With no playoff spots secured yet in the ECHL Eastern Conference and just four points separating the two teams, tonight’s matchup between the Gwinnett Gladiators and the Florida Everblades is sure to be an interesting one. Gwinnett sits atop the division and at third in the conference with 67 points, while Florida sits just a few points back in sixth place.
• Gwinnett: 32-21-2-1, 67 points; 160 GF, 151 GA, 5-4-1-0 in last ten
• Florida: 27-17-4-5, 63 points; 186 GF, 182 GA, 6-2-1-1 in last ten
Adding to the interest factor of tonight’s game is both team’s recent history. The Gladiators have lost their last two games (both suffered to Florida), while the Everblades look to extend a three-game winning streak tonight. With just over a month and a half remaining in the ECHL regular season and no playoff spots secured in their conference, everything is still wide open, and anything can happen.
Tonight’s game is the third consecutive meeting between the teams and is the sixth of eight meetings between the Gladiators and Everblades this season. Florida defeated Gwinnett 4-3 on February 16 before beating them again, 3-1, the following day, with both wins coming in Gwinnett prior to tonight’s game in Florida.
Gwinnett forward Casey Pierro-Zabotel leads the ECHL in points scoring, with 62 points in 56 games. Pierro-Zabotel has 17 goals and 45 assists on the season, including a goal and six assists in five games against Florida.
Florida left winger Mathieu Roy is fifth leaguewide in points scoring, with 57 on the year. Roy has two goals and an assist against the Gladiators this season, while Leigh Salters leads the team with three goals and two assists in the season series.
Roy leads the Everblades in goals, assists and points this season, while Matthew Pistilli has 49 points and Leigh Salters has 28 points. Below Pierro-Zabotel on the Gladiators is Justin Bowers, who has 44 points, and rookie forward Doug Jones, who has 42 points.
Following tonight’s game, the teams will meet twice more, with a set of back-to-back games in Florida on March 1 and 2.