Gladiators trade Mulherin to Toledo for defenseman

DULUTH - The Gwinnett Gladiators traded rookie forward Bruce Mulherin to Toledo in exchange for defenseman Jon Sitko on Tuesday.

It was a deal that assuaged both teams' needs.

The Gladiators have been short on defense due to injury for some time now and Toledo has the opposite problem, with not enough forwards to cover three shifts.

"Bruce will get a lot more playing time, so it's good for both sides," Gwinnett head coach Jeff Pyle said.

Mulherin had 11 points in 30 games for the Gladiators and due to a surplus of forwards, his ice time was somewhat limited. The 24-year-old from Red Deer, Alberta, averaged more than a point per game during his collegiate career at the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

"We've been short in back for a long time," Pyle said. "Trying to get quality 'D' is tough. Jon's a solid defensive defenseman. He'll move the puck up, finish his hits and add a little bite to our game."

Sitko, also a rookie, has six points (five of them from assists) in 33 games with the Storm this season. He also has 74 penalty minutes.

The 24-year-old will be reunited with his former college teammate, Gwinnett forward Bryan Dobek. Both played the last four years for Bowling Green University.

Pyle said while this satisfies the Gladiators' immediate personnel concerns, he hopes this trade gets the attention of the rest of the team. Pyle said he's still keeping his eye out for ways to make Gwinnett better.

Forward Joel Stepp, who missed Monday's game after suffering a leg injury in last Saturday's game, won't play this weekend against Florida. The Gladiators and Everblades are tied for the top spot in the South Division and, with Alaska, have the most points in the league (48) at the all-star break.

Gwinnett's next four straight games are against the Everblades, starting with back-to-back home dates Friday and Saturday.

While Stepp, and defenseman Matt York, remain out, Pyle said captain Paul Flache could be back soon. Flache fractured three vertebrae in his lower back in a late November game. It'll be a couple of more weeks until the 6-foot-6 defenseman is taking a regular shift again, but he'll probably get a bit of ice time at forward before then.

Awe's slap shot sets new ECHL record

BOISE, Idaho - Gwinnett Gladiators defenseman Jon Awe set a new ECHL record for the hardest shot at the All-Star skills competition, eclipsing the 100-mph benchmark.

Awe's blast was clocked at 102.2 mph. The old ECHL record was 99.3 mph. His win added a point to the American Conference's total while Brad Schell also contributed a point to the cause by winning his puck control relay.

The rest of the skills competition was not completed at press time. Awe, Schell and Colton Fretter play in the All-Star Game tonight in Boise, Idaho.