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Maximus Hockey: Gladiators on an Unpredictable Ride So Far

<em>Marc Cheverie makes a save; photo by Stefan Seville</em>
Marc Cheverie makes a save; photo by Stefan Seville

Hey, this is Ally here checking in with the first of many weekly reports on the Gwinnett Gladiators, Phoenix’s ECHL affiliate in the Peach State. A big thank you to the boys at Five for Howling for bringing me on board. Now let’s get y’all caught up on the season so far! I promise this will be shorter next week.

Week Season So Far in Review

The Gwinnett Gladiators have had a roller coaster of a season so far after opening on the road in back-to-back games against the Florida Everblades. They fell 3-2 in the first game, but pulled through with a hard-fought 2-1 victory in the second game after an eleven round shootout.

The Glads returned to Duluth on Friday, October 21st for their home opener where they blasted the Greenville Road Warriors 6-1 in front of a large, rowdy crowd. It was everybody scores night with all six goals posted by five separate players. Goaltender Marc Cheverie blocked 36 of 37 shots on goal in his first win with the Glads.

Unfortunately, the Gladiators turned around and fell 4-2 in the following night’s rematch. The night wasn’t a complete failure, though, as Scott Fleming posted his first goal of the season. On a special note, October 22nd was Hockey Heritage Night at Gwinnett Arena. The team celebrated Atlanta’s hockey history, honoring the Atlanta Flames, Knights and Thrashers, with several former Flames in attendance.

Then it was back on the road for nearly two weeks, snagging a 4-2 win against the Trenton Titans on October 26. Fleming netted his second and third goals of the season, proving invaluable to the Gladiators’ victory. Two nights later the team fell to the Wheeling Nailers 3-2 in overtime. They were back on top October 30th with Jeff Jakaitis posting a 2-0 shutout against the Reading Royals.

This past Tuesday the Gladiators came back for the first of three home games, barely coming through with a 3-2 win against the Everblades only to lose 3-2 in a shootout to Reading on Saturday

Gwinnett had what looked like a sure win on Sunday against the Toledo Walleye when they were leading 2-0 early in the 3rd period with Brad Miller and Shane Sims on the power play respectively. But it all fell apart in that last period when Toledo posted their first goal at 8:47 and opened the floodgates, scoring three more in quick succession to take a 4-2 lead. The Gladiators couldn’t rally their efforts and the game finished out 5-2 on a Walleye empty netter. A continuing theme of the Gladiators’ losses is being out-shot,  and this game was no different with the team posting 36 shots to Toledo’s 45. Cheverie was benched and Fleming did not dress for this game.

Pup Report

Goaltender Marc Cheverie has gone 2-1-1-1 in five games with a 2.1407 GAA and 0.933 SV%

Forward Scott Fleming has scored 3 goals and posted 1 assist, totaling 4 points in six games.

Battle Scars

After ten games played, the Gladiators are 5-3-1-1 with 12 points and are 4th in the ECHL Eastern Conference.

They start a Northern road trip in Elmira tonight followed by games in Toledo and Chicago before they return home on Friday, Nov 18 to face division rival South Carolina.

The Gladiators are selling t-shirts emblazoned with "Not moving to Canada," which you might find as funny as I do.

Personal Notes

I’ll leave off with some shameless self-promotion that has a purpose: you can read an interview I did during the off-season with Gladiators owner and general manager Steve Chapman here.

If there’s any specific news you want to read about the Phoenix prospects or the team in general, post in the comments and I’ll do my best to make it happen.