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PREVIEW: 'Blades start in-state rivalry series with Orlando on Friday

Friday, October 25th
PREVIEW: 'Blades start in-state rivalry series with Orlando on Friday

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Florida Everblades (3-0-0-0, 6 pts.) renew their rivalry with the Orlando Solar Bears (0-3-0-0, 0 pts.) on Friday night at the Amway Center, the first game of a home-and-home series between the two teams this weekend. 

VITALS:Game 4: Everblades at OrlandoWhen: 7 p.m. ETWhere: Amway CenterWatch: ECHL TVListen: WJBX (101.5 FM, 104.3 FM, 770 AM)Social: Twitter | Instagram

Last time outIn its only game of the weekend, Florida improved to 18-3-1 all-time in home openers, and 3-1-0-0 under head coach Brad Ralph, with a 4-2 victory over the Norfolk Admirals this past Saturday at Hertz Arena. Trailing 1-0 after one period, the Everblades strung together three goals in a span of six minutes, 48 seconds to take over the lead from Norfolk en route to their third straight win against the Admirals to start the season. Tanner Jeannot (1g-1a) registered his second straight multi-point outing and Ben Masella and Zach Magwood both chipped in a pair of assists in the win. RECAP BOX SCORE

Series historyAlthough the season series was exactly even between the Everblades and Solar Bears last year, Florida still has a commanding edge in the all-time series since Orlando joined the ECHL in the 2012-13 season. The 'Blades hold a 61-24-7 record against the Solar Bears and finished with a 6-3-2-1 record in the head-to-head meetings in 2018-19. Including the five-game playoff series, the two teams met on 17 occasions last year. Last year's series was filled with close games, as 10 of the 17 matchups required at least overtime, including six overtime affairs in the regular season. 

Players to WatchJustin Auger (FLA) - Though Auger's 2018-19 ECHL season was limited to just 23 regular season games because of injury and AHL call-ups, he played a big role in the Orlando series. Auger helped the 'Blades to their first overtime win of the season last year with his overtime tally on Dec. 22 in a 6-5 victory. Just two days prior to that, he hit the No. 1 spot on SportsCenter with his goal in a 4-2 road win against the Solar Bears. Auger has had at least one point in each of Florida's first three games this season. 

Cody Donaghey (ORL) - The blueliner is Orlando's leading returning scorer from last season — he had 15 goals and 43 points in 64 games — and is tied for the team lead with two points through the first three games of the year. Donaghey, a native of St. John's, Newfoundland, was a consistent offensive force in head-to-head meetings with Florida last year, scoring eight points (4g-4a) in 11 games against the Everblades. 

Same Old Solar BearsEverblades fans will notice a lot of familiar names on Orlando's roster when the two teams meet for the first time this season on Friday. The Solar Bears have 14 players on their current roster who suited up for the team last year. That group combined to play 567 games for Orlando and registered 114 of the team's 251 goals, 45% of the team's tallies. Of those 14 players, seven played 40 or more games apiece: Mike Monfredo (71), Michael Brodzinski (69), Cody Donaghey (64), Chris LeBlanc (61), Trevor Olson (51), Dylan Fitze (51), and Kevin Lohan (40). 

Back for the 'BladesIn comparison, the Everblades have eight players on their current roster who played for the team in the 2018-19 campaign: Justin Auger, Ben Masella, John McCarron, Patrick McCarron, Michael Neville, Logan Roe, Alex Tonge, and Blake Winiecki. That octet totaled 380 man games and 95 goals for Florida last season. Florida also has returning defenseman Michael Downing under an ECHL contract, but he is currently in the AHL with the Bakersfield Condors after signing a PTO on Oct. 18. 

No Shots for YouThe Everblades have yielded the fewest shots per game in the ECHL (23.3) and have fired an average of 37.7 shots on goal per tilt, a figure that is second in the ECHL. The Everblades have been consistently at or near the top of the league in suppressing opponents' shots on goal under head coach Brad Ralph. Florida finished second in the league last year in shots against per game (27.5), first in the 2017-18 season (26.6), and fifth in 2016-17 (29.4). 

​​​​​​Next UpFlorida returns to Estero on Saturday night to close out the home-and-home series with Orlando. Saturday is the first of eight matchups at Hertz Arena between the in-state rivals this season. 

2019-20 Blades 365 Memberships are on sale now!

Get great seat locations, big savings and exclusive year-round experiences with a full season, 24-game or 12-game Blades 365 Membership!

SPECIAL OFFER! Purchase a new Blades 365 Membership for the 2019-20 season and receive a $20 gift card to Ford’s Garage and an Everblades tote bag!

To view the Blades 365 Membership 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!

The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators and AHL's Milwaukee Admirals

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