ST. JOHN's, N.L. — Facing a two-game series deficit for the first time in the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs, the Florida Everblades will meet the Newfoundland Growlers in their first road game of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday at Mile One Centre.
Last Time OutBlake Winiecki opened the scoring with his team-leading ninth goal of the postseason at the 10:17 mark of the first period, but the Growlers scored four times in the second to skate to a 5-1 victory in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday at Hertz Arena. Scott Pooley and Josh Kestner scored only 95 seconds apart to push Newfoundland ahead for good in the first five minutes of the second period. Marcus Power had his third goal of the playoffs to extend the lead, while JJ Piccinich netted a goal with only 1:43 left in the second to move the Growlers' lead to three. Florida's Callum Booth yielded more than two goals for the first time in nine playoff starts. BOX SCORE | RECAP
Players to WatchBlake Winiecki (FLA) – The Lakeville, Minnesota, native was nearly a point-per-game player in the regular season, posting 59 points (25g-34a) in 61 games. He has continued that consistent production in the playoffs and leads all 'Blades players with nine goals and 13 points in 13 games. Winiecki had consecutive multi-goal games in Game 5 and Game 6 against Jacksonville in the first round and has goals in four of his last six games entering Wednesday night.
Josh Kestner (NFL) - A rookie forward, Kestner is tied for the series lead with three points (1g-2a) through the first two games. He notched his first multi-point game of the playoffs in Game 2, with his goal holding up as the eventual game-winning strike. Piccinich potted multiple points in 10 games in the regular season. The Huntsville, Alabama, native played his college hockey at the University of Alabama-Huntsville and registered 68 career points (44g-24a) in 132 games over four seasons from 2014-18.
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.
Only TwoThe Everblades have been superb at bouncing back from losses all season long and have not lost more than two straight games all year. Florida lost consecutive games in the South Division Semifinals against Jacksonville but then answered with back to back wins to take that first-round series in six games. The 'Blades suffered two straight losses in regulation on only four separate occasions in the regular season. Florida compiled a 12-4-0 record in the next four games after each pair of consecutive losses.
Back on TrackFlorida was limited to less than two goals in consecutive games only once in the regular season and was not held under two goals in three straight games all year. The 'Blades managed just one combined goal between a 2-1 loss to Jacksonville and a 1-0 loss to South Carolina on Nov. 14 and Nov. 16, respectively. However, Florida roared back with 25 goals over the next four games en route to a four-game winning streak from Nov. 17-23. The only four-game stretch that was more productive offensively came in early January when the Everblades racked up 29 goals from Jan. 5-12.
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 3 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 parties for Game 3 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 UpFollowing an off-day on Thursday, the series resumes with Game 4 on Friday night. Faceoff is again set for 5:30 p.m. ET.
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