The Gwinnett Gladiators lost 4-2 Saturday night in the second of a two-game set with the Greenville Road Warriors in front of a home crowd of 6,716 at the Arena at Gwinnett. The teams split the set with each team coming away with a win and a loss. The Glads opened the season with a 1-1 split on the road against the Florida Everglades while the Road Warriors lost back to back road games against Wheeling (6-1) and Reading (3-2).
The 6-1 loss the Road Warriors (1-3-0-0/2 pts.) suffered at the hands of the Glads (2-2-0-0/4 pts.) the night before seemed to raise the intensity level of the visiting team. This was the fourth consecutive road game to open the season for Greenville and the Warriors were 0-3 coming in to the match-up.
The first goal of the night came at 8:14 of the opening period when Greenville defensemen Cullen Eddy fired a slap-shot past Glad net minder Jeff Jakaitis to put Greenville up 1-0. Then with just seconds left in the period, defensemen Wes Cunningham netted the Road Warriors second goal of the game giving Greenville a 2-0 lead at the first intermission.
The Gladiators opened the second period with renewed focus and cut the Greenville lead in half at 2:45 when forward Nikita Kashirsky scored after starting behind his own net and weaving his way through the defense. Brad Miller got the assist.
Rookie defensemen Corey Fienhage got an assist after his slap-shot from the point was tipped by Scott Fleming for the first goal of his pro career , tying the score 2-2.
Greenville regained the lead when Kale Kerbashian scored and the Road Warriors lead 3-2 at the end of the second period.
Greenville added another goal and held a 4-2 lead when Gwinnett pulled Jakaitis with 5:13 left in the third period to add an extra attacker. The Gladiators were unable to take advantage of the added attacker and the game ended with no additional scoring.
Greenville Road Warriors 4 Gwinnett Gladiators 2
Glad goalie Jeff Jakaitis played 54:47 and stopped 22-of-26 shots while his counter-part Nic Riopel played 60:00 and stopped 26-of-28 attempts in his second game for Greenville.
* Gwinnett again had poor results on power-plays, going 1-for-7. The Glads are 4-for-19 on power-play opportunities at this point in the young season.
ECHL Stars of the Game:
GRN – #4 Cullen Eddy
GRN – #8 Jeff Prough
GWT – #10 Scott Fleming
First year Gladiator Head Coach John Wroblewski post-game comments included:
“We didn’t match their intensity, that’s for sure.”
“Consistency is a mark of excellence. We failed that test tonight.”
“…we didn’t have a consistent enough delivery of the puck down to the net and we lacked timing all over the ice tonight.”
The Gladiators open a three-game road trip Wednesday taking on the Trenton Titans (1-3-0-0/2 pts.) then travel to Wheeling to face the team Coach Wroblewski was with last season.
ECHL League Standings
The Gwinnett Gladiators are members of the South Division of the ECHL (the Premier “AA” Hockey League) and have affiliation agreements for player placement and development with both the Phoenix Coyotes and the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League.
The Gladiators play home games at the 11,355 seat Arena at Gwinnett, located off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.
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