ECHL Game Recap: Atlanta Gladiators vs. Greenville Swamp Rabbits | 03/02/2024

Photo via Atlanta Gladiators

The Atlanta Gladiators (known as the Atlanta Thrashers ) played against their South Division rival, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, in front of a sold-out crowd. Following a victory last Wednesday, the team aimed to maintain the positive energy.

The Thrashers had their starting lineup set with Luke Prokop (D), Griffin Luce (D), Jackson Pierson (F), Reece Vitelli (F), and Micah Miller for the Atlanta Gladiators. Tyler Harmon and Mitch Fossier both remained on IR.

Minding the Net:

  • Atlanta – Gustavs Grigals
  • Greenville – Jacob Ingham

Period 1

The “Thrashers” had an early chance, but Ingham blocked the shot. Subsequently, the Swamp Rabbits team swiftly moved to the other end of the rink and attempted a shot on goal, only for Goose to make a pivotal save. Yoder dove to retrieve the puck, but it was snatched by the Swamp Rabbits, who took a shot that was caught by Goose’s glove. Marchesan had possession of the puck and passed it to his teammates, but Graves failed to hit the net. The Thrashers’ Pierson had a stellar shot on the net, but Ingham made the glove stop. Then Reece Vitelli just missed the shot as it bounced off the side of the net. Following the play, Graves and Leahy had a heated confrontation beside the net, but no penalty was given.

The Swamp Rabbits attempted a shot from the side of the net, but Goose made a glove save. Powell took a shot from the blue line, but it went wide. The puck got stuck along the boards much to the ire of the fans. Powell managed to retrieve the puck but missed the net with the shot.

The Swamp Rabbits take the lead with Austin Saint’s shot finding the back of the net, making the score 1-0 in favor of Greenville at 13:18 into the frame. Afterward, Vitelli and Jake have a brief encounter with Stevens dropping his stick, but Vitelli chooses not to engage. Miller made a shot but Ingham blocked it down. Goose saves the shot made by, then Kemp takes a shot, but Goose stops the puck once more. Kemp attempted another shot on goal, but Goose caught the puck with a save. Miller had an opportunity but unfortunately, he sent the puck into the netting.

Period 1 – Shots on Goal:

Atlanta – 5

Greenville – 10

Period 2

Grigals saved the shot from the Swamp Rabbits. Then, on the other end, Pierson’s shot was blocked by Ingham’s chest. Following this, the Thrashers retaliated with a check from Graves that sent the Swamp Rabbits player flying. Goose made another save after Ethan Somoza of Greenville made the shot.

Following this sequence, the Thrashers’ Hoffman attempted a shot at the goal, which unfortunately did not find its mark. Subsequently, Calisti also attempted a driving shot, which regrettably missed its intended target as well.

Yoder steals the puck from the Swamp Rabbits but shoots high above the net. Greenville Swamp Rabbits’ Ryan Francis received a penalty for a high stick against the Thrashers, leading us to a power play. The slapshot by Calisti just missed the net. Prokop winds up on the shot but misses. Calisti made the shot, then Vitelli and Miller went low but Ingham gloves the puck. We returned to full strength. Graves is then called for a penalty and headed to the box for cross-checking. Now, it’s the Thrashers’ turn on the penalty kill.

Calisti of the Thrashers delivered an impressive block to thwart McManus’ shot on Grigals. Following that, the Thrashers came close to a breakaway, but the Rabbits managed to steal the puck. However, the Thrashers made the clear. The Swamp Rabbits then knocked down Grigals at the end of the play, prompting the Thrashers to rightfully defend their netminder. The crowd grew loud, anticipating a call, but no penalty was given. Later, Grigals made a spectacular save while fending off Leahy’s attempts on the net. In the end, Grigals stood firm and denied him. Nolan Burke made the drop-in shot attempt but it bounced and Ingham got his hands on it first.

Pierson made the shot from the line. Calisti on the rebound, missed. Then on the other end, the Swamp Rabbits took advantage and they scored on the Thrashers once more as Francis found the net and brought their score to 2-10 (15:26). As the play advanced across the rink Marchesan had some words with Beauchamp, who dropped the gloves, and Marchesan solidly took the man down to the ice.

Marchesan and Beauchamp both receive penalties for roughing. Subsequently, Greenville finds the puck and gets the shot on goal, extending their lead to 3-0 at 16:19. After returning to full strength, Greenville continues to attack, with Grigals blocking McManus’ shot and Goose denying Beauchamp’s follow-up attempt.

Period 2 – Shots on Goal:

Atlanta – 8

Greenville – 15

Period 3

The Thrashers returned to the ice, aiming to shift the momentum in their favor as they maintained a 3-0 lead after the second period. Greenville shot in the net but it pops up and is caught by Grigals. Nonetheless, later on, as Grigals dived to save the puck, the Swamp Rabbits lifted it over his back, leading Brannon McManus to score the goal that extended Greenville’s lead to 4-0 at 1:50. Greenville sent the Thrasher to the PP as Souch was caught with a high stick and is sent to the bin. Prokop made the shot but Ingham got his hand on it as it passed through traffic, negating the shot attempt.

Kennedy came close to scoring his first professional goal and first with Atlanta, as he circled around the net, almost getting it past Ingham. Calisti’s powerful slapshot hit the net but bounced off the goalpost. Later, Walinski nearly found the back of the net but the goal was saved by Ingham. Calisti later made a shot but missed wide.

Vitelli delivers a strong hit for the Swamp Rabbits, aiming to boost the team’s energy. Marchesan also landed a solid hit on Greenville as Atlanta got physical with Greenville, sparking the fire in both the crowd and the team. Greenville is getting their way with the puck, keeping it out of the hands of the Thrashers and pinned on the boards. The fans are enraged as they want the call by the refs. Reece Vitelli had a breakaway chance but fell to the ice as he tried to make the rush.

Tensions were high as Kennedy clashed with Greenville, resulting in Kennedy being sent to the penalty box for interference. Fans believed Greenville should have received the penalty for provoking Graves, who exited the ice shortly after. Greenville would largely control the puck for the remaining minutes of the game, not allowing Atlanta any offensive chances to feed the puck to the net.

Unfortunately, Atlanta would fall to Greenville in a shutout loss, 4-0.

Period 3 – Shots on Goal:

Atlanta – 6

Greenville – 11

Three Stars:

1. GVL – J. Ingham

2. GVL – B. Kemp

3. GVL – B. McManus

The Atlanta Gladiators will return to face the Greenville Swamp Rabbits at Gas South Arena on Sunday, March 3rd at 3 PM.

Karen Zehner

Credentialed Beat Writer covering the ECHL Atlanta Gladiators. Diving into the world of slap shots, penalty kills, and the game we love. [@RunwithK] on socials

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