Opening up the new season at home for the first time in a few years, the Gladiators sent the crowd home happy Friday Night with a 4-1 victory. The Glads started off the 2016-17 season with a bang as they earned the game’s first goal 8:28 in the opening period. Atlanta newcomer, Colin Jacobs took advantage of a Toledo turnover and sent a wrist shot into the back of the net for his first goal with Atlanta from the high slot. The unassisted mark by the former Buffalo Sabres draft pick gave the Gladiators the early 1-0 lead.
Atlanta increased their advantage when Bryan Cameron scored a breakaway goal that gave him his first tally with Atlanta. The Brampton, ON native received a seam pass from Gladiators Captain Derek Nesbitt and made no mistake on the rush. Rookie defenseman, Josh Atkinson collected the secondary assist on the play that sent the teams to the first intermission with the Gladiators leading 2-0.
Toledo struck quickly to start the second period as Alden Hirschfeld placed a one-time wrist shot in past the left shoulder of Matt Ginn, the Atlanta starting goalie, 27 seconds into the frame. The lone assist was credited to A.J. Jenks who found a wide-open Hirschfeld in the slot. The Dallas, TX native’s first marker of the year cut the Atlanta lead to one.
The Gladiators’ leading scorer from last season then picked up right where he left off in 2015-16. Nesbitt potted his first tally of the year at the 7:03 mark of the middle period after he picked up a rebound of his own shot and beat Walleye netminder Jake Paterson. Wisconsin native Blake Kessel notched his first point as a Gladiators with the primary helper.
Atlanta would add one final tally in the 3rd period to solidify their win, courtesy of Tyler Murovich. Cashing in on a tic-tac-toe play with Justin Buzzeo and Josh Atkinson, the Pittsburgh, PA native buried a one-timer past Paterson and into the back of the net. Ginn, named Number One Star of the game, would go on to make 44 saves in the win.