The Gwinnett Gladiators will open their 2013-14 road schedule with a weekend set in Orlando against the Solar Bears after dropping the first two games of the new campaign last Friday and Saturday to the Greenville Road Warriors at The Arena at Gwinnett Center. Gwinnett dropped the first game to Greenville by a 5-3 count, and then lost the second, 3-1.
Glads Brenden Walker, Jonathan Narbonne and Kurtis Bartliff all found the back of the net for the first time as pros in the opening weekend of ECHL action. Seven different Gladiators tallied assists in the two-game set. Jeremie Malouin, Justin Weller, Keven Vellieux, Evan Bloodoff, Josh Currie, Philippe Halley, and Martin Lefebvre all picked up their first points of the season.
Goalie Louis Domingue blocked 26 shots in Friday’s loss, and then Chris Rawlings stopped 30 of 33 shots in his first pro start in almost seven months, and only his third ECHL start ever, in Saturday’s loss.
Orlando opened their season with a home and home set against in-state rival Florida last weekend and also lost both of their games, 4-1 and 4-2.
-For the third year in a row the Gladiators are affiliated with the Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League. Gwinnett started the season with six Coyotes prospects on the roster: forwards Josh Currie, Keven Veilleux, and Brenden Walker, along with defenseman Justin Weller and goaltenders Louis Domingue and Chris Rawlings.
- Seven of the players on the opening day roster this season also spent time with Gwinnett last season. Forwards Evan Bloodoff (52 GMS - 20 G/18 A), Joey Haddad (33 - 19/14), and Alex Belzile (40 - 10/20), along with defensemen Justin Weller (65 - 2/9) and Brad Nunn (9 - 0/1), and goaltender Louis Domingue (23-9-2, 2.69 GAA, .904 Sav%) are returning.
- The Glads will be balancing the experience of the returning players with the addition of twelve rookies who will be experiencing a full season of professional hockey for the first time. Forwards Josh Currie, Pillipe Halley, Martin Lefebvre, Jeremie Malouin, and defenseman Jonathan Narbonne spent last season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, while Brendan Walker was on the other side of Canada in the Western Hockey League. C.J. Lee, Kurtis Bartliff and Devon Krogh all finished up their senior year of college before joining the Glads in the offseason. Defensemen Nathan Martine and Brad Nunn, and goaltender Chris Rawlings each did short stints in the ECHL at the end of the 2012-13 season.
- Veteran Dirk Southern is just seven games away from 200 games played in the ECHL. The current and former (2008-09) Gladiator sits at 39 goals and 84 assists … Newly acquired forward Maxime Legault is four games away from his 200th professional match. The Mont-Tremblant, Quebec native has played the majority of his career in the American Hockey League with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, where he racked up 31 goals and 28 assists.
The Gladiators are members of the ECHL, the Premier "AA" Hockey League and are affiliated with the Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL. All home games are played at the 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.
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