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PREVIEW: 'Blades open heavy road stretch with tilt against Stingrays

Friday, January 3rd
PREVIEW: 'Blades open heavy road stretch with tilt against Stingrays

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — Trying to match their season-best winning streak, the Florida Everblades (19-8-2-2, 42 pts.) open a stretch of four games in five days with the series opener of a two-game set against the South Carolina Stingrays (23-2-3-1, 50 pts.) on Friday at North Charleston Coliseum.  

VITALS:Game 32: Everblades at South Carolina StingraysWhen: 7:05 p.m. ETWhere: North Charleston ColiseumWatch: ECHL TVListen: WJBX (101.5 FM, 104.3 FM, 770 AM)Social: Twitter | Instagram

Last time outHunter Garlent notched his first career multi-goal game, and Tom McCollum stopped 23 shots in his Everblades debut to help Florida to a 6-1 win over the Jacksonville Icemen on Saturday at Hertz Arena. Hugo Roy established a new career-high with a three-point night (1g-2a), while Michael Neville (1g-1a), Nick Schaus (2a) and Blake Winiecki (2a) also had multi-point games to give the 'Blades their second straight six-goal performance. RECAP | BOX SCORE

Series At A GlanceFriday is the fifth meeting of the season between Florida and South Carolina, but it's the first matchup this year at North Charleston Coliseum. The two teams will meet for the 199th time on Friday night, with the 'Blades holding a 105-71-22 record (.586%) against the Stingrays. Florida finished with a 3-2-0 record in South Carolina last season. 

Players to WatchLevko Koper (FLA) - After tabbing just two points in his first six games, Koper has become a model of consistency over his last seven games. He has tabbed a point in all but one of those seven contests and owns a three-game point streak (2g-4a) entering Friday night. A fourth-year pro, Koper has produced 40 points (14g-26a) in 87 career games between the AHL and ECHL. 

Mark Cooper (SC) - Cooper is the leading active scorer for the Stingrays with 28 points (11g-17a) and has played in all 29 games this season. The fourth-year pro has notched three of South Carolina's 10 goals in the head-to-head matchups against Florida this season, including a two-goal outing against the Everblades on Nov. 23. A product of Bowling Green State University, Cooper has tabbed 154 points (63g-91a) in 181 career ECHL games. 

Dynamic DecemberThanks to the strong offensive output over the last three weeks, Florida has moved to seventh overall in the ECHL in goals scored per game (3.55). After being shut out by South Carolina on Dec. 6, the 'Blades sat 17th in the league in that category, averaging 3.09 goals per contest. Florida scored five or more goals only three times in its first 24 games, but it has put up five goals or more in three straight tilts and five of its last seven games. 

Opening StatementEntering their seven-game homestand, the Everblades had scored the first goal in only one of their first 10 home games. Florida then completely reversed course on that trend during the homestand by scoring first in six of the seven games. The 'Blades were 5-1-0 when they scored first during the homestand. Florida is 10-3-0-1 overall when scoring first this season. 

On the Road AgainAfter playing a season-high seven straight games at home, the 'Blades are on the road for eight of their next nine games. That stretch includes five consecutive road games from Jan. 10-18, which is Florida's longest run of consecutive road contests this year. The Everblades played 13 of their first 21 games on the road before playing nine of their last 10 games at home. 

Next UpThe Everblades battle the Stingrays again on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. ET, the second game of Florida's three-game weekend. 

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The Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators and AHL's Milwaukee Admirals

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