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PREVIEW: Florida eyes split with Swamp Rabbits on Saturday

Saturday, December 21st
PREVIEW: Florida eyes split with Swamp Rabbits on Saturday

ESTERO, Fla. — The Florida Everblades (16-8-2-2, 36 pts.) conclude a stretch of four consecutive three-game weeks when they host the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (14-13-0-1, 29 pts.) in the finale of a two-game set on Saturday at Hertz Arena.

VITALS:Game 29: Everblades vs. Greenville Swamp RabbitsWhen: 7 p.m. ETWhere: Hertz ArenaTickets: TicketmasterWatch: ECHL TVListen: WJBX (101.5 FM, 104.3 FM, 770 AM)Social: Twitter | InstagramPromotion: Star Wars Night

Last time outEverblades captain John McCarron notched three assists to surpass 200 points in his career with the franchise, but Greenville scored four of the final five goals in the game in a 5-3 victory on Friday at Hertz Arena. Florida opened the scoring just nine seconds into the game on Hugo Roy’s fifth goal of the season, and Mike Neville netted his first goal of the year to give the ‘Blades the lead after the first. But Greenville scored twice in the second and third to earn the win. RECAP | BOX SCORE

Series At A GlanceSaturday is the second of Florida’s six matchups against the Swamp Rabbits at Hertz Arena, and the two teams will play 11 times in total this year. Greenville had a 16-game losing streak in the series before winning on Friday. Prior to Friday, the Swamp Rabbits last beat the 'Blades on Feb. 2, 2018, a 4-3 shootout win. Greenville's last regulation win against Florida was a 5-2 triumph on March 10, 2017. Despite the loss, Florida still owns a 54-32-15 all-time record against Greenville through the first 101 meetings.

Players to WatchJohn McCarron (FLA) - The 'Blades captain moved into sole possession of fifth place in franchise history for career assists with his three-assist game on Friday. He now has 200 points and 115 helpers in his Everblades career in 201 career games with the team. McCarron leads Florida with 18 assists this season and is tied for the team lead with 24 points. 

Michael Pelech (GVL) - Greenville's captain posted a pair of critical points on Friday, assisting on the Swamp Rabbits' second goal to tie the game and scoring the eventual game-winning goal on a 5-on-3 power play in the third period. Pelech finished fifth in the league in assists last season with 47 in 72 games. The 11th year pro has 506 career points (159g-347a) in 669 career ECHL games. 

Power Play Picking Up SteamAfter going 11 games without a power-play goal at home, the Everblades have now notched power-play strikes in consecutive home games for the first time this season. The 'Blades scored on their third home power-play chance on Oct. 19 against the Norfolk Admirals but then went 44 home power-play opportunities without a goal before scoring on Wednesday against Atlanta. The 'Blades are 2-for-8 on the power play over the last two home games. 

Opening StatementFlorida scored once in the first period of its first 10 home games, but it has flipped the script over its last four home games. The 'Blades tabbed multiple goals in the opening period of a home game for the first time this season on Dec. 13 against Kansas City and did it again on Friday night against Greenville. The ‘Blades have gone scoreless in the first period just once in their last four home games and have five first-period goals in that stretch.

Sluggish StartsThe Swamp Rabbits' first-period woes continued in the series opener on Friday. Greenville yielded two goals in the opening frame and has now surrendered a league-high 39 goals in the first period this season. The Swamp Rabbits' -11-goal differential in the first period is tied for the worst first-period goal differential in the ECHL.  

Next UpThe Everblades continue their seven-game homestand with a two-game series against the Jacksonville Icemen next Friday and Saturday, Dec. 27-28.

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BLADES 365 MEMBERSHIPS Blades 365 Memberships are still on sale for the 2019-20 season! Get great seat locations, big savings and exclusive year-round experiences with a full season, 24-game or 12-game Blades 365 Membership!

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.

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