. The team also confirmed the departure of Darby Llewellyn who joins the Rapid City Thunder in a trade for future considerations.

Jesse Gabrielle joins after falling out of favor in Providence, the 21-year-old will be determined to prove himself in Atlanta and brings bags of potential to the Gladiators. Koppanen will start his first full season as a pro and some time in the ECHL will allow him to adjust to the American ice. He did manage to score a pair of goals for the Providence Bruins after featuring for them late last season. Andrew Schmit will provide some grit and experience to the Gladiators roster after representing the Indy Fuel and Wheeling Nailers last year.

The Gladiators have a busy weekend ahead of them with 3 back to back divisional games starting on Friday at home to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. On Saturday night the Orlando Solar Bears head to Duluth in search of revenge from game 1 and the Gladiators will be on the road against the South Carolina Stingrays on Sunday. After a strong result last week the Glads will look to carry that form into these 3 games. Divisional games always have an added intensity, so these games promise excitement. The influx of talent from Providence will certainly be a boost to the team, and coach Pyle will hope that the new players can settle into the squad quickly and start contributing right away.

This Week’s Players To Watch:

Tyler Moy: The Nashville Predators prospect bagged himself a goal and assist in game 1, and the 23-year-old looked solid on his ECHL debut. The California native will be looking to bounce back from a fairly disappointing season in the AHL last year. An absolute menace in the attacking third, expect some points from him this weekend.

Miroslav Svoboda: In his first game for the Gladiators, Svoboda saved 30 out of 32 shots and looked comfortable for most of the game. He made some very good stops to keep the Glads ahead. Another Predators prospect on the Glads roster, he will certainly look to make an impression much like Providence Bruins goaltender Dan Vladar did last season.

Olivier Galipeau: He was on my radar last week and will be on it again heading into the weekend. The defenseman had a solid outing for the Gladiators last week picking up both a goal and assist on his professional debut. He looked particularly threatening on the power play, and his long-range effort against the Solar Bears would have troubled any goaltender. The Bruins prospect looked sharp and will be a constant threat with opponents in the penalty box.

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.

Gladiators Training Camp Update

( Photo Credit: @atlgladiators Twitter )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The 2018-19 Atlanta Gladiators training camp is in full swing. New Ownership marks the beginning of a new era in Georgia, and preparations are underway for what promises to be an exciting season. The return of head coach, Jeff Pyle, has created a genuine feel of optimism amongst the players as well as the supporters. Roster spots are up for grabs with senior players away on AHL tryouts, so there’s strong competition in the camp with everybody trying to impress the new bosses. Training camp ends on October 7th, so the clock is ticking for players eager to earn their place.

The Gladiators management have been busy with a number of players returning to Atlanta after AHL try-outs, and some new faces joining the squad. Branden Troock, Darby Llewellyn and Jack Stander returned from try-outs with the Milwaukee Admirals, in addition, the Gladiators also loaned forward Alex Overhardt from Milwaukee. Ben Danford returns from the Chicago Wolves, and Luke Sandler is back from the Rockford IceHogs. On Monday, October 1st, the Gladiators announced that 6 players had been added to the squad from the Providence Bruins. The AHL affiliate have loaned defenseman Olivier Galipeau and forward Brett McKenzie, and assigned defenseman Joel Messner to Atlanta. Sean Bonar, Zach Malatesta, and Tyler Deresky have been released from their try-outs with Providence and will report back to the Gladiators. On Tuesday, October 2nd The Milwaukee Admirals loaned forwards Tyler Moy and Carl Persson, and assigned Matt Lane to the Gladiators. The team also confirmed that Zac Sikich, Alfred Johanson, Hunter Stewart, Matt Harrington, and Robbie Hall have been released from their PTOs.

The Gladiators have been very clear in their expectations for the new season. Coach Pyle has high standards and will be aiming to go one step further than his previous tenure in charge of the team. When discussing his first stint with the Gladiators, Pyle claimed: “This place was special in my heart, I helped build it, I helped being part of a really good thing and I want to bring that back.” With the support of new team owner Dan Orlich, Pyle has every opportunity to finish what he started in Atlanta, it’s clear he’s hungry for success. The players seem to be buying into Pyle’s approach with Gladiators captain, Derek Nesbitt, claiming “I’ve known him for 14 years, he just brings a lot of positivity to the game and to the locker room, just every day it’s a fun place to be, and you get excited to be here”. It’s important for a team to have belief in the system and the early signs suggest that the players share the team’s ambition and vision for success.

It’s not long before we get to see the team in action, on Thursday, October 4th, the Gladiators will head to Greenville to take on the Swamp Rabbits in their only official preseason game against a league opponent. Training camp concludes with an intrasquad exhibition game which has been arranged for Sunday, October 7th, giving the players one last chance to impress coach Pyle as he prepares his final roster ahead of the 2018-19 season. The Gladiators start their quest for the Kelly Cup on the road against the Orlando Solar Bears on Saturday, October 13th. Keep an eye on BlackNGoldHockey.com for updates throughout the season.

Boston Bruins: Prospect Olivier Galipeau Brings Intriguing Talent

olivier_galipeau.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (The Northern Light Archive)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

There are two things in the National Hockey League that often just do not mix – the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens. Throughout the storied history of both Original Six franchises, moves have been made that is agreed upon by both sides such as Ken Dryden to the Habs or even Claude Julien to Montreal in most recent years.

However, there have been very few occasions where the Bruins and Canadiens experience any sort of betrayal from a player. Well, on June 27th, 2018, the Montreal Canadiens may have very well felt that betrayal when Montreal, Quebec native Olivier Galipeau denied the opportunity to play in the Canadiens’ development camp and agree to a one-year AHL contract with the Providence Bruins.

Olivier Galipeau is one considered a veteran of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, playing in five consecutive seasons with three different teams. The overage defenceman has created a solid reputation with scouts and analysts as one of the best offensive defenders in the QMJHL.

The Montreal-native kicked off his QMJHL career with the Val d’Or Foreurs. In the next four seasons, he would continually produce decent season totals, finding his best hockey in the final two seasons with the Foreurs. In the 2015-16 regular season, Galipeau scored nine goals and thirty-seven points in 56 games, adding an impressive +29 rating in the process.

In the short six-game playoff run that same season, Olivier scored only one goal but assisted on eight, finishing the postseason with nine points. The following season would be split between the Foreurs and his new team, the Chicoutimi Sagueneens due to a trade that was made at the 2016-17 QMJHL Trade Deadline.

Because he was captain with Val d’Or, Galipeau was awarded the “C” on his sweater. The second-half of the ’16/’17 season was not the best for him, however, scoring only fourteen points in the thirty games he skated in. In turn, it was the first-half of the past 2017-2018 season that Galipeau truly showed his talents as a defenseman. In just 37 games with the Sagueneens, Galipeau racked up 15-25-40 totals and a +18 rating. The stellar play brought up his trade value heading into the 2018 QMJHL Trade Deadline.

When the trade season began for the QMJHL, the favorites to win the QMJHL Championship make the necessary trades to further solidify their chances on winning the top prize in the Eastern-Canadian junior hockey league. One of the top favorites – the Acadie-Bathurst Titan – managed to land one of the best players in the league for a ton of future draft picks.

Olivier Galipeau was sent from Chicoutimi to Acadie-Bathurst for a 2018 4th Round Pick, a 2019 2nd Round Pick, a 2019 3rd Round Pick, a 2020 3rd Round Pick, and a 2020 5th Round Pick.

The change of scenery did not mean a change in results for Galipeau. In the final 30 games of the year, Galipeau finished with 10-24-34 totals – guaranteeing him first place in defenceman scoring for all of the QMJHL over the entirety of the 2017-2018 campaign. Not only would he have his best career regular season, but his playoff run with the Titan would be stellar as well.

His twenty points in twenty playoff games helped earn the Titan the QMJHL Championship and secured them a spot in the 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup. Galipeau would notch three assists during the tournament, as the Titan would win the Memorial Cup in Regina.

Following his performance in the Memorial Cup, the hype surrounding his name arose. Numerous fans from different fanbases wanted his services, especially the Montreal Canadien fans. To have a young offensive defenceman from Montreal would be a dream come true for many Habs fans, even though he may not earn an NHL roster position with the Canadiens.

The decision to leave the Montreal camp in favor of signing with the Bruins confuses many people, but according to TVA Sports reporter Mikael Lalancette, he believed that he would be in the Canadiens development camp but Boston came in out of nowhere and offered him the contract late in the afternoon. The Bruins would then send Galipeau on a flight to Boston the next morning.

Credit for the signing could very well be given to Boston Bruins QMJHL scout, Alain Bissonnette, who once spent eighteen years as a head scout in the Q. Bissonnette won a Memorial Cup of his own back in 2012. It is very possible that he noticed something to like, insisting the Bruins to sign him as soon as possible, inevitably “stealing” him from the Canadiens.

While he may not be an immediate difference maker for the P-Bruins, he can add some much-needed depth on the blueline for the years to come. It will be interesting to follow the career of Olivier Galipeau while he wears the Providence Bruins sweater.