CINCINNATI — The Florida Everblades (4-1-0-0, 8 pts.) begin their first three-game week of the season with a Wednesday night matchup against the Central Division’s Cincinnati Cyclones (2-1-1-0, 5 pts.) at U.S. Bank Arena.
Last time outThe Orlando Solar Bears scored the game’s first goal, coming six minutes, 33 seconds into the third period, but Florida’s Michael Huntebrinker tied the score at one with 7:28 left in regulation to force overtime in an eventual 2-1 shootout win for Florida. The Everblades overcame two separate penalty kills in vital situations — one with four minutes left in regulation and the other with less than two minutes to go in overtime — to get the game to the shootout. Blake Winiecki and Zach Magwood both scored in the shootout for Florida, while goaltender Ken Appleby held out both of Orlando’s shots to preserve the win. Appleby finished with 27 saves in his third straight victory. RECAP | BOX SCORE
Series historyWednesday will be the 27th all-time meeting between the Everblades and Cyclones, the only regular season matchup between the two teams this year. Florida has the edge in the all-time series with a 14-9-3 mark against Cincinnati. However, the two teams haven’t squared off since a three-game series in Florida in the 2016-17 season. It’s been seven seasons since the two teams battled in Cincinnati. The Everblades won a pair of one-goal affairs at U.S. Bank Arena on Dec. 12 and Dec. 14, 2012, earning 4-3 and 2-1 victories, respectively.
Players to WatchKen Appleby (FLA) - The fifth-year pro is expected to make his fourth start of the season on Wednesday night and has earned victories in each of his first three. Appleby turned out 40 of the 41 shots he faced last weekend and now ranks third in the ECHL with a 1.67 goals-against average. A native of North Bay, Ontario, Appleby has logged a 32-18-2-2 record in 56 career ECHL appearances.
Michael Houser (CIN) – The reigning ECHL Goaltender of the Year, Houser is coming off a stellar 2018-19 season that saw him post a 29-7-4-1 record, a .922 save percentage and a 2.13 goals-against average. He has appeared in at least 40 games in each of the last three ECHL campaigns and has already seen action in all four of Cincinnati’s games this year. Five of Houser’s seven ECHL seasons have been with Cincinnati, while he has also played for the Fort Wayne Komets and the Manchester Monarchs.
Leading the PackCoincidentally, Wednesday’s matchup features the two most recent Brabham Cup winners. Last season, Florida just fell short of its second consecutive Brabham Cup, which is awarded to the ECHL’s top team in the regular season. Cincinnati won the Brabham Cup with a 110-point season, narrowly edging the Everblades, which finished with 106 points. Florida won the Brabham Cup in 2017-18 with a team-record 112-point campaign.
Same Setting, Different TeamsEverblades defenseman Michael Downing and goaltender Cam Johnson have both played in U.S. Bank Arena previously. However, the two players were on separate sides the last time they were in the building. Johnson and the University of North Dakota ended Downing and the University of Michigan’s season in the 2016 Regional Final in Cincinnati with a 5-2 victory. Johnson and UND went on to capture the NCAA Championship a few weeks later.
Head to HeadWednesday’s matchup won’t be the first time Cyclones head coach Matt Thomas and Everblades bench boss Brad Ralph have faced one another. Ralph’s first season in the ECHL, the 2012-13 campaign with the Idaho Steelheads, was Thomas’ last season in the league before a five-year stint at the University of Alaska-Anchorage. Ralph guided the Steelheads to the 2013 Western Conference Final that season, where the Steelheads met Thomas’ Stockton Thunder. Stockton eventually won that series in five games. This is Thomas’ second season with Cincinnati, while Ralph is in his fourth season in Florida.
Next UpFlorida has an off day on Thursday before continuing the three-game week with a Friday night matchup in Fort Wayne, Indiana, against the Komets. Faceoff is slated for 8:05 p.m. ET.
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