Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Matinee Hockey: Gwinnett Gladiators vs South Carolina Stingrays

What better way to celebrate MLK’s birthday than for a bunch of white folks to go and watch other white folks play hockey. Okay, maybe that ISN’T the most traditional way to celebrate the birthday of the well known civil rights pioneer, but they did have a little video of his speech and they played U2’s “In the Name of Love.” And besides, we DO have Drew Paris!

I was excited to learn about the matinee game. I knew it was kids day, but Phillips Arena has kids day and it’s usually families or dads bringing their sons. I now know that this is NOT what the annual Kids Day for the MLK with the Gladiators is like. What they mean is busloads of kids. Daycares, school groups, home school groups, church groups etc. DROVES of children. There were probably 4000 people there, easily 3000 of them were kids. While that sounds frightening, it actually wasn’t too bad. Because they were in organized groups, they were pretty well behaved and lumped into groups. When those little voices got screaming, I’m surprised every piece of glass surrounding the rink didn’t shatter.

Today the Gladiators were facing the South Carolina Stingrays, ECHL affiliates of the Washington Capitals. This was an important game as the Glads and the Stingrays were tied in points.

Time for warm ups! It’s a goalie party! Billy Sauer and Stingrays goalie, Jared DeMichiel chat it up.

Carrozzi says a goalie party ain't a party till he skates in.

Carrozzi blocks some shots while Sauer looks on.

Alternate captain, Andy Brandt, clears pucks from the net.

Sauer played for the Lake Eerie Monsters for a while and still has his mask from there, hence the creepy eyes. Another fun fact about Sauer, he played with Gladiators' forward Tim Miller all four years while both were attending the University of Michigan.

Sauer leaving the crease.

Drew Paris waiting to take some shots on net.

I noticed this sticker on their helmets and had to dig around for some info (thanks Lauren and Tim). The Mike referenced on this sticker is in honor of Mike Johnson, founder of the Gladiators' booster club. Mike lost his battle with pancreatic cancer last summer. In addition to the sticker, a team was formed in Mike's honor for the "Relay for Life" and most of the players walked.

Forney with his flowing locks takes some shots.

Some things about Glads games are just like Thrashers games, like swarm the goalie.

And some things are NOT like Thrashers games...certainly not the Blue Crew!

Hell yes! You know you are in the ECHL when you have Little Debbie Snack Cakes dropping the puck. Ain't nothing wrong with that! Go Swissy and Oatie!

Carrozzi was in net for the Glads. I just liked this particular picture.

Hey at least some of the kids brought signs!

Face off.

Carrozzi tracks the puck.

Dear God, please let us win. Thank you. Amen.

Carrozzi makes a sprawling save.

Carrozzi sprawls, but no save. Stingrays score.

No worries! The Glads get one.

Welcome to this side of the ice, Todd Ford! I found it hysterical that the Stingrays main sponsor is a Chevy dealership and their goalie's last name is Ford.

I kept trying to get a good shot of Ford's mask and see what was on it. I see Johnny Cash is on one side, never got a clear shot of the other side.

Forney has been a bad boy and is going off to the penalty box, for 4 minutes no less!

Big time excitement...a sheet of glass fell out during the game. It didn't break, just literally fell flat on the ice. They had it repaired in no time.

Glads take some action to Ford.

Ford makes an acrobatic dive, no save though. He just got lucky.

One of the best thing about Glads games???? CHUCK-A-PUCK! I was surprised all of those kids managed to get the pucks over the net.

Maximus has way better toys than Thrash. Thrash should talk to his agent.

Carrozzi is back on this end of the ice and doing the majestic goalie stretch.

It's good to see so many kids enjoying themselves, getting exposed to hockey and having a wild time. Everyone was going crazy....wait...

Awwwwwww. Look at this little pumpkin. She is knocked out. Even the goal horn and screams didn't wake her up.

So the Glads are sucking ass. In the 3rd period, it's 5 to 2. We score a few and it's a one goal game. It's late in the game, people are leaving. Then we go on the power play. Coach Pyle decides to pull the goalie for a 6 on 4. You know what this pictures is? Well besides, total FAIL, it's the game tying goal. In the blur, you can make out the goal light. WTF happened???? The picture before it and after it were fine. AGH!

So we go to OT. Nothing is decided in OT, so it's SHOOT OUT TIME!

Booo, that one went in.

Yeah, that one did too, Chris.

Glads lose in the shootout! Booo! Still a great way to spend the day off. If you haven't checked out a Gladiators game, you are missing out. Free parking, cheap seats and lots of action. Get on out to Duluth!



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