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PREVIEW: Everblades hold chance to tie series on Friday

Friday, May 17th
PREVIEW: Everblades hold chance to tie series on Friday

St. John's, N.L. — With a chance to even the Eastern Conference Finals at two games apiece, the Florida Everblades (9-4-1) meet the Newfoundland Growlers (10-4-1) in Game 4 of the best-of-seven series on Friday at Mile One Centre. 

VITALS:Eastern Conference Finals - Game 4: Everblades at NewfoundlandWhen: 5:30 p.m. ETWhere: Mile One CentreWatch: ECHL.tvListen: WJBX - News, Talk & MoreSocial: Twitter | #FLAvsNFL

Last Time OutBlake Winiecki scored his second goal of the game with 3:18 left in regulation to help lift the Everblades to a 5-4 win over the Growlers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday at Mile One Centre. Winiecki finished with three points (2g-1a), while defenseman Michael Downing chipped in a career-high three points (1g-2a) to give Florida its first win in the series. After the Growlers scored only 2:32 into the game, the 'Blades rattled off three straight goals to finish the first period and never trailed after that.  BOX SCORE | RECAP

Players to WatchMichael Downing (FLA) –  The second-year defenseman was without a goal in 18 straight games dating back to his rookie year before he scored in the second-to-last game of the regular season. Including that game, Downing has scored five goals over his last 14 games. The Canton, Michigan, native is second among 'Blades defensemen in playoff scoring with nine points (4g-5a). His three-point night on Wednesday was a career-high for both the regular season and postseason. 

Brady Ferguson (NFL) - The rookie forward put together a strong first season in the ECHL and tabbed 30 goals and 58 points in 49 games. The Lewisville, Texas, native averaged 1.18 points per game, finishing with the second-highest points-per-game average among ECHL rookies who played in at least 45 games in the regular season. A product of Robert Morris University, Ferguson posted 167 points (66g-101a) in 152 career games with the Colonials. 

Series historyThis is the second straight Eastern Conference Finals in which Florida will battle its opponent in a playoff series for the first time. Last year, the 'Blades faced Adirondack in the Eastern Conference Finals, a team they had never met in the playoffs. Prior to the playoff series, the 'Blades only two previous meetings with the Growlers came in Newfoundland on Oct. 12-13 of this season. Newfoundland won the first game, 3-2, but Florida bounced back to win the series finale by a 3-2 score in the opening weekend of the regular season. 

Worth the WaitWiniecki's game-winning goal on Wednesday was the 'Blades second-latest game-winning goal in regulation this season. Joe Cox had the latest game-winning strike of the year, which came with 3:06 left in the third period of an eventual 4-2 win over the Jacksonville Icemen on November 9 at Hertz Arena. Excluding empty-net goals, Winiecki led the 'Blades with five goals in the last two minutes of a period in the regular season. 

Climbing the LadderWith Wednesday's win, Everblades head coach Brad Ralph is now tied with John Marks of Charlotte (1993-98) and Chuck Weber of Cincinnati (2006-10) for fifth all-time in the ECHL in postseason wins with 45. He could take over sole possession of fifth with a win on Friday. Ralph is 10 wins shy of the record held by John Brophy, who had 55 wins from 1989-2000.

Close CallsThe Growlers and Everblades rank first and second, respectively, in the number of one-goal games in which they have played in during the playoffs. Coincidentally enough, Wednesday was the first one-goal contest of the series. Florida and Newfoundland are both tied for first in the ECHL with five wins in one-goal games in the playoffs. The 'Blades are 5-1-1 in one-goal games and the Growlers are 5-2-1 in one-goal affairs. 

Roster RewindOf the 23 players listed on the 'Blades opening night roster, 13 are on the Everblades current playoff roster. Eight of the players on the current roster played in the season opener on Oct. 12 against Newfoundland: Grant Arnold, Patrick McCarron, Kyle Platzer, Tommy Thompson, John McCarron, Joe Cox, Logan Roe, and Jeremy Helvig. 

Tonight's BroadcastGame 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals will air on WJBX - News, Talk & More. Fans can listen online at wjbxnewstalk.com or on the radio dial at 101.5 FM, 104.3 FM or 770 AM. Don't miss out on the official watch party for Game 4 at Breakaway Sports Pub at Hertz Arena or at either of the Bokampers locations in Naples and Estero. For the latest broadcast information throughout the playoffs, make sure to follow the 'Blades on Facebook and Twitter

​​​​​​Next UpGame 5, the final game of the Eastern Conference Finals in St. John's, will take place on Saturday night at Mile One Centre. Faceoff is again set for 5:30 p.m. ET. 

2019-20 Season Tickets and Flexible Packages are on sale now!

Join the FUN and 'Blades FAMILY by SAVING with Season Tickets or a Flexible Package that fit into your schedule and budget, plus receive FREE gifts and benefits!

SPECIAL OFFER! Purchase a new Season Ticket or Flexible Package for the 2019-20 season and receive a $20 gift card to Ford’s Garage and an Everblades tote bag!

To view the Package savings, benefits and options CLICK HERE.

Private tours of Hertz Arena are available to select your season seats! Call the Florida Everblades Front Office at 239-948-7825 to schedule your tour today!

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