After splitting their opening series with Toledo on home ice, the Gladiators traveled to the Allen Event Center in Allen, TX for the team’s first ever matchup with the Allen Americans. Boston prospect Dan Vladar got his first start in net with the Glads, making 31 saves en route to a 3-2 Atlanta victory.
Atlanta opened the scoring for the third straight game after Colin Jacobs netted his third goal in as many games. With 10:01 remaining in the opening period, the Texas native playing just 20 minutes from his hometown, was able to tap in a rebound in front of the net of the net following a shot from Bryan Cameron. The Gladiators Alternate Captain tallied his first helper with the team on the play, while Derek Nesbitt notched his second assist of the season.
The Gladiators were able to double their lead to 2-0 only 4:27 into the second period. Colin Jacobs stole the puck off the stick of Tanner Eberle at his offensive blue line, and skated into the zone on a two-on-one. The fourth year pro then sent the puck over to Miles Koules who ripped a shot past Allen goaltender Jamie Murray from the right circle. The tally was Koules’ first goal of the year in his Gladiators debut, while Jacobs was credited with his second point of the night after picking up the lone assist.
Eric Neiley put the Gladiators up 3-0 with 11:06 remaining in the contest. The Dartmouth product scored his first of the year after sliding the puck into the wide open net from the net mouth. Josh Atkinson threaded the needle with a pass through a bevy of bodies in the slot to find Neiley behind the play for his third helper of the year. Koules also picked up his second point of the game with the secondary assist.
Allen was able to cut the lead to two and finally find the back of the net with 6:44 remaining. Dyson Stevenson put in his first of the season on a shot that trickled through a screened Dan Vladar. The play was assisted by Eric Roy and J.P. LaFontaine, and cut the score to 3-1.
The Americans then brought the game to within one after the puck took an odd bounce off the glass behind the Atlanta net. Greger Hanson was the Allen player who received the puck in front the goal, and he shot it in for his second goal of the year with 1:47 remaining. Chad Costello and Chris Crane both tallied an assist on the goal that made it 3-2.
Despite the strong finish by the Americans, Atlanta was able to hang on for the victory. With the road win against the defending back-to-back ECHL champions, Atlanta improves to 2-1-0-0 on the young season giving them 4 points and placing them in a tie for first in the South division. Meanwhile, Allen drops their first game of the year and stand at 2-1-0-0 with 4 points.