ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND - The Atlanta Gladiators could not overcome the scoring prowess of the defending Kelly Cup champions as they fell 5-3 to the Newfoundland Growlers in Canada on Friday evening. ECHL Player of the Week Sam Asselin continued his scoring ways with the opening tally, but Atlanta ultimately dropped their fourth contest of the season.
After a defensive start to the game, it was the veteran pair F Eric Neiliey and F Derek Nesbitt that assisted the rookie Asselin with the opening goal. The Glads took the 1-0 lead with 8:39 to play in the first period. Despite the great effort in net from G Sean Bonar, the Growlers would not be held down. In the final four minutes of the opening frame, Newfoundland tallied two goals from Scott Pooley and Zach O'Brien to take a 2-1 lead into the first break.
The Gladiators wasted no time eating into that deficit in the middle period. D Joel Messner and D Cody Corbett, in his first game after returning from his time in the AHL, assisted F Luke Nogard on the second Atlanta goal of the night just :28 seconds into the second period, tying the game at two. Unfortunately, that is as close as they would get to retaking the lead. The Growlers equalled the score just :50 seconds later to reclaim their advantage, and went on to tally the next two over the following 30 minutes of play.
Atlanta got a goal back in the final minute of the game, courtesy of D Josh Thrower, but the Glads fell in their first contest in Newfoundland. The Gladiators square off with these same Growlers Saturday evening, with puck drop set for 5:30 PM ET.
The Gladiators return to Infinite Energy Arena on Saturday, November 16th for Heroes Night. The team will be honoring active duty military, law enforcement, fire & rescue, and first responders, as well as hosting a charity game at 2:30 between the club hockey teams of Fort Benning (GA) and Fort Bragg (NC). $5 of every doubleheader ticket will be donated to the Veterans Empowerment Organization. Gladiators puck drop against the Florida Everblades is set for 7:05 PM.