ECHL: Gladiators Attempt to Break Losing Streak in Game Against the Icemen

PHOTO CREDIT: Taylor Trebotte, Inside the Rink

The Atlanta Gladiators aimed to snap their seven-game losing streak. Before their Friday night match, the Gladiators had faced difficulties in scoring early and had often been plagued by ill-timed penalties, putting them in the position of having to defend while already trailing in scoring opportunities.

FIRST PERIOD

The Gladiators would take an early lead in the first period as Cody Sylvester, striking first, tipped and redirected a Jack Matier shot, finding the back of the net against goalie Icemen goalie Matt Veron. The Gladiators earned that first goal of the game just 1:41 after the opening faceoff. Mitch Fossier was also credited for the assist.

Atlanta would strike again and would score on only their second shot of the period. Evan Dougherty took a shot that was initially blocked by the Icemen goaltender, Matt Vernon. However, the puck ricocheted off a defender in the crease and found its way into the net, extending Atlanta’s lead to 2-0. Dylan Vander Esch and Zach Yoder are both credited with the assist (6:14).

SECOND PERIOD

In the second period, the Gladiators struggled to halt the Icemen’s powerplay unit, forcing them back onto the defensive. At 15:39 of the period, Brandon Fortunato delivered a pass from the point to Christopher Brown, who positioned himself behind the net. Brown promptly fired a shot that goaltender Gustavs Grigals was unable to block, closing the Icemen’s gap to a single goal. The Gladiators were now 2-1.

The Icemen looked for an opportunity once more to tie the game on their second power-play opportunity of the period. This time, after Mitch Fossier was sent to the sin bin for interference. He wouldn’t be there long, however, as Christopher Brown made a pass from behind the net to find Riley Fiddler-Schultz. Fiddler-Schultz swiftly delivered a shot that found the back of the Atlanta net despite being surrounded by three Gladiators (18.22). The Icemen leveled the score at two apiece as we closed out the final minutes of the middle frame.

Throughout much of the third period, the two teams remained evenly matched with both goalies making some critical saves. However, with less than five minutes left in regulation, the Icemen managed to take the lead. Garrett Van Wyhe seized control of the puck in the slot and fired a clean shot past Grigals into the net, securing Jacksonville’s first lead of the game.

THIRD PERIOD

Throughout most of the third period, both teams were evenly matched, and the goaltenders made numerous crucial saves. However, with only a few minutes left in regulation, the Icemen managed to take the lead. Garrett Van Wyhe seized control of the puck and fired a shot past Grigals, giving Jacksonville their first lead of the game (15:16).

During the closing minutes of regulation, the Gladiators had a power play opportunity to even the score. Atlanta pulled goaltender Grigals for the extra attacker but the Icemen’s penalty kill, aided by a series of impressive saves from Veron, thwarted the Gladiators’ end-of-period efforts. As a result, the Gladiators suffered yet another crushing loss, this time a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Icemen. The loss is the team’s eighth straight defeat, as they fall to 9-13-0-0.

The Atlanta Gladiators will face the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on Saturday night, as fans gear up for their annual Teddy Bear Toss Night. The puck will drop at 7:00 pm at Gas South Arena in Duluth, GA.

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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