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Gladiators bolster roster heading into three-game set

DULUTH -- The Gwinnett Gladiators added three players this week as the regular season hits the home stretch.

Forward Bryan Brutlag came back from a brief stint in the AHL and the Gladiators signed defenseman Sean Duddy out of Ohio State University. Another defenseman, Dallas Jackson, was reassigned to the team from AHL Lake Erie on Tuesday. Jackson returns after picking up an assist in two games with the Monsters.

The changes to the lineup come in time for today's 7:05 p.m. game against Cincinnati. It's the first of two more games with the Cyclones and one of the last games at the Arena at Gwinnett Center before playoffs start in April. The Gladiators round out their home schedule tonight and Friday against Cincinnati and finish it with another clash against division rival Greenville on Saturday.

Gwinnett (36-17-7-4) beat Greenville in a shootout Sunday and leads the Warriors by a scant two points in the race for first place in the Eastern Conference. The two teams go head-to-head three more times this season. But first, the Gladiators face a Cincinnati team sitting in the conference's eighth and final playoff berth.

"We know that they're going to scratch and claw for points," Gwinnett head coach John Wroblewski said. "They need those points. They're going to be playing for their playoff lives. They're on this road trip and they are in desperate need of those points. So we're going to have to match that."

Brutlag, a rookie out of RPI, appeared in three games for the Norfolk Admirals and was a plus-2 in his first AHL action.

The Lakeville, Minn., native currently leads all Gladiators rookies in scoring with 43 points (18 goals, 25 assists) in 62 games this season.

Gwinnett also added Duddy, who just finished his senior season with the Buckeyes. Duddy, a right-handed blueliner from Ann Arbor, Mich., played 124 games for Ohio State and posted a career-high 14 points this year. The two-time team captain at Ohio State, he was the 2009 Coaches Award winner, a three-time Ohio State scholar-athlete and two-time academic All-Big Ten selection and Big Ten distinguished scholar.

Zapolski honored by league

Gwinentt's Ryan Zapolski was named the ECHL goaltender of the week Tuesday.

Zapolski went 2-0-0-0 during the week to help the Gladiators maintain the top spot overall in the Eastern Conference. He posted a 0.50 goals against average and a .985 save percentage for Gwinnett in wins over Cincinnati and Greenville.

Last Tuesday, Zapolski made 34 saves in a comeback 3-1 win over rival Greenville, the Gladiators first win this season at the Bi-Lo Center.

He followed that up with his second shutout of the season, making 30 saves in a 2-0 win over Cincinnati on Friday.

Zapolski has posted a 6-1-0-1 record with the Gladiators this season and has a 1.97 goals against average and a .932 save percentage in 10 games.