The Blades started their homestand against one of their most hated rivals. The Gladiators, currently 5-3-1-1 in their last ten, are sitting in second place in the division. Games with Gwinnett are always physical affairs, and every so often something controversial happens. This game was no exception.
The Blades started the game dictating the play and being physical. Unfortunately, a momentary lapse, and taking their collective foot off the pedal allowed the Glads to take a 1-0 lead around 14 minutes into the period. Despite some chances, the Blades couldn't convert and the period ended with the score still 1-0.
The Blades were able to make a statement early in the second when Mike McKenzie got a beautiful shot past the Glads goalie to tie things up at the 3:30 mark (assist to Bruess). Unfortunately, a little over three minutes later, the Glads took the lead once again. About eight minutes later, forward Leigh Salters was hit by a nasty high stick that left him cut and bleeding onto the ice. The Glads player guilty of the high sticking received a double minor because of that. Just when it looked like the blades wouldn't be able to make anything happen, David Rutherford ripped one past the Glads goalie to tie things up 2-2 (assists to Roy and Pitt). That late period tally remained the final goal of the period and the teams left the ice with the score still at 2-2.
Unfortunately, the third period was far from pretty or ideal. The Glads were able to take the 3-2 lead early in the period while on the power play. They made it 4-2 about three minutes later. Things were starting to get pretty chippy, and it was obvious the good old nasty Glads were back. To prove that point, Joey Hadad, a player any Blades fan who had been watching for any decent length of time hates with a passion, delivered an elbow to the head of Kyle Lawson. He was thrown out of the game for that hit and, hockey gods willing, will be getting a nice big suspension and fine from the league for that. The Blades couldn't convert on the penalty. In fact, with goalie Pat Nagle pulled, the Blades gave up an empty net goal to make it 5-2. Shortly after that goal, Everyone's second most hated Glad, Chris Clackson attacked David Rutherford while his back was turned.
He was given a misconduct and thrown out of the game. Donald, Roy, and salter received penalties as well. I guess you shouldn't stick up for your teammate when he's unable to defend himself? I have no idea. The Blades were able to score on that power play to make it 5-3, but the Glads got another empty netter seconds later to make it 6-2.
The Game sheet is here.
The photos I took:
- It's a shame the Blades couldn't keep up their play from early in the game. They looked great.
- The Blades passing in that game was as rough looking as it was early in the season.
- If the ECHL wants any respect from me they'll hand down a stiff penalty to Hadad. He's been a very dangerous player for as long as I can remeber, and I'm not talking about scoring.
- I'm really hoping Kyle Lawson is OK. The dude just recently came back from injury.
Worth noting- Looks like Robby Dee was traded to the Bakersfield Condors.
This puppy sums up my Blades related feeling perfectly. His smooshy face helps as well.
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