ESTERO, Fla. — Aiming to push their winning streak to four games, the Florida Everblades (7-3-0-0, 14 pts.) host the Jacksonville Icemen (1-5-2-0, 4 pts.) in their final game of a three-game week on Saturday night at Hertz Arena.
Last time outMichael Huntebrinker netted his fifth goal of the season to tie the game at one halfway through the third period, and Blake Winiecki scored with just 48 seconds left in overtime to lift the Everblades to a 2-1 win over the Orlando Solar Bears on Friday night. Florida dominated the possession in the game and finished with a 41-22 edge in shots on goal, including a stark 20-4 edge in the third period and overtime. Ken Appleby earned his fifth win with a 21-save effort. RECAP | BOX SCORE
Series At A GlanceSaturday is the first of 13 meetings this season between Florida and Jacksonville. Last season, Florida finished with a 9-3-1-0 record against the Icemen, including a perfect 6-0-0-0 mark at Hertz Arena. The ‘Blades have a 22-3-2 record against the Icemen since Jacksonville joined the ECHL in 2017-18. Florida has been dominant on home ice against the Icemen, compiling a 13-0-1-0 mark against Jacksonville at Hertz Arena.
Players to WatchBlake Winiecki (FLA) - Entering last Saturday, Winiecki had not scored an overtime-winning goal in his professional career. The second-year pro now has two overtime winners in the last week after scoring in overtime on Friday against Orlando. Winiecki now has six game-winners in his career. Though he hadn't scored in overtime before last Saturday, Winiecki does have four shootout-winning goals over the last two seasons and has been a key figure in big moments for the Everblades. He is currently riding a three-game point streak (2g-2a).
Maxime Fortier (JAX) – Although he only played in 24 games for Jacksonville last season, Fortier still put up big numbers. He sat just above a point-per-game average for the Icemen with 25 points (12 G, 13 A) and registered multiple points in seven contests. In the playoffs, Fortier had four goals and three assists in the South Division Semifinals series against Florida and led all Icemen players in scoring. His major junior career with the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL saw him put up 270 points (104 G, 166 A) in 263 career games.
Home CookingThe Everblades are undefeated at home through four games for the first time in 12 seasons. Florida is just two wins shy of tying its best home start in franchise history, which was established by the 2007-08 squad that won its first six home games. The only other time Florida has started the season at 4-0-0-0 at home was the 1999-00 season.
Close CallsHalf of Florida's 10 games have been decided by just one goal this season. Of the ECHL teams which have played more than one game decided by one goal, Florida is the only one still undefeated (5-0-0-0). South Carolina is the only other undefeated team in one-goal contests, but the Stingrays have only played one such game.
On the Comeback TrailDespite facing a deficit at some point in all 10 of their games this year, the Everblades have been adept at climbing out of those holes. Florida has come from behind in all seven of its wins this season and has answered a third-period deficit to win in four games. In fact, Florida has come from behind in the third period in three straight games. Last season, the Everblades had five wins when they trailed in the third period. Two of those four wins involved multi-goal comebacks.
Next UpFlorida finishes out its four-game homestand with a Wednesday night matchup against the Orlando Solar Bears. Faceoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Hertz Arena.
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