In the past week the Gwinnett Gladiators made a 4-game Northern swing to Elmira, Toledo and Chicago. They continue to struggle with consistency, posting two wins, an overtime loss and a shootout loss. Still, the team did well, claiming six out of a possible eight points on the road.
After an eventful Wednesday morning where their hotel caught on fire, the Gladiators survived until overtime against the Elmira Jackals, eventually falling 3-2. The Jackals were on the board first when Artem Demkow blasted a one-timer past Marc Cheverie. The Glads tied things up in the second period with a power play goal from Brad Miller. Elmira regained the lead shortly after, but the Gladiators came through late in the second period and tied it up again on a power play goal, this time from Joey Haddad who continued his point streak to four games. The game remained tied through the third period. Elmira’s Evan Barlow put one past Cheverie only 1:28 into overtime. Cheverie made 22 saves. The Gladiators went 2-for-6 on the power play.
Friday night was a different story as the Gladiators pulled through 5-3 against the Toledo Walleye. Toledo was first on the board with Rob Flick scoring on a rebound, but the Gladiators answered, tying the game on a goal from rookie Bryan Brutlag. The Walleye quickly regained the lead at 8:07 in the first but Pat Gallivan answered, tying it up yet again. The Gladiators took the lead with 1.7 seconds left in the second period on a goal from Mike Bartlett. Toledo’s Adam Estoclet tied it up in the third, but Haddad came through, extending his point streak to five games with the game winning goal. Tyler Murovich added an empty netter with less than a minute to go. Gladiators goaltender Jeff Jakatis made 27 saves, notching his fourth win of the season.
Toledo got their revenge, however, the following Saturday when they beat the Gladiators 5-4 in a shootout. The Walleye were again first on the board and maintained the upper hand through the entire game. Gallivan scored two goals, and Haddad kept his point streak alive as the Gladiators scrambled to keep up with the Walleye. Miller scored late in the third tying it up, and the Gladiators managed to survive until the shootout. Cheverie made 21 saves.
The Gladiators finished their road trip with a wild 3-2 shootout victory over the Chicago Express. Ryley Grantham scored his first goal as a Gladiator late in the first period after firing up the crowd in a lengthy scrap with Express forward Bobby Ryans. The Express regained the lead with a pair of back-to-back power play goals. Not surprising anyone, Haddad made it a seven game point streak when he tied the game 2-2 and forced overtime. Somehow the Glads survived overtime despite being outshot 8-1, and the game carried over to a five-round shootout with goaltender Jakatis turning away all of the Express shooters.
Goaltender Marc Cheverie was called up on Tuesday, Nov. 15th to Phoenix’s AHL affiliate the Portland Pirates. He has posted a 2.47 GAA and a .916 SV% in seven games with the Gladiators, earning a 2-1-4 record.
To date, forward Scott Fleming has still only played six games for Gwinnett, and his record remains the same.
In 14 games played, the Gladiators are 7-3-2-2 with 18 points, and are 1st in the ECHL Eastern Conference.
Goaltender Jeff Jakatis was also called up on Tuesday Nov. 15th to Gwinnett’s other AHL affiliate the Rochester Americans.
Continuing the trend, forward Mike Bartlett was called up to the Binghamton Senators of the AHL.
The Gladiators traded with the Reading Royals on Thursday, November 10th for Dave Strathman. Last season Strathman earned 41 points (13 goals, 28 assists) in 66 games with the Allen Americans of the Central Hockey League.
The Gladiators return home this Friday to face division rival the South Carolina Stingrays for the first time this season.