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PREVIEW: Florida searches for series split against South Carolina

Saturday, December 7th
PREVIEW: Florida searches for series split against South Carolina

ESTERO, Fla. — The Florida Everblades (12-7-1-2, 27 pts.) host the South Carolina Stingrays (16-2-1-0, 33 pts.) in the finale of a two-game series on Saturday night, the final regular season meeting between the two teams at Hertz Arena this season.

VITALS:Game 23: Everblades vs. South Carolina StingraysWhen: 7 p.m. ETWhere: Hertz ArenaTickets: TicketmasterWatch: ECHL TVListen: WJBX (101.5 FM, 104.3 FM, 770 AM)Social: Twitter | Instagram

Last time outMatthew Weis scored less than four minutes into the opening period, and Parker Milner stopped all 22 shots he faced to lift South Carolina to a 2-0 win over the ‘Blades in the series opener on Friday at Hertz Arena. Leading by a goal with less than six minutes left in regulation, South Carolina scored on the power play to push its lead to two. Florida outshot the Stingrays, 7-6, in the third period as it made a late push but finished with a season-low 22 shots on goal. RECAP | BOX SCORE

Series At A GlanceThe Everblades have played the Stingrays more than any other ECHL team and Saturday's contest will mark the 198th all-time meeting between the storied rivals. Florida holds a 104-71-22 record against South Carolina in an all-time series that dates back to the Everblades first season in the ECHL in 1998-99. Entering Saturday, South Carolina has earned victories in four straight games in the series dating back to the last matchup of the 2018-19 season that the Stingrays won on home ice, 6-4, on March 17, 2019. It has been 10 seasons since South Carolina last won four straight games against Florida. The Stingrays took four straight games in the 2009-10 season from Oct. 30, 2009 - Feb. 12, 2010, before Florida topped South Carolina, 4-2, at North Charleston Coliseum on Feb. 13, 2010. 

Players to WatchKen Appleby (FLA) - The 'Blades have leaned more heavily on the fifth-year pro lately, and he is projected to make his second straight start and fifth consecutive appearance on Saturday. Friday was the first time in his last four starts that Appleby yielded less than three tallies. The North Bay, Ontario, native has limited opposing teams to less than three goals in six of his 12 starts. 

Matthew Weis (SC) –  Playing in his first game against Florida this season, Weis led South Carolina's offense with a goal and an assist on Friday. The two-point night was his first multi-point game of the season and third of his ECHL career. The second-year pro spent almost all of last season in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves and registered three goals and eight assists in 60 games. He tabbed 122 points (40g-82a) in 136 career games at Ohio State University from 2014-18.   

Keep It CloseFlorida has hung close in every one of its seven regulation losses this season. Of those losses, only one has come by a margin of more than two goals, a 3-0 loss to South Carolina on Nov. 23. Two of Florida's regulation setbacks were by one goal, while four have been by two goals. Additionally, two of those two-goal margins included an empty-net tally. 

First Cut is the DeepestAlthough Florida has registered the first goal seven times this season through its first 22 games, the 'Blades have scored the first goal in just one of their nine home games. However, the 'Blades lone home game in which they tallied first did come against South Carolina. Zach Magwood scored with three seconds left in the opening frame of Florida's 3-2 loss to the Stingrays in the first meeting between the two teams this season on Nov. 22.  

Blank SlatesFlorida has been shut out in consecutive home games for only the second time in team history. The only other time an opponent held the 'Blades scoreless in two straight home tilts was Dec. 2, 2006, and Dec. 22, 2006, when the Texas Wildcatters and Stingrays blanked Florida 3-0 and 2-0, respectively. Florida has been shut out only four times at home over the last four seasons. The 'Blades weren't shut out at home in head coach Brad Ralph's first season in 2016-17 and went scoreless at home only once in each of the last two campaigns.  

Next UpThe 'Blades head back to Jacksonville for a Wednesday matchup with the Icemen. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m. in the second consecutive midweek meeting between the teams. 

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!

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 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

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