ECHL Game Recap: Atlanta Gladiators vs. Savannah Ghost Pirates | 03/13/2024

Taylor Trebotte/InsideTheRink

Following their victory against South Carolina on Sunday, the Atlanta Gladiators aimed to maintain the positive energy as they prepared for back-to-back games against their in-state rivals, the Savannah Ghost Pirates.

The Atlanta Gladiators starting lineup featured: Carson Gicewicz (F), Reece Vitelli (F), Michael Marchesan (F), Brenden Datema (D), and Jake Willets (D). Alex Cohen and Spencer Kennedy were scratches for tonight with Tyler Harmon and Mitch Fossier both remaining on IR.

Between the Pipes:

  • Atlanta – Gustavs Grigals
  • Savannah – Jesper Vikman

Period 1

Savannah’s Simon Pinard made an initial shot, which was deflected by Brenden Datema before it could reach the goal. Despite Mitch Walinski’s attempt to connect with Carson Denomie, the pass was unsuccessful. Shortly after, Walinski successfully scored the first goal for the Gladiators at 7:03, with assists from Brendan Hoffmann and Denomie.

Following this, Reece Vitelli swiftly secured a second goal by eluding Vikman at 7:32 in the period, bringing the score to 2-0 in favor of Atlanta. Marchesan is credited with the assist.

Later, Hoffmann took a shot at the net but just missed as Atlanta looked to increase their lead. The Ghost Pirates tried to regroup, however, and push the Gladiators out of the zone. Savannah’s Brandon Estes attempted a strike on Atlanta’s net, but Grigals saved it. The Gladiators received a penalty after Jay Powell was called for hooking, sending the Gladiators to the penalty kill. Micha Miller scored a short-handed goal by shooting the puck past Vikman without assistance, putting the Gladiators in the lead, 3-0 (10:10).

Robbie Calisti attempts a shot towards the net, only to have the puck blocked by Vikman. Denomie came close to scoring as he attempted to weave his way through but was unable to make the connection with the net. After the play, Joe Fleming attempts to initiate with Denomie, but the Gladiators forward does not engage. As a result, Fleming incurs a delay of game penalty, giving Atlanta the man advantage.

Then, Calisti gets the Gladiators their fourth straight goal as he launches the puck towards the net and beats Vikman on the netminder’s blocker side (17:27). Jake Willets and Jackson Pierson are each credited on the assist. We close out the period with the Gladiators having struck four goals, and leading 4-0.

Period 1 – Shots on Goal:

Atlanta – 10

Savannah – 7

Period 2

Savannah begins the third round strongly, delivering a series of impactful hits right from the start. Grigals later saves a deflected shot from Savannah as the Ghost Pirates attempt to capitalize. Off the turnover, Grigals made yet another glove save as the Gladiators continued to defend well. Peter Tischke sent Marchesan tumbling on the ice, but Marchesan quickly bounced back as Savannah attempted to provoke Atlanta.

Nolan Burke skated away as Savannah attempted once more to disrupt the Gladiators’ focus by attempting to provoke the forward. Miller received a rough check from Tischke, resulting in Tischke being sent to the penalty box for boarding. The Gladiators headed to the powerplay for the second time.

The Ghost Pirates received their second penalty of the period when the team was penalized for having too many men on the ice. Jordan Kaplan was sent to the sin bin to serve out the time. After play resumed, Miller took a shot on goal, but Vikman denied him. Pierson regained possession of the puck and passed it to Calisti, who then sent it over to Willets. Calisti got the puck back and took a shot, but unfortunately missed the net.

Pat Guay had a breakaway chance, which was denied by Calisti. The Gladiators once more put a stop to the Ghost Pirates’ attempts to score. Shortly after, Miller got hold of the puck and came close to scoring another goal for Atlanta. The Gladiators faced a delayed penalty for high sticking by Jay Powell, resulting in the Gladiators being sent to the penalty kill for a double minor.

Grigals made a crucial save, igniting the Ghost Pirates’ crowd as the shot by Drevitch came in hot. Ross Armor took his chance on the net but was defended. Logan Swetlikoff also tried his hand at the net but Grigals again made the stop. With 2.2 seconds left in the frame, Grigals made yet another save as the Ghost Pirates tried to catch Grigals off-kilter, but Willets stepped in to help defend his goalie. With no scoring by either side, the score remains 4-0, Atlanta.

Period 2 – Shots on Goal:

Atlanta – 7

Savannah – 8

Period 3

With 20 minutes left in the game, the Gladiators were determined to hold off the Ghost Pirates. Remaining on the penalty kill, the Gladiators successfully blocked another shot on goal by Pinard. The Gladiators went back at full strength moments later after Jay Powell was let loose from the penalty box.

Grigals saved the shot after Drevitch attempted to score. During an odd-man rush, Denomie’s shot was denied by Vikman as Denomie aimed for the goal. Hoffmann attempted a shot on goal, but Vikman blocked it once again. The Ghost Pirates attempted to provoke the Gladiators after the play, but Atlanta maintained their composure and kept on. Carson Gicewicz shot high off the net, missing the mark on Vikman. Vitelli’s shot was blocked as we approached the middle of the final frame.

Carroll took a shot, but Grigals managed to save it with a glove as the Ghost Pirates and the Gladiators engaged in some shoving in front of Atlanta’s net after the play. Gilmour gained possession of the puck, but Grigals managed to make the save. Then, Grigals falls as the puck shot by Vidmar narrowly misses the top of the net.

The Gladiators go on the PP as Logan Drevitch heads to the sin bin for slashing Calisti. Guay and Carroll both have a chance but do not find the net. Dylan Carabia stopped the odd man rush as Savannah tried to regain some momentum. Then, Ryan Cranford snagged the puck and put up the fifth goal for Atlanta, assisted by Burke and Gicewicz (13:56).

Estes attempted to create an opportunity for Savannah, but Grigals once again thwarted that chance. Datema later had his chance on the net but Vikman made the stop. Cranford’s shot was blocked, with the Gladiators gaining a delayed penalty as they cleared the puck. Atlanta headed to the PK as Zach Yoder was called for slashing.

In the final two minutes, the Ghost Pirates tried to spoil the shoutout for Grigals and Atlanta. Vitelli and Alex Swetlikoff headed into a fight, dropping the gloves. Vitelli headed to the looker room. Vikman remained in the net with 30 seconds left in regulation. Tischke attempted the shot on net, but Grigals stopped the goal, closing the leg pads. Burke and Drevitch finally take a moment to settle things, dropping their gloves, but Burke wins that one solidly for Atlanta.

The Gladiators win the game, with a shutout for their goaltender, and a final score of 5-0.

Period 3 – Shots on Goal:

Atlanta – 6

Savannah – 13

Three Stars:

1. ATL – G. Grigals

2. ATL – M. Walinski

3. ATL – R. Vitelli

The Gladiators are set to face the Ghost Pirates in the second of two consecutive games in Savannah tomorrow night, kicking things off at 7:15 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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