The Atlanta Gladiators get it done: their 4th game in 4 games results in a 4-3 win
Pre-game: Indy Fuel (6-6 overall, T-4 in ECHL Central) vs Atlanta Gladiators (5-7 overall, T-4 in ECHL South)
It's late fall easing into winter. It's time for ice hockey.
The Atlanta Gladiators (an affiliate of the Boston Bruins) are in a rare time of the year, as this is their 4th game in 4 games. While fatigue may play a part in today's game against the Indy Fuel (an affiliate of the Chicago Black Hawks), it's still about being as prepared as possible, along with executing on as high a level as possible so the team can keep pace in the East Coast Hockey League race (division and overall).
The team's offense is 5th overall in scoring (3.83 goals per game) while the Fuel's defense is surrendering slightly less than 3 goals per game (2.92), 6th overall in the conference. Key contributors for the Glads include (but are not limited to) Dante Hannoun (5 points in his last 4 games - 1 goal and 4 assists), Eric Neiley (with points in 6 of his past 8 games), and our pre-game interview Luke Nogard (with 3 goals and 3 assists this season). He notes his individual and team growth, areas of emphasis for today's game, and insight for players of all levels.
Game Action (Indy Fuel vs Atlanta Gladiators)
Indy takes an early 1-0 lead at the 5:34 mark thanks to Graham Knott (5th goal of the season, assisted by Joe Sullivan and Karl El-Mir. However, despite three skirmishes resulting in some penalties and a 4 on 4 for both teams (interference on the goalkeeper by Indy's Liam Coughlin at the and roughing by Atlanta's goalie Sean Bonar at the 6:17 mark, roughing by Indy's Jack Ramsey, along with penalties by Atlanta Zack Malatesta [unsportsmanlike conduct] and Josh Thrower for roughing), the Glads get back into the contest.
And in a hurry and 2-minute flurry.
Thanks to goals by Zack Malatesa (his 4th of the season at the 13:46 mark, assisted by Cody Corbett and Chris Forney) and Tommy Marchin (his 6th of the season at the 15:53 mark, assisted by Zack Malatesa), the team takes control of the period, resulting in a 2-1 advantage. Despite a slight advantage by Indy (14-12 shots on goal), Atlanta is gradually taking control of the game.
At the start of the 2nd period, the Glads build upon their play at the end of the 1st period.
At the 6:58 mark of the period, Avery Peterson notches his 1st goal of the season (assisted by Anthony Collins), pushing the lead to 3-1. However, Indy finally halts the Glads' push, and starts to get back into the game. At the 10:46 mark, an unassisted goal by Dylan McLaughlin cuts into the Glads' lead (3-2). The Glads have a penalty shot opportunity at the 19:23 mark to build on their lead, but Tommy Marchin's shot, while beating the goalie stick-side ricochets off the upper left-hand crossbar.
This "break" gives the Fury an opportunity to get back in the game. They capitalize on their power-play opportunity early in the 3rd period thanks to Matthew Thompson's 5th goal of the season (at the 0:19 mark of the 3rd period, assisted by McLaughlin and Spencer Watson), tying the game at 3 apiece, generating an unanswered 2-goal scoring run of their own.
However, at the 9:08 mark of the 3rd period, the Glads cash in on their power-play opportunity, thanks to ,Joel Messner's 3rd goal of the season (assisted by Derek Nesbitt),making it a 4-3 advantage. Steady play by the team's defense and goaltender Sean Bonar (34 saves - 3 goals allowed) are the difference to preserving the lead and win, even when Indy pulls their goalie for an extra man/skater in the last 2 minutes of the period/game and despite a 37-29 advantage in shots on goal.
Messner (1 goal) and Malatesa (1 goal and 1 assist) are the stars of the game for Atlanta. McLaughlin's effort (1 goal and 1 assist) is the star of the game for Indy.
Tommy Marchin (1 goal) joins us for our post-game interview. While noting the daunting task of 4 games in 4 days (as the team goes 2-2 during this span), he notes how their ability to execute among other factors put them in a position to compete and win their game.
The next game for the Gladiators is November 22nd at the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (after a well-deserved 5 day break); their next home game is November 23rd as they host the Jacksonville Icemen.
Additional notes: to keep track of the team, visit their website atlantagladiators.com for upcoming games, theme nights, social media, roster alerts, and more.
Check out our interview during the intermission between the 2nd and 3rd period (click HERE to watch/listen).