DULUTH - The Gwinnett Gladiators got forward Matt Anderson back from the American Hockey League on Thursday, just in time for an important division game against South Carolina today.
The second-place Gladiators lead South Carolina by just two points in the ECHL South standings. With only 11 games left in the regular season, a win would give Gwinnett a bit more breathing room over the Stingrays. A loss would tie things up again - although the Gladiators still have a game in hand.
"Both teams are short-handed," Gwinnett head coach Jeff Pyle said. "In the end, it is a huge game. Every game right now is huge.
"It's our last game against South Carolina this season. It's a home game that you've got to win."
The Gladiators have a four-point cushion over fourth-place Florida and go head-to-head with the Everblades four times this month.
"I think right now you've got to be excited if you're looking at the standings," Pyle said. "We're in second place and we've got a good chance of making some noise. I like what we're doing - we're finding ways to win.
"It seems like they're kind of coming together more. When we're on the same page, we have a good chance."
With Lou Dickenson called up to the AHL this week, Anderson's addition gives Gwinnett 10 forwards.
Anderson, who began the season with the Wolves, returned to Chicago on March 1 and scored a goal that night. Anderson also saw time in the Wolves' 4-1 win over the Providence Bruins on March 2.
The 25-year-old first arrived in Gwinnett on Dec. 13 and has played 29 games, posting 17 points on nine goals and eight assists.
The Gladiators, who are on a four-game winning streak, are down to five defensemen with the recall of Chad Denny to Chicago on Wednesday.
Pyle expects Denny to remain there for a while and isn't planning on getting veteran defenseman Jim Jackson back from AHL Peoria any time soon.
Pyle said Jon Sitko may be able to return to the lineup next week, but he's still looking for a college player to sign to add some depth as the stretch run and playoffs loom.