Gladiators finally end Texas winless streak

By Christine Troyke

Staff Writer


A shootout win on Sunday was certainly something.

It snapped the Gwinnett Gladiators' seven-game winless streak to the Texas Wildcatters. It was their first win at Ford Arena in Beaumont since Dec. 5, 2004. It was the first time this season they came back to win when trailing after two periods.

But it also came on the heels of two more one-goal losses to Texas that dropped Gwinnett further behind the division-leading Wildcatters in the ECHL South standings.

"All three games were really similar," Gladiators head coach Jeff Pyle said. "We could have won all three of them, we could have lost all three of them. We made some mistakes against a good team that cost us at least two points.

"But we came back from being down 2-0 (on Sunday) and found a way to win."

The mistakes Pyle speaks of were unnecessary penalties and a couple of mental misfires. Pyle mentioned a few specifics, including Texas scoring the game-tying goal on Saturday immediately after an interference minor expired.

"Whenever we make a mistake, it's in the back of our net," Pyle said. "It's been just really dumb penalties - from guys and on penalties that we really can't accept.

"It was three up-tempo games and I can't complain about the effort, we just need to be smarter."

Gwinnett (12-5-1, 25 points) is seven points behind Texas and during the three-game weekend stretch, actually fell into third place.

Florida, which the Gladiators host for a pair of games later this week, is second with 26 points.

"You'd like to be in first place," Pyle said, "but if you're looking at it from my standpoint, I'm at every game, I'm at every practice, I know what these guys are like. They're working hard.

"We're playing good, we've just got to be more disciplined."

Roster changes

Pyle said defenseman Scott Lehman was heading back to AHL Chicago after playing the three games in Texas. Lehman, in his second stint with the Gladiators this season, had an assist in Saturday's 4-3 loss. He was recalled to the Wolves upon Gwinnett's return home.

Defenseman Chad Denny, who is under contract to the Atlanta Thrashers, is expected back following a week off due to a concussion, Pyle said Monday. Forward Stuart MacRae also may be ready to return. The rookie had seven points in 10 games before being sidelined in middle of November with a hand injury.

Veteran blueliner Jim Jackson (shoulder) remains questionable.

SideBar: Everblades at Gladiators

' When: Thursday, 7:05 p.m.

' Where: Arena at Gwinnett Center