Winning a team record six consecutive games and earning a point in eight of its last 10 games, Gwinnett is in first place in the South Division of the American Conference with 26 points and a record of 11-3-4. The Gladiators are four points ahead of Florida, which has won five games in a row to improve to 11-9-0. Louisiana and Pensacola are both six points behind Gwinnett with identical 9-4-2 records.
Gwinnett will host Florida on Tuesday and Charlotte on Friday before traveling to Columbia on Saturday. The Everblades won the only meeting between the two division leaders, 4-3 in a shootout at Florida on October 26. After concluding its four-game road trip on Tuesday, Florida returns home to host South Carolina on Friday and Saturday. Louisiana will continue its four-game road trip, visiting Augusta on Tuesday, Charlotte on Wednesday, Columbia on Friday and Pee Dee on Saturday. Pensacola will play a home-and-home with Texas, hosting the Wildcatters on Friday and visiting Beaumont on Saturday.
Gwinnett, which is 9-0-0 when leading after the second period, has exploded offensively during its winning streak, outscoring its opponents 34-15 while raising its scoring average from 3.33 to 4.11 goals per game. Kris Goodjohn, who leads the Gladiators during the streak with nine assists and 11 points, has an eight-game scoring streak (2g-11a) which ties him for the longest active scoring streak. Brett Engelhardt, who has a three-game goal-scoring streak (3g), leads the team in goals during the streak with seven, including his first professional hat trick against South Carolina on November 25, giving him 13 goals, tops among ECHL rookies and tied for the overall league lead. Between the pipes for Gwinnett, T.J. Aceti has gone 5-0-0, including an overtime win and a shootout win, improving to 9-3-1 to rank fourth among league leaders in wins.
Florida, which has won three consecutive road games to even its road record at 5-5-0, has outscored its opponent 18-8 during its current streak to raise its scoring average to 3.10 goals per game. Returning to the ice for the first time since November 13, Brent McDonald had led Florida on the current road trip, scoring five goals, including a hat trick on Saturday at Pee Dee, and six points in three games. Matt Hendricks (3g-3a) and Brad Church (2g-4a) each have four-game scoring streaks while Steve Saviano has six points (1g-5a) in his last four games.