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Gwinnett's Turple makes history with ECHL honor
Gladiator goalie wins league award for second straight week

DULUTH - For the second week in a row, a Gwinnett Gladiator goalie garnered league honors.

Dan Turple was named the Rbk Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Week on Tuesday.

It comes on the heels of Craig Kowalski's selection and marks the first time in franchise history that Gwinnett goalies have won the award back-to-back.

It is only the second time in over a decade that two different goalies from the same team have taken the honor in consecutive weeks.

Turple was 3-0-0 last week with a 2.27 goals-against average and .939 save percentage.

"He's doing great and we're all proud of him," said defenseman Jamie Milam, who was a rookie with Turple last season in Gwinnett. "You can sense it, even when he's not playing, that you know he's going to play well."

The 6-foot-6 netminder began the week by making 45 saves in a 3-2 shootout victory over the Augusta Lynx on Tuesday.

After the win, Turple said he felt good about the way he was playing.

He admitted he would have liked to have a couple of the shootout goals back, but was happy overall.

"I was a little deep, but that's something I can work on," Turple said.

The 22-year-old followed that up by stopping 27 of 28 shots in a 5-1 win over Charlotte on Thursday. Turple capped his week by making 38 saves and outlasting Augusta in a 5-4 road victory Saturday.

That victory stretched the Gladiators' winning streak to seven games and improved Turple's season record to 7-2-0. It was also a particularly impressive result as the third game in as many days with a short-handed bench.

Kowalski was called up to AHL Syracuse on Saturday and with his departure, Turple will carry the load between the pipes.

The Gladiators did sign Ray Jean on Monday to back up Turple.

Gwinnett plays two games this week, in Charlotte on Thursday and at home against Pensacola on Saturday. The Gladiators have four days off before getting back to work after Christmas with a Dec. 27 home game vs. Columbia.

"(Jean) works hard," Pyle said. "I told him I don't know how long he's going to be here, but for right now, it's good to have him there.

"Turps deserves the next two and probably the start after that. Then we play a lot and, depending on how Turps feels, if he hits a streak, he's going to go."

Turple was drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in 2004 and is in his second season under contract to the NHL team. The Ontario native has a 2.51 goals-against and a 0.926 save percentage in nine starts this season.

Awe reassigned

Defenseman Jon Awe was reassigned to the Gladiators from AHL Houston on Tuesday. It's welcome relief for a blueline corps that has been down to five players for the last four games.

"The five 'D' with (rookies) Dinos (Stamoulis) and Chad (Denny) and Ryan Mahrle, we're pretty young back there," Pyle said. "Those guys in the last four games have played their heart out."

Awe was called up to the Aeros, with whom he is contracted, more than a month ago. In 14 games with Houston this season, Awe has a goal and four assists. The 27-year-old had seven points in 11 games with Gwinnett before heading to Houston on Nov. 17.

SideBar: Gladiators at Checkers

When: Thursday, 7:05 p.m.

Where: Charlotte, N.C.