ECHL – South Carolina vs Gwinnett Gladiators
Earlier this week my girlfriend and I attended the South Carolina Stingrays versus Gwinnett Gladiators ECHL game at the Arena at Gwinnett Center, and IT WAS AWESOME!!!
This was my first time visiting the Gwinnett Center and my first live hockey experience since I attended an Atlanta Thrashers game back in 2003. My girlfriend is an avid ice hockey fan and proud supporter of the Gladiators, and she wanted to treat me to my first ECHL game.
The Arena at Gwinnett Center is a fairly new facility, having opened back in early 2003. The arena is clean, well maintained, easy to access, and to those of us first timers, it still has that “new arena” feeling to it. I’m looking forward to future visits for more Gladiators action and perhaps some Georgia Force arena football and other events too.
As far as the Gladiators, I like the team. They don’t get all of the press and national attention like the Atlanta Thrashers, but it’s still a real ice hockey team. They skate fast, have good puck handling skills, and the fights are great. It’s just a little bit disappointing that Atlanta isn’t much of a hockey city, whether it’s for NHL or ECHL teams.
Monday’s game against the Stingrays was about as exciting as it could get for a regular season ice hockey game. Just when nearly all hope was lost as the Stingrays were up 5-2 in the third period, the Gladiators made a heroic comeback and ended up tying the game at 5-5 with less than a minute left at the end of regulation play.
The crowd of just over 5,500 hockey fans went ballistic as Zanoski hit a one timer, shooting the puck past Ford and sending the game into overtime.
Sadly, the Gladiators ultimately lost the game in a shootout following a period of 4-on-4 overtime play. Gladiators’ goalie Carrozzi struggled on defense as the rest of his teammates had just as much bad luck on offense.
Despite Monday’s loss to a division rival, the game itself was a blast. I’m hooked on the team and learning more about the league. Hopefully the next game we attend will have a bigger crowd and better success for the team.