ESTERO, Fla. — Following their only series against a Western Conference team this season, the Florida Everblades (28-8-5-0, 61 pts.) return to South Division play with the first of three straight games against the Jacksonville Icemen (23-16-1-1, 48 pts.) on Friday night.
Last Time OutLast weekend, the 'Blades squared off with the Rapid City Rush for the first time in franchise history and earned wins in two of the three games, which included a 5-1 triumph in the series finale on Saturday to secure the series victory. Joe Cox tabbed his fourth multi-goal game of the season on Saturday to pace Florida's offensive attack, while goaltender Jeremy Helvig made 25 saves to earn his second win of the weekend. BOX SCORE | RECAP
Players to WatchJoe Cox (FLA) – The Chelsea, Michigan, native represented Florida at the 2019 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic on Monday and tabbed two goals and an assist in five games for the Eastern Conference squad. The second-year pro leads Florida in both points (42) and assists (25) and is just 12 points shy of his career-high from his rookie campaign.
Wacey Rabbit (JAX) - A native of Lethbridge, Alberta, Rabbit is tied for the team lead in scoring for Jacksonville with 34 points (14g-20a). He has helped pace the Icemen's offense in games against Florida this year with six points (3g-3a) in seven games. Rabbit has 309 games of AHL experience.
Series historyFriday's matchup is the eighth of 13 total meetings this season between Florida and Jacksonville. The 'Blades played the Icemen five consecutive times from Nov. 2-14. After not playing each other since Dec. 15, the two teams will meet three times from Friday through Tuesday. Florida took over first place in the South Division with its 3-2 win over the Icemen on Dec. 5, while Jacksonville halted the 'Blades six-game win streak and 13-game point streak with their 4-2 win at Veterans Memorial Arena on Dec. 15. Florida holds a 17-2-2 all-time mark against the Icemen.
Net PresenceAfter dropping his first four professional starts, Helvig has just one loss and a 13-1-1 record over his last 15 appearances. The Markham, Ontario, native is in the midst of one of his best stretches of the season and has yielded just four goals over his last five appearances. In that five-game stretch, the Hurricanes prospect has posted a .970 save percentage and a 0.80 goals-against-average. He also has the longest personal winning streak for a 'Blades goaltender in the last 13 seasons with a current 10-game winning streak.
Behind the BenchEverblades head coach Brad Ralph led the Eastern Conference to the title at the 2019 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic on Monday in Toledo, Ohio, the third time in his three seasons with Florida that he has earned the right to coach in the game. The Richmond, Ontario, native has logged an impressive 127-42-16 record in 185 games behind the 'Blades bench for a point percentage of .730. He coached in his 400th career ECHL game last Friday.
Top SpotSince Florida jumped Jacksonville for the top spot in the South Division on Dec. 5, the 'Blades have turned up their play to widen their lead in the division. Florida has posted a 16-3-1 record in its 20 games since Dec. 5, while the Icemen, which are still in second place, have hovered around .500 with a 10-8-0-0 mark.
Second Period SuccessFlorida leads the ECHL in goal differential and has scored 65 more goals than it has allowed this season, a differential that is 11 goals better than the next closest team, Cincinnati. A big part of that figure has been the 'Blades dominance in the second period. Florida has outscored opponents by 30 goals in the middle frame. Adirondack is the next best team in period two with a +16 goal differential.
Next Up This weekend's home-and-home series with the Icemen transitions to Jacksonville on Saturday for the weekend finale. Faceoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Arena. —
Single-game tickets for all regular season home games are on sale now!Ticket packages for the 2018-19 season are still on sale! Become part of the Everblades Family with a Partial Season or a Flexible Voucher Package that fits your schedule and budget! All Ticket & Voucher Packages provide savings and special benefits! To view the Ticket & Voucher Package options CLICK HERE. SPECIAL OFFER! Purchase a new ticket package for the 2018-19 season and receive a $20 gift card to Ford’s Garage and an Everblades tote bag!Private Arena Tours are also available to select your 2018-19 season seats! Call the Everblades office at 239-948-7825 to schedule your tour today!
The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes