Glads and Blades Collide for Second Time this Weekend
ESTERO, Fla. - The Atlanta Gladiators (20-14-2-1) wrap up a weekend set against the Florida Everblades (19-11-3-3) tonight in the 10th meeting of the season between the two clubs. The Glads have won their last four games and are 5-4-0-0 against the Everblades this season, including wins in the last three encounters.
Scouting the Everblades
Florida features some of the league's best offensive talent, including Blake Winiecki who leads the ECHL with 42 points (18G-24A). Winiecki is tied with his teammate Alex Aleardi for the league lead in goals with 17. Captain John McCarron, who recently took over the franchise lead for all-time Everblades points, ranks fifth in the ECHL with 36 points (16G-20A) and is tied for the second highest goal total in the league with 16. Aleardi (17G-17A) and Joe Pendenza (14G-20A) also rank in the top 10 in ECHL scoring. The Everblades have lost their last three games but still rank second in the South Division based on points percentage.
Last Time Out/Last Meeting
The Gladiators topped the Everblades 5-3 on Friday night at Hertz Arena. Atlanta withstood 51 penalty minutes, including 34 in the second period alone, and scored three third-period goals to earn their 20th win of the season. Derek Nesbitt scored two goals, including the 200th ECHL tally of his career that also served as the game-winning goal, to lead Atlanta to victory.
The French Invasion
Rookie defenseman Xavier Bernard and forward Hugo Roy returned to the Gladiators after spending time with the Belleville Senators in the American Hockey League. Bernard appeared in 17 games with the B-Sens this season and recorded two assists. Roy has been called up to the AHL twice this season and has appeared in six games with Belleville. Roy led Atlanta with 12 goals at the time of his most recent call-up.
The Gladiators have the second most shorthanded goals in the ECHL with 13 on the season. 11 of those shorties have come on home ice. Cody Sylvester leads the league with seven shorthanded points (3G-4A), and Mike Pelech ranks second (2G-4A).
Goaltender Tyler Parks has loomed large in net all season for Atlanta. The 6-foot-6 netminder ranks second in the ECHL with a 2.14 goals-against average, second in the league with a .931 save percentage, and he leads all ECHL goaltenders with 16 wins this season. On Jan. 14 against Jacksonville, Parks tied a season high with 42 saves on 43 shots. The 29-year-old has also played the second most minutes of anyone in the ECHL at 1376.
Rookie forward Mitchell Hoelscher scored a goal on Jan. 21 against Florida and now has nine points (3G-6A) in his first five Gladiators games, including back-to-back games with three helpers. The 21-year-old was loaned to Atlanta from the Belleville Senators on Jan. 12 and made his ECHL debut that same night against Cincinnati. In the second period, Hoelscher netted his first professional goal. The Waterloo, Ontario native appeared in two games this season with Belleville before sustaining an injury. Hoelscher played in seven games last season with the B-Sens and recorded one assist. The 6-foot, 176-pound forward was selected by the New Jersey Devils in the sixth round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 22 at 7:00 PM ET
WHERE: Hertz Arena - Estero, Fla.
WHO: Atlanta Gladiators at Florida Everblades
BROADCAST: All Atlanta Gladiators games are broadcast live on the Gladiators Broadcast Network. Listen to the game online at Mixlr.com, or watch the game on FloHockey.TV.
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