ESTERO, Fla. — With sole possession of first place in the South Division on the line, the Florida Everblades (11-4-0-0, 22 pts.) meet the South Carolina Stingrays (11-2-0-0, 22 pts.) for the first time this season on Friday night at Hertz Arena.
Last time outZach Magwood posted his first career ECHL multi-goal game and Cam Johnson stopped all 32 shots he faced to earn his second career shutout and first of the season in a 3-0 win against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on Sunday afternoon. In the final game of a stretch of four tilts in five days, Florida scored once in the opening period and twice more in the second to skate to its fourth straight win and 16th straight victory against Greenville. RECAP | BOX SCORE
Series At A GlanceSouth Carolina is the Everblades’ most-played opponent in franchise history, and Friday is the 195th all-time meeting between the two sides. Florida owns a 104-68-22 all-time record against the Stingrays and finished with a 5-2-1-0 mark against South Carolina last season. This season, Florida will square off with the Stingrays on 10 occasions, including four matchups at Hertz Arena and six tilts at North Charleston Coliseum. The 10 matchups between the storied rivals this year are the most head-to-head tilts in one season since the 2016-17 campaign.
Players to WatchKen Appleby (FLA) - The fifth-year pro has had a stellar start to the season between the pipes and is tied with Toledo's Pat Nagle for the ECHL lead with seven wins. Appleby ranks fourth in the league in goals-against average with a scintillating 1.90 GAA and is ninth in save percentage (.923). Friday will be Appleby's fifth home start of the year. He has yielded just five goals through his first four home starts.
Andrew Cherniwchan (SC) – South Carolina's captain is back for his fourth straight season with the Stingrays and his eighth campaign total with the organization. He leads the team in goals (7) and is tied for the team lead in points (14) this season. The veteran has split his career between the AHL and ECHL, playing in 173 career AHL games and 229 career ECHL contests. He has netted 83 goals and 184 points in his ECHL career.
Blank SlateFlorida's shutout on Sunday in Greenville was its first of the season and first since blanking the Jacksonville Icemen, 3-0, on Jan. 25 of last season. The 'Blades had four total shutouts last season — two shutouts on the road and two shutouts at home. Three of Florida's last five shutouts have come against Greenville.
Defensively MindedFlorida’s defense is amid one of its best stretches over the last three seasons and has surrendered just three goals over the last four games. That’s the fewest goals allowed by the ‘Blades in a four-game stretch since they gave up three tallies over four games from Feb. 3-10, 2018. Because of that strong defensive play, Florida now sits first in the ECHL in goals allowed per game (2.27) and has given up less than three goals in nine contests this year.
Super while ShorthandedAfter starting the season at just 76.9% (20-26) on the penalty kill through its first six games, Florida has really picked up the pace while shorthanded in recent weeks. The 'Blades have yielded just one power-play goal over their last seven games and are converting at 96.4% (27-28) on the penalty kill in that stretch. That prowess has elevated Florida to third in the league in overall penalty kill at 87.3%.
Next UpFlorida wraps up the two-game series against the Stingrays on Saturday night, which is Marvel Night. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m. for the series finale at Hertz Arena.
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The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators and AHL's Milwaukee Admirals