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Maximus Hockey - December 16, 2011 - Glads Stay on Top Despite Losing Streak

photo by Stefan Seville
photo by Stefan Seville

Once again technical difficulties mean I'm bringing this to you late. The Gladiators have been on a skid, winning only two out of their last seven games, all which have been against division rivals.

They started off on the road well enough with a decisive 6-3 victory over the Florida Everblades on Wednesday, Nov. 30th. The team scored 4 goals in the third period, including an empty-netter by Bryan Brutlag. Nikita Kashirsky, Andy Brandt and Shane Sims led points-fest with a goal and an assist each. The game was also marked by rough play that resulted in game misconducts to Gwinnett's Joey Haddad and Chris Clackson. Haddad also notched his ninth goal of the season. Marc Cheverie got his third win with 28 saves. But it all went down hill after that game.

Gwinnett lost two in a row to the Everblades, both games going to overtime and ending in a 4-3 final score. Friday, Dec. 2nd saw the Glads battle back hard from a 3-0 deficit to force overtime, but they couldn't make it happen. It was a similar story on Saturday, Dec. 3rd. This time it was despite a hard-fought effort by the Gladiators that saw goals from Brandt, Colin Vock and Dave Strathman and 31 saves by Cheverie.

The Gladiators lost 3-1 in regulation on Thursday, Dec. 8th to the Greenville Road Warriors. Strathman netted the team's loan goal of the night in the second period and they headed into the third with the game tied, but the Road Warriors shot two past goaltender Jeff Jakaitis.

Gwinnett's 3-1 loss to the South Carolina Stingrays on Saturday, Dec. 10th was by far the most disappointing of the season as it happened in front of one of the largest crowds the Arena at Gwinnett Center has ever seen. A reported 9,059 fans turned out to support the Gladiators. Clackson scored the loan goal on a rebound in the first, putting it in behind South Carolin's Philipp Grubauer before the goaltender knew it was there. The Stingrays answered with 3 back-to-back goals in the same period. Neither team would find the back of the net again for the rest of the game. The two teams met again the following Sunday with similar results. But the Gladiators were able to carry it all the way to a shootout before falling 3-2.

A five game losing streak was finally broken on Thursday, Dec. 15th with a 4-2 victory over the Everblades on Gwinnett home ice. In a rare turn of events, the Glads outshot their opponent 37-30, with Jakaitis stopping 28 shots. Tyler Murovich but the Glads on the board first, followed by none other than the team's resident score master Haddad. Defenseman Cody Brookwell scored his first of the season and Clackson notched his third.

Pup Report

Goaltender Marc Cheverie has been struggling this season with only 3 wins in 12 games. He currently has 2 regulation losses, 5 overtime losses, and 2 shootout losses. He has a 2.9927 GAA and a 0.902 SV%.

Battle Scars

In 27 games played, the Gladiators are 11-8-5-3 with 30 points, and are 2nd in the ECHL Eastern Conference. They are currently 1st in the South Division despite a string of losses, but only by 1 point.

The Gladiators signed forward Aaron Bendickson on Thursday, Dec. 1st. Bendickson posted 26 points (8 goals, 18 assists) with the Glads last season. He was suspended by the team on January 14, 2011 in order to retain his ECHL player rights while he returned to the University of Wisconsin to complete his degree. In four years at Wisconsin, Bendickson earned 40 points in 147 collegiate games.

On Thursday, Dec. 8th goaltender Jeff Jakaitis was reassigned to Gwinnett after a stint with the Rochester Americans in the AHL. Jakaitis did not appear in any games while assigned to Rochester.

Continuing the "news only happens on Thursday" theme, the Gladiators signed forward Igor Gongalsky on Dec. 15th. Gongalsky began the season with the Portland Pirates of the AHL where he posted one point, an assist, in 13 games.