WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Following a day off on Thursday, the Florida Everblades (11-6-1-0, 23 pts.) aim to halt a three-game winless streak when they face the Utah Grizzlies (7-7-2-1, 17 pts.) on Friday night at the Maverik Center in the middle game of a three-game series.
Last time outMichael Huntebrinker and Blake Winiecki each netted a pair of goals to help the Everblades earn a point in a 5-4 overtime loss to Utah on Wednesday night in the series opener at the Maverik Center. Trailing by two less than halfway into the first, Florida quickly responded to tie the game at two heading to the first intermission. After the 'Blades took a lead in the second period, Utah scored the next two goals to surge ahead in the third. Huntebrinker's second goal of the night tied the game 6:49 into the third period to force overtime. RECAP | BOX SCORE
Series At A GlanceFriday is just the third all-time meeting between the Everblades and Grizzlies and the second-ever matchup between the two teams in Utah. Before this week, the only previous meeting came in Estero, a game the Grizzlies won, 4-3, on March 8, 2017. This is the second straight season the Everblades have paid a visit to a Mountain Division team for the first time in their franchise history. Last season, the 'Blades lone Mountain Division series was a three-game set in Rapid City, South Dakota, against the Rush, the first-ever meetings between the two teams. Florida won the series with Rapid City, 2-1.
Players to WatchBen Masella (FLA) - The second-year 'Blades defenseman has been off to a hot start through the first quarter of the regular season and is already just one assist shy of his total from the 2018-19 campaign. He matched his career-high for both points and assists in a regular season game with three helpers in Wednesday's overtime loss. With 12 points (1g-11a) through 17 games, Masella is already more than halfway to his career-best point total of 22 (3g-19a) from his rookie season with Worcester in 2017-18.
Felix Lauzon (UTA) – Entering Wednesday's matchup, Lauzon had three points through his first 13 games of his rookie season, but he matched that with a three-point performance (1g-2a) against Florida. His three-point effort tied the most points by an opposing player against Florida this season. The 2018-19 winner of the Guy Carbonneau Trophy as the Best Defensive Forward in the QMJHL, Lauzon put up 215 career points (85g-130a) in a five-year career in major juniors.
Double the FunThe multi-goal efforts by Winiecki and Huntebrinker on Wednesday were the fifth and sixth multi-goal games by a 'Blades player this season. It was the first time this year that Florida has had two players record multiple goals in the same game. Oddly enough, all six multi-goal nights this season have been on the road. The multi-goal outings were the first of the season for both Winiecki and Huntebrinker, and each player now has six in his ECHL career.
Last Time It Happened...Not only was Wednesday's setback Florida's first overtime or shootout loss of the season, but it was actually the first time it had lost in the extra session in almost a year. The 'Blades last dropped a game decided in overtime on Dec. 21, 2018, when they fell 4-3 in overtime to the Orlando Solar Bears at the Amway Center.
Suffocating DefenseDespite playing into overtime on Wednesday, the Everblades limited Utah to just 28 shots on goal in the game, which was the 10th time over the last 11 games that Florida has yielded less than 30 shots on goal. Florida has allowed 25 shots on goal or less in eight contests this year. The 'Blades have given up more than 30 shots on goal just four times.
Next UpFlorida wraps up its only Mountain Division road series of the regular season with a Saturday night matchup against Utah. Faceoff is set for 9:10 p.m. ET.
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