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Garret Sparks Fights Enforcer in ECHL Brawl

Garret Sparks Fights Enforcer in ECHL Brawl

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltending prospect Garret Sparks is well known for his puck-stopping ability and large online personality, but he turned heads for a different reason on Saturday night. He fought an enforcer.

During the second period of an ECHL matchup between the Gwinnett Gladiators and Sparks’ Orlando Solar Bears, it started to get a bit chippy. The other goalie, Mark Guggenberger, shot the puck down at Sparks during a scrum that had broken out.

Sparks skated to the neutral zone, laid his equipment down, and motioned for Guggenberger to come on down. That’s when things started to get crazy.

Gladiators tough guy Dyson Stevenson decided to step in, and handled the Solar Bears goaltender himself. Stevenson happens to lead the Gladiators with over 100 penalty minutes on the season.

Credit Sparks for hanging in there, but the fight itself didn’t last very long.

It’s not very often that you see a goalie take on a skater that is actually a fighter, unless that goalie is Ray Emery!

The reason that Stevenson decided to step in was also pretty interesting: The Gladiators had an emergency backup on the bench, and he did not want to have their actual goaltender thrown out of the game. You can see players on the Gladiators bench waving Guggenberger back as he starts to make his way down the ice.

Both Stevenson and Sparks were ejected for “continuing altercation” after the officials broke the original fight up.

The move may have inspired the Solar Bears, who trailed 3-1 at the time of the incident. They would score four straight goals to take it 5-3, as Joe Howe would finish the game in net with 14 saves in relief.

The 9,010 Orlando fans in attendance must have been thoroughly entertained!

About The Author

Greg Balloch

Greg Balloch is a Vancouver-based writer for InGoal Magazine, broadcaster for Sportsnet 650, and goaltending coach. His career began in Hamilton, Ontario with the Junior 'A' Hamilton Red Wings, before moving to Vancouver to cover the Canucks on the radio and work with the Surrey Eagles of the BCHL. A lifelong goaltender, he has been teaching the position for over a decade.