WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 22 at 7:00 PM
WHERE: Gas South Arena – Duluth, Ga.
WHO: Atlanta Gladiators vs Florida Everblades
GIVEAWAY: First 1500 fans receive a free 20th anniversary puck
DULUTH, Ga. - The Gladiators face the defending Kelly Cup Champion Florida Everblades for the second time in as many days tonight at Gas South Arena. Atlanta started the season on the right foot last night with four straight goals to open the action.
Scouting the Everblades: The Everblades bring back three of their top seven scorers from last season’s Cup-winning team. Robert Carpenter missed the entire postseason due to injury in 2022 and skated in only 19 games with Florida last year. The fourth year pro already has one goal through his first game with the Blades after a second-period tally last night. Florida rolled out both of its AHL-contracted goaltenders last night against Atlanta. Both Cam Johnson and Evan Fitzpatrick turned in stellar regular seasons in 2021-22 with Florida and Greenville respectively.
Milestone Watch: Glads forward Mike Pelech has an opportunity to make ECHL history this season. Pelech needs to play in 46 games to pass Sam Ftorek’s and take first place in all-time ECHL games played. Ftorek currently leads the category with 859 all-time ECHL games while Pelech sits in second with ECHL 814 appearances. The veteran also has a chance to jump into second place in all-time ECHL assists if he can record 38 helpers to pass Chris Valicevic at 460. After two assists on Opening Night, Pelech has amassed 619 points (192G-427A) in 849 professional games.
New Faces: Along with the many returning players, Atlanta’s Opening Night roster features several new faces that will have a chance to make an immediate impact. Brandon Schultz put together an impressive rookie campaign last season to the tune of 25 points (12G-13A) in 45 games with the Toledo Walleye. Rookie defenseman Dylan Carabia dominated the SPHL from the blue line last season with the Pensacola Ice Flyers and racked up 39 points (8G-31A) in 55 games. Goaltender Alex Sakellaropolous started 30 games for the Adirondack Thunder last season and has appeared in 97 professional contests.
New Owners, New Era: On Tuesday, Alex Campbell and Anson Carter were announced as the new Gladiators ownership group. Campbell takes over with an extensive business background, highlighted by his ownership of Capital Staffing Solutions, one of the fastest growing staffing agencies in the country. Carter, a regular on TNT’s coverage of the NHL, skated 11 seasons at hockey’s highest level with eight teams.