Game 8: Elmira Jackals (2-4-1-0) at Atlanta Gladiators (4-3-1-1)
7:35 p.m., Infinite Energy Arena, Duluth, Georgia
The Jackals play the middle game of their three-game trip down south with a visit to the Atlanta Gladiators tonight. It's the first trip to Atlanta for the Jackals since the 2014-15 season, when the teams split two games in January. Friday will be the only regular-season match between the clubs this season.
The Gladiators have played nine games this season, tied for the most in the league with Cincinnati. This is the first game of a two-game week for the Gladiators, who host the Orlando Solar Bears tomorrow at the Infinite Energy Arena.
The Jackals lost their third straight game last night, falling in overtime, 2-1, to the South Carolina Stingrays last night in South Carolina. They lost the last two games last week against the Adirondack Thunder and are 2-4-1-0 this season.The Jackals will wrap up their trip Sunday afternoon with a rematch against the Stingrays.
Jackals Pregame at 7:20 p.m. Radio:1410 WELM | TV: WETM-2
Last time out
Kelly Zajac scored 3:04 into overtime and the South Carolina Stingrays defeated the Elmira Jackals, 2-1, last night at the North Charleston Coliseum.
The Jackals got off to a quick start, grabbing a 1-0 lead on the road just 3:37 into the game. Daultan Leveille sent a pass to Colin Murray to spring a 2-on-1 with Sebastien Sylvestre. Murray set up Sylvestre in the slot and after Parker Milner made the initial save, Murray swept in the rebound for a 1-0 lead. The Jackals held the lead throughout the rest of the first, until Steve McParland scored as the period ended. The officials discussed it, but determined that it was a good goal, tying the game 1-1 after the first period.
After two scoreless periods, the game went to overtime still tied 1-1. Both teams traded chances, but it was Zajac, stripping the puck from a Jackal in the slot, who went in on goal against John Muse and lifted a shot just under the crossbar to send the Stingrays to the 2-1 win.
Scouting the Gladiators
The Gladiators lead the league with nine games played after three weeks and they have a 4-3-1-1 record. With 10 points, Atlanta is first in the South Division and second in the Eastern Conference, although every team in the conference, except Cincinnati, has at least one game in hand on the Glads.
Atlanta ranks sixth in the ECHL in scoring, averaging 3.78 goals per game. They boosted that number with an 8-2 win over Orlando Saturday night, matching the most goals scored in a game in the league this season. Brock Higgs leads the Gladiators in scoring with 10 points (2g, 8a) in nine games while Derek Nesbitt is second with nine points (5g, 4a).
Four players have seen time in net for the Gladiators thus far, but Matt Ginn leads the way with five appearances. In those games, he is 2-2-1 with a 2.99 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage. In four games this season an Atlanta goalie has made more than 40 saves and the Glads record is 3-0-1-0 in those games.
Tonight is the only match head-to-head between the Jackals and Gladiators this season. It is the first time they've met since the 2014-15 season when the Jackals earned a split in two games on the road.
In those two games, the Glads won the first, 4-0, Jan. 2 and then the Jackals responded with a 2-1 win the next night. Over the last five seasons, the Gladiators lead the head-to-head series with four wins in six games.
The Gladiators power play went 2-for-7 Saturday against Orlando and they are now 8-for-35 (22.9%) on the season, which ranks fifth in the ECHL. Their eight power-play goals are tied for the most in the ECHL with Reading. They have power-play goals in four of their last five games, including four goals over their last two games.
The Jackals power play went 0-for-2 last night, being held off the score sheet with the man advantage for the second straight game and the third time in seven games this year. They are now 5-for-25 (20.0%) with the man advantage, ranking 10th in the league.
The Glads penalty kill has allowed goals in six of the nine games played this season, including three goals in 11 shorthanded situations over the last two games. Overall, Atlanta ranks 18th in the ECHL 32-for-39 (82.1%) on the penalty kill.
The Jackals penalty kill was 3-for-3 in last night's overtime loss to the Stingrays, moving to 16-for-21 (76.2%) on the penalty kill. That ranks 26th in the ECHL, only ahead of Reading (65.5%). Their penalty kill is significantly better on the road than at home. Away from First Arena, the Jackals PK is 11-for-13 (84.6%).