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PREVIEW: Florida starts Central Division swing in Kalamazoo

Wednesday, January 15th
PREVIEW: Florida starts Central Division swing in Kalamazoo

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Florida Everblades (22-11-2-2, 48 pts.) begin their final stretch of road non-conference games with a Wednesday night matchup against the Kalamazoo Wings (12-18-4-0, 28 pts.) at the Wings Event Center, the first of two matchups between the teams over four days.

VITALS:Game 38: Everblades at Kalamazoo WingsWhen: 7 p.m. ETWhere: Wings Event CenterWatch: ECHL TVListen: WJBX (101.5 FM, 104.3 FM, 770 AM)Social: Twitter | Instagram

Last time outLogan Thompson turned away 41 shots, and the South Carolina Stingrays scored the first three goals of the game to earn a 4-1 win over the Everblades on Saturday at North Charleston Coliseum. Trailing by two at the start of the third period, Florida made a furious push in an attempt to pull even and fired 23 shots on goal in the final frame. Thompson stopped all 23 shots in the third to help the Stingrays halt a three-game winless streak against Florida. RECAP

Series At A GlanceWednesday is the 23rd all-time matchup between Florida and Kalamazoo and the first meeting since March 2017. The 'Blades have an all-time record of 14-3-5 against the Wings since they began play in the ECHL in the 2009-10 campaign. Florida won two out of three games in the most recent series from March 29-April 1, 2017, a series that took place in Estero. Kalamazoo beat the 'Blades, 3-2, in the last meeting in Kalamazoo on March 22, 2017. 

Players to WatchBlake Winiecki (FLA) - The second-year Everblades forward posted a career-best nine shots on goal on Saturday in South Carolina, the highest shot total by a 'Blades player this season. Winiecki was the most recent to achieve the Everblades' previous season-high of seven shots on goal on Dec. 27, 2018, against Jacksonville. He leads Florida and is tied for sixth in the league with 125 shots on goal. 

Dylan Sadowy (KAL) - The fourth-year pro leads Kalamazoo in goals (17) and points (34) and has posted eight multi-point games this season, including four points on two occasions. The Woodbridge, Ontario, native totaled a career-best 46-point season (23g, 23a) in 2018-19 with the Toledo Walleye. Sadowy netted 188 career points (116g, 72a) in 258 games in the Ontario Hockey League from 2012-16. 

Shot in the ArmThe Everblades got a big boost on Tuesday, as the AHL's Charlotte Checkers reassigned defenseman Derek Sheppard to the club. Though Florida is no longer affiliated with the Carolina Hurricanes, it still has the ECHL rights to Sheppard, who posted a franchise record among rookie defensemen with his 40-point season (14g, 26a) in 2018-19. 

Peppering the NetFlorida's 23-shot third period against South Carolina was its highest single-period shot total this season, surpassing a 20-shot second period against the Stingrays on Jan. 4. Interestingly enough, the 'Blades two highest shot totals for one period have both come against South Carolina, a team yielding the fourth-fewest shots on goal per game in the ECHL (29.06). 

Taking ControlAfter tabbing the first goal seven times in an eight-game stretch from Dec. 13-Jan. 3, the 'Blades have yielded the first tally in five straight games. However, Florida has been a difficult team to beat when it does score first, especially in road tilts. Entering Wednesday, the 'Blades are 6-1-0-1 when they score first on the road. Florida's only regulation road loss in such games came in a 4-2 setback to Fort Wayne on Nov. 1. 

Next UpFollowing Wednesday's game in Kalamazoo, the 'Blades travel to face the Indy Fuel on Thursday in only the second all-time meeting between the two teams in Indianapolis. 

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