ECHL Game Recap: Atlanta Gladiators vs. Toledo Walleye | 03/17/2024

Photo Credit: Kristen Summerour

The Atlanta Gladiators played against the Toledo Walleye on St. Patrick’s Day, hoping for some good luck with the puck. Last week, they divided the back-to-back games against the Savannah Ghost Pirates, each winning one.

The starting lineup for the Atlanta Gladiators: Robbie Calisti (D), Zach Yoder (D), Ryan Cranford (F), Brendan Hoffman (F), and Michael Marchesan(F).

Scratched from today’s game were Alex Cohen and Spencer Kennedy with Mitch Fossier and Tyler Harmon remaining on IR.

Between the Pipes:

  • Atlanta – Josh Boyko
  • Toledo – John Lethemon

Period 1

Atlanta quickly heads to a penalty kill as Michael Marchesan is penalized for hooking. The Gladiators effectively push off the penalty, with Willets making crucial blocks. Despite sustained pressure from the Walleyes in the Gladiators’ zone, Seth Benson contributes to the defensive effort around the net. Brenden Datema took a strong shot at the goal but missed wide.

Ryan Cranford attempted a shot on goal but narrowly missed. Marchesan was penalized for slashing, leading to another penalty kill for the Gladiators. Josh Boyko made multiple saves as the Walleyes intensified their offensive efforts in the Gladiators zone. The Gladiators again clear the penalty and return to full strength. There was a breakaway chance made by Gladiators but the shot attempt just missed.

One the rebound, Seth Benson gets the puck to the back of the net, and the Gladiators score first, the first professional goal for Benson. On the assist was Nolan Burke (9:11).

Later, Micha Miller almost scored a goal with a shot solidly on the target, but unfortunately, the puck missed the net. The Gladiators persist in controlling the neutral zone, with Brendan Hoffmann successfully gaining possession of the puck.

The Walleye deftly controlled the puck, although Atlanta nearly regained possession. The Gladiators’ Carson Gicewicz is called for delay of game and is sent to the box to serve the time while the Gladiators head off to killing penalty number three. The Gladiators regained possession following a turnover, with Miller breaking his stick in an attempt to drive the puck toward the net. However, John Lethemon managed to make the stop.

Later, Boyko successfully deflected the shot from the Walleye and thwarted the subsequent rebound attempt.

Zach Yoder feeds the puck to Cranford, but the latter just missed the net. We are back to full strength, and the Walleye take a shot on goal, but Boyko managed to make the save. With less than a minute remaining, the Gladiators keep the Walleye on the defensive. We close out the period with the Gladiators leading the Walleye, 1-0 after a strong opening period for the Gladiators.

Period 1 – Shots on Goal:

Atlanta – 8

Toledo – 9

Period 2

Reece Vitelli took a powerful shot at Lethemon, only to be blocked. The Gladiators persist in maintaining possession of the puck in Toledo’s zone, yet the Walleye manage to push it out eventually and make their way towards Boyko. Once more, the Gladiators swiftly retrieve the puck and pass it back into play. After a deflected pass by Calisti, Riley Sawchuk scores against Boyko to tie the game 1-1 at 3:20, unassisted.

The Toledo Walleye got the puck and backed it past Boyko for the second time bringing the score 1-2, Walleye. The score was made by Sawchuk, with Lewandowski and Alexandre Doucet on the assist (6:32). The Walleyes are currently putting pressure on the Gladiators, keeping them in their own zone repeatedly.

The Walleye face a tough hit from Vitelli, with Riley McCourt taking the brunt of the blow. Unfazed, the Walleye battle against Atlanta’s defense, and Trento Bliss scores a goal past Boyko. The score now reads 1-3 in favor of the Walleye at 10:08.

Hoffmann takes a shot on goal, only for Lethemon to make the save. Marchesan later tries to make it to the net but is prevented by Michael Prapavessis. We have a slight scuffle in the Gladiators zone after the play as Lewandowski is sent to the sin bin after getting called for roughing against the Gladiators who headed to their first power play for the night. Miller takes a shot on goal, but the Walleye halts the play. The play led to Micah Miller and Adrien Beraldo being penalized for roughing, resulting in a 5-on-4 situation on the ice.

Reece Vitelli tried to score by sliding the puck into the net but was thwarted by Lethemon. Powell then deflected the puck away from the Walleye. Despite Powell’s attempt to outmaneuver the goalie, Lethemon blocked the shot once more while Toledo’s line maintained a strong defensive stance in front. The second period ended with Toledo leading 3-1, scoring three goals unanswered against Atlanta.

Period 2 – Shots on Goal:

Atlanta – 14

Toledo – 9

Period 3

The Walleye attempted to score a goal, but Boyko successfully blocked the shot. In response, the Gladiators pushed forward, but Gicewicz missed wide of Lethemon. Jay Powell was penalized for interference, leading the Gladiators to their fourth penalty kill. The Walleye had an opportunity from the right of the net but failed to capitalize.

Boyko made another save, allowing the Gladiators to clear the puck. Atlanta gets a chance on a puck drive but was unable to make the net. Atlanta returned to full strength. Boyko denied the Walleye’s attempt to score with a remarkable stretch save.

The Gladiators are maintaining pressure and staying in the Toledo zone as they strive to create offensive opportunities near the net. At the start, Toledo maintains possession in Atlanta’s zone. Boyko stops several scoring opportunities for the Walleye, and Atlanta successfully clears the puck.

Marchesan and Cranford had a 2-on-1 opportunity, with Lethemon saving the puck as it slid towards the goal. However, the play was deemed “no goal” as the whistle ended the action just before the puck made its way across the line. Play resumed and Calisti made another attempt at the net but missed.

Sawchuk skillfully maneuvered the puck back into Atlanta’s zone, while the Gladiators maintained their defense around the net. The Gladiators were initially held back by the Walleye, but they managed to escape when Cranford made a move towards the Toledo goal, although, unfortunately, he missed the net. Calisti slips a puck on the net but Willets misses as Lethemon makes the save. Calisti against heavy traffic up front, missed, as the Gladiators continued to push the puck towards the netminder.

The Gladiators made a strategic decision to pull Boyko for an extra attacker. This tactical maneuver by Atlanta resulted in a goal, orchestrated by both Vitelli and Gicewicz’s assist to Jackson Pierson, reducing the score to 2-3 in favor of the Walleye, with only 21 seconds left in regulation play.

However, with Vitelli’s final attempt to equalize falling just short, Toledo emerged victorious over Atlanta with a final score of 3-2.

Period 3 – Shots on Goal:

Atlanta – 12

Toledo – 9

Three Stars:

1. TOL – R. Sawchuk

2. TOL – J. Lethemon

3. ATL – S. Benson

The Atlanta Gladiators will face the Trois-Rivières Lions starting at 7:30 pm on Friday, March 22nd.

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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