ESTERO, Fla. — The Florida Everblades (2-0-0, 4 pts.) open their home schedule with a matchup against the Norfolk Admirals (1-2-0, 2 pts.) on Saturday night at Hertz Arena for Opening Night presented by Hertz.
Last time outTanner Jeannot registered the Everblades first multi-goal game of the season and Blake Winiecki, Justin Auger and Zach Magwood also added tallies to help Florida finish off a sweep of the Norfolk Admirals last Saturday with a 5-2 win at the Norfolk Scope. Making his ‘Blades debut, Cam Johnson turned aside 19 shots to pick up his first win of the season. Cam Maclise notched two assists for his second straight multi-point game to start the season. RECAP | BOX SCORE
Series historySaturday marks Florida's third straight game against the Admirals, but it will be the final matchup between the two teams until Feb. 22, which is the final meeting between the sides this season. Florida finished last season with a 6-1-1 record against Norfolk, which included a 4-1-0 mark at Hertz Arena. The Everblades have a commanding edge in the all-time series, which dates back to the 2015-16 season, and have an 18-2-3 overall record against Norfolk.
Players to WatchKen Appleby (FLA) - Appleby will make his first home start of the regular season at Hertz Arena on Saturday after picking up his first win of the season last Friday against Norfolk. The fifth-year pro made 28 saves on 31 shots in last Friday's season-opening win. He's familiar with Hertz Arena after playing with the Jacksonville Icemen last season. In his only start in Estero, Appleby faced 47 shots and made 45 saves in a 3-2 loss to Florida on Dec. 5, 2018. Coincidentally, that hard-luck loss for Appleby propelled Florida into first place for the first time in the season, a position it then held the rest of the year.
Christian Horn (NOR) - Horn scored his second goal of the season in Norfolk's win on Friday in Orlando. His first came against the Everblades last Friday, a game that also saw him put up a team-leading five shots on goal. In six games against the Everblades last season -- three of them with South Carolina and three with Norfolk -- Horn put up five points (2g-3a).
Opening ActThe Everblades have been quite successful in both season and home openers. Including the win last Friday, Florida is now 17-4-1 in season-opening contests. The Everblades are slightly better in home openers and have recorded a 17-3-1 mark in the first home game of the season at Hertz Arena. The 'Blades are 2-1-0 in home openers under Brad Ralph, with the only loss coming last year against the Norfolk Admirals, a 1-0 setback on Oct. 19, 2018. Merrick Madsen made 32 saves to shut out the Everblades and Matt McMorrow scored the only goal of that game, coming 11:42 into the opening period.
Admirals Coming Off WinNorfolk enters Saturday’s contest after a big win over the Orlando Solar Bears on Friday in Orlando, the Admirals first win of the 2019-20 campaign. Leading by one in the last two minutes of the game, the Admirals scored a crucial goal from Alex Rodriguez to help seal the victory. Norfolk netminder Brandon Halverson was huge between the pipes and needed to make 49 saves to backstop Norfolk to the victory. Norfolk’s win was also the first for first-year head coach Rod Taylor.
Home CookingThe ‘Blades finished with the second-highest home win total in the ECHL last season with 27 victories. The strong home record is nothing new under head coach Brad Ralph. Through his first three seasons, Ralph has helped lead Florida to 79 home victories, the highest home win total in the ECHL in that three-year span.
Next UpFlorida begins its in-state rivalry with the Orlando Solar Bears next weekend with a home-and-home series on Friday and Saturday. The Everblades travel to Orlando for Friday's weekend opener and then return to Estero for Saturday's matchup.
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