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Closing out in control: the Glads arguably play their most complete game of the season with a 4-0 win over the Jacksonville Icemen

Preview: Jacksonville Icemen (41-19-5-1, 88 points, 2nd place in the ECHL Eastern Conference) vs Atlanta Gladiators (20-42-3-1, 44 points, 14th place in the ECHL Eastern Conference)

Coming into tonight's ECHL matchup (April 3, 2024) between the Jacksonville Icemen and the Atlanta Gladiators at the Gas South District, both teams are playing for something as the end of the regular season draws closer.

The Icemen have clinched a playoff spot, but are only 1 point out of 1st place and having a stronger grip on home ice in the 1st round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Brendan Harris (19 goals, 40 assists, and 59 total points) and Christopher Brown (20 goals, 38 assists, and 58 points) are among the leaders on offense for Jacksonville as they look to inch closer to their playoff goals.

As for the Glads, leading scorers Jackson Pierson (16 goals, 25 assists, and 41 points) and Reece Vitelli (10 goals, 29 assists, and 39 points) look to thwart Jacksonville's efforts to improve their playoff positioning. With this game being the first of 3 consecutive games (April 3rd through 5th) to close out their home schedule for the regular season, they are looking to finish on a positive note and set the tone for a faster start for the 2024-25 season.

Prior to the game, Atlanta defenseman Jake Willets joins us for our pregame interview. He discusses areas of focus for the game along with ensuring a strong finish to the regular season (you may watch the full interview below):

Game recap: The Glads dominate a playoff-ready team in arguably their best played game of the season

Getting off to a fast start is something a number of Glads' players mention to us during our pregame interviews.

Tonight, they do so in a highly dominating fashion as at the 2:50 mark of the 1st period, Brendan Hoffman's 7th goal of the season gives them an early 1-0 lead (assists by Dylan Carabia and Navrin Mutter. Nearly 3 minutes later in the period (5:47), Luke Prokop would add a goal (his 5th, assisted by Jackson Pierson and Carson Gicewicz) to give them a 2-0 lead. Once Parker Aucoin adds to the scoring (his 4th goal, unassisted) at the 12:25 mark of the 1st period, Atlanta races out to a 3-0 lead.

Early in the 2nd period (1:23), Aucoin adds his 2nd goal of the game/5th of the season (assisted by Luke Prokop and Reece Vitelli) to give the Glads a commanding 4-0 lead.

Atlanta's outstanding mix of penalty killing (Jacksonville goes 0 for 4 on the power play) and top-notch goaltending by Gustavs Grigals (who stops all 24 shots faced in earning the shutout) preserves the win.

The Glads' head coach, Derek Nesbitt, provides keen insight on the season, but specifically, the evening's dominant performance (you may watch the full video below):

Likewise, Gustavs Grigals shares his perspective on the team's shutout victory (you may watch the full video below):

As the Glads look to their last 2 home games of the season (consecutive games against the Florida Everblades on April 4th at 7pm and the Fan Appreciation game on April 5th at 7:30pm), they are looking to close out the season in control and on a strong note.

Notes: All video and photos are recorded by CCSLLC (click HERE to visit their Instagram). You may watch the 2023-24 season playlist as well (click HERE to view).


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