Turning it on during the #TeddyBearToss - the Glads trounce the Admirals 7-0

Coming off a 3-2 win over the Utah Grizzlies and just 6 points out of a playoff spot (click HERE for the game recap), the beginning of February means the beginning of an intense push for the post-season. The Atlanta Gladiators (18-23-1-1) are 2-1 this season against the visiting Norfolk Admirals (12-28-5-0) as they enter tonight's matchup (February 1, 2020).

The Glads' Eric Neiley (13 goals/23 assists/36 points), Sam Asselin (18 goals/16 assists/34 points), Tommy Marchin (16 goals/17 assists/33 points), and 301 career goals scorer Derek Nesbitt (9 goals/17 assists/26 points) look to pace the team's offense. Josh Holmstrom (8 goals/18 assists/26 points), Roman Ammirato (6 goals/17 assists/23 points), and J.C. Campagna (9 goals/12 assists/21 points) plan on leading the Admirals' offense.

And with the added energy provided by the annual Teddy Bear Toss (where all fans are asked to bring teddy bears or other stuffed animals and toss them on the ice when the Gladiators score their first goal), this is a big way to open the month.

Pre-game (Norfolk Admirals vs Atlanta Gladiators)

Thomas Frazee, whose efforts helped the Glads' in their win on January 29, 2020 (click HERE for the game recap), takes time to speak with us prior to the game. He shares some insight on his hockey journey, including his individual and team growth, positive takeaways from their previous game, the Teddy Bear Toss, and some lessons learned to share with players of all levels.

Game recap (Norfolk Admirals vs Atlanta Gladiators)

The 1st period features a near altercation between the teams in front of the Admirals' goalie and a breakaway opportunity for the Glads that is thwarted by goaltender Michael McNiven. In fact, it's his play that keeps the Glads off the scoreboard, an impressive array of glove and kick saves, including a number that are at point-blank range.

Even though they have a 13 to 1 shots on goal advantage, the score is deadlocked 0-0.

At the opening of the 2nd period, the Glads' finally break into the scoring column as Scott Conway's 13th goal of the season (44 seconds into the 2nd period) gets past McNiven to take a 1-0 lead (assisted by Tommy Marchin, his 18th of the season).

Since it's the first Glads' goal of the game, the nearly 11,000 fans in attendance are finally able to "make it rain" as the teddy bears and stuffed animals make their way to the ice for the #TeddyBearToss (all of the animals collected are donated to local police and fire departments, along with other community organizations).

Once play resumes, things get chippy between the teams, and at the 5:54 mark, a fight beaks out. Penalties handed out to the Admirals include a 5 minute major and game misconduct/aggressor penalty on Ben Holmstrom and a roughing minor on Austin McEneny; the Glads' Sam Asselin (roughing minor) and Tommy Marchin (double minor for roughing) are penalized as well. This sews the seeds for a power play opportunity for Norfolk, but gritty play by the Glads leads to Derek Nesbitt's shorthanded goal (his 10th goal of the year, assisted by Zach Malatesta), giving them a 2-0 lead at the 9:39 mark.

The offensive push continues as at the 12:13 mark, Nesbitt adds his 2nd goal of the game (his 11th of the season), assisted by Eric Neiley (his 24th assist of the season) and Thomas Frazee (his 4th assist of the season), making it a 3-0 game. A brilliant breakaway goal at the 15:34 mark by Sam Asselin (his 19th of the year), with assists by Conway (his 10th of the season) and Reid Jackman (his 3rd of the year) makes it a 4-0 game. And at the 16:33 mark, the Glads' offensive explosion continues; Neiley's 14th goal of the season (assisted by Alexey Solovyev, his 11th, and Frazee's 5th), pushing the lead to a 5-goal margin (5-0).

At the 6:59 mark of the 3rd period, Atlanta gets back in the scoring column thanks an unassisted goal by Reid Jackman (his 1st goal with the Glads), making it a 6-0 game. And at the

15:21 mark, the Glads continue to pour it on, as Solovyev scores (his 3rd goal of the year) with an assist by Asselin (his 17th of the season), to make it a 7-0 game.

Post-game (Norfolk Admirals vs Atlanta Gladiators)

Winning goalie Callum Booth (who is one of the players of the game) takes a few moments to speak with us. He notes the team's great play on both ends of the ice (offense and defense), as well as their focus on building on their 2-game winning streak and chase for a playoff spot.

Writer's notes: Photo credit to some (6) photos to EmoryRose Photography (check out the notes in the photo album for details).

The team's next home game is February 11, 2020 at 10:35am against the Florida Everglades. This is one of their promotional games, the Education Day Game. There are activities for kids ranging from the Fernbank Science Center, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, the Chidren's Museum of Atlanta, and the Georgia Aquarium.

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