DULUTH - The Gwinnett Gladiators lost a forward and gained a defenseman Monday.
Rookie forward Bryan Dobek asked for a meeting with Jeff Pyle and, after some discussion, told the head coach he was leaving the team.
Dobek, who the Gladiators had in training camp and called up from the Southern Professional League in late November, was getting fourth-line ice time in Gwinnett. Addressing the realities of the situation with Pyle, Dobek opted to return to his SPHL team in Fayetteville, N.C.
"He called and wanted me to meet with him," Pyle said. "I knew it was going to be a heart to heart. But I didn't expect him to quit.
"He said, 'I'm not playing that much and I know you don't have a lot of confidence in me.'"
Pyle didn't argue that, in tight games, he was always going to go with his best players.
"He knew he wouldn't get much power-play time," Pyle said. "He thought it was better for him to go. He wanted to play more."
Also on Monday, the Gladiators' American Hockey League affiliate in Chicago reassigned defenseman Jon Awe to Gwinnett. Awe, who signed a two-way contract with the Wolves the last time he was called up, was back in Gwinnett in time to board the bus Monday night for Florida.
"They had extra guys (in Chicago), but I could see him going back up," Pyle said.
The Gladiators (28-14-6, 62 points) play the Everblades on Wednesday in Estero, Fla. Florida (29-14-2) trails Gwinnett and Texas by two points in the South Division standings, but has played three fewer games.
"Wednesday will be a good test," Pyle said.
Rookie Colton Fretter scored his 34th goal of the season in Sunday's 7-4 loss to Augusta, breaking the Gladiators' team record.
Guillaume Desbiens and Kevin Doell shared the previous benchmark of 33 goals in a season. Fretter leads all first-year ECHL players in points and his 34 goals are tied for the league best.
The franchise record, which includes its time as the Mobile Mysticks, is the 45 goals scored by Mark Turner in 1999-2000.
The Gladiators are coming off a pair of disappointing results against Augusta. They got a point on Saturday in a shootout loss at James Brown Arena, but gave up a two-goal lead in the last four minutes of the third period to end up playing beyond regulation.
The next day, at the Arena at Gwinnett Center, the Lynx handed the Gladiators a 7-4 loss.
Pyle was upset with the poor decisions some of his players made, but the overall result didn't bother him that much.
"They just outplayed us," Pyle said. "Had we played well and lost, I'd be a little more worried. But it ain't no big deal.
"This isn't going to make us or break us right now. We're still tied for first. It's one game. I don't think we've lost more than two in a row all year."
After the game in Florida on Wednesday, Gwinnett doesn't play again until Sunday, at home against Charlotte. Looking for 100
Brad Schell is looking to become the first player to record 100 points in a season since Buddy Smith of the Arkansas RiverBlades notched 104 during the 2002-03 season.
Schell currently has 94 points on the year and leads his linemate Scott Mifsud, who ranks second in the league in scoring, by 22 points.
A good cause
Gwinnett's home game on Feb. 24 is the second annual "Girls Gone Gladiators Night" at the arena.
A portion of every ticket sold through the team's Web site at www.gwinnettgladiators.com will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Local businesses like Studio 93 Salon and Girl Scouts of America will have booths set up in the concourse during the game.