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Gladiators trade goalie K-Wal

The Gwinnett Gladiators relieved their sudden goaltending glut by trading All-Star goalie Craig Kowalski on Monday.

Kowalski was sent to the Phoenix Roadrunners in exchange for forward Bryan Esner, trimming the Gladiators' goaltending corps back to two - Boston Bruins farmhand Kevin Nastiuk and rookie Charlie Effinger.

Kowalski unexpectedly arrived at the team's training camp last Wednesday after being released by the American Hockey League's Norfolk Admirals, giving the team an over abundance of goalies.

He was selected as a starter in last season's ECHL All-Star Game, and finished as the league's leader with 29 wins, with a 2.33 goals against average and .923 save percentage in Gwinnett last season.

In return for Kowalski, the Gladiators received help for their offense in Esner, who tallied 24 goals and 30 assists for 54 points in 71 games while splitting time between the Pensacola Ice Pilots and South Carolina Stingrays in his first full professional season.

The Paradise Valley, Ariz., native played 12 games for the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL in 2006-07 after completing his collegiate career at Northeastern University, where he finished with 18 goals and 27 assists for 45 points in 131 games.