Photo: Amanda Hertel Gwinnett Gladiators forward Scott Arnold (7) is taken down by Cincinnati's Justin Vaive (32) on a breakaway on goalie Michael Houser during Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series Sunday at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.
The Gwinnett Gladiators are prepared to settle in in Cincinnati.
They left early Tuesday morning for Ohio with the intention of being there for a while.
The Gladiators split the first two games of the best-of-seven conference semifinal series with the Cyclones, coming back from a Game 1 loss to dominate Sunday in a 3-0 victory.
Those are the only games of the series they will play at home. However many of the remaining five games are necessary will be in Cincinnati because the Arena at Gwinnett Center was not available.
Game 3, nearly always pivotal in hockey playoffs, is tonight at U.S. Bank Arena, where the Cyclones were 1-2 in their first-round series with Toledo.
Game 4 is Friday and Game 5 is Saturday. Unless one team wins all three of those, the series continues Tuesday and next Wednesday.
"The game isn't played in the town or the hotel," said rookie forward Domenic Monardo, who has scored in both games against the Cyclones. "People have lost at home and they've lost on the road. It doesn't matter where you are, you've got to bring your game and be mentally focused.
"I think we've got the guys that can definitely bring the determination and mental focus to execute on the road. It shouldn't really affect us."
It's been a feisty clash so far.
Game 1 was especially vitriolic with fines handed out by the league after it was over.
Cincinnati's David Pacan and assistant coach Matt Macdonald, and Gwinnett captain Andy Brandt were each fined an undisclosed amount as a result of their actions following the game, a 3-2 comeback win for the Cyclones. Sacha Guimond, the ECHL's defenseman of the Year, was also dinged as a result of his major penalty and game misconduct for slashing at 20:00 of the third period.
There was still plenty of discourse after the whistle during Game 2, but the Gladiators got into their style of play and kept what's been a quick-strike Cincinnati offense off the board.
"They've got big guys and they're going to try to stir things up," Monardo said. "I think it's up to us to stay composed and really know what we want to do. Obviously that's not our game -- we feel we can win other ways, whether it's with our skill or just sheer determination. Fighting doesn't necessarily play a part in determination. I think we did well staying out of that. There's no need for that."