DULUTH, GA – The Atlanta Gladiators fell 5-2 to the Utah Grizzlies Tuesday evening in their first game at Infinite Energy Arena since the ECHL All-Star break. F Griffen Molino tallied a three-point night for Utah, while D Zach Malatesta earned a goal and an assist in the defeat.
The game showcased two differing styles of offense: Atlanta’s dump-and-chase, physical game and Utah’s smaller, faster game stretching the entire 200 feet of ice. After a quick start in the offensive zone, the Gladiators gave way to the Grizzlies’ pace of play. G Callum Booth, making his second start for Atlanta this season, was sharp in stopping a shower of Utah shots on goal early on. Atlanta’s struggling power play proved to be a strength on this night, as that is where F Avery Peterson and D Chris Forney found Malatesta at the blue line before the Boston, MA native ripped his fifth goal of the season beyond Utah G Mason McDonald.
After the first intermission, the visiting Grizzlies began to roar. F Josh Dickinson netted his 12th tally of the campaign on a short-handed breakaway 6:33 into the middle frame. The Grizzlies came into the game tied for 4th in the league in short-handed goals scored with eight. Utah grabbed their first lead on the man-advantage, when Molino and F Tim McGauley assisted F Mitch Maxwell on his sixth goal of the year. Malatesta and All-Star F Tommy Marchin helped Avery Peterson shuffle a puck beyond McDonald on a power play of their own to tie the game at two. Molino would not relent, however, as he and McGauley teamed up to regain the Grizzlie lead with :13 to play in the second period.
As they did on every score prior, the Grizzlies snagged a fourth goal on the power play just 3:32 into the final frame. Molino and McGauley teamed up once again, this time assisting F Tyler Richart on his 11th score of the season. Atlanta could not generate enough of offense in the third period to mount a comeback, eventually allowing a last-second, empty-net goal to F Ty Lewis to seal the 5-2 loss.
The Gladiators return to action Wednesday evening when they host these same Utah Grizzlies at 7:05 PM. Fans are encouraged to get tickets to the final “Glads Win, You Win” of the season now!