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PREVIEW: 'Blades face 'Rays, try to whittle gap for first place

Saturday, February 1st
PREVIEW: 'Blades face 'Rays, try to whittle gap for first place

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — With wins in seven straight games, the Florida Everblades (29-11-2-2, 62 pts.) aim to close the gap for first place in the South Division when they battle the South Carolina Stingrays (32-8-3-1, 68 pts.) on Saturday night at North Charleston Coliseum.  

VITALS:Game 45: Everblades at South Carolina StingraysWhen: 6:05 p.m. ETWhere: North Charleston ColiseumWatch: ECHL TVListen: WJBX (101.5 FM, 104.3 FM, 770 AM)Social: Twitter | Instagram

Last time outBehind a 33-save effort from Cam Johnson and a three-point night from rookie forward Hugo Roy (1g, 2a), Florida topped the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, 4-2, on Friday night at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Playing the Swamp Rabbits for the seventh time this season, Florida got out to a 2-0 lead after the first period and tacked on two more goals in the second period from Roy and Justin Auger en route to its fifth win against Greenville. Logan Roe and Cody Sol had the other two tallies for the 'Blades. RECAP

Series At A GlanceSaturday is the eighth of 10 matchups between Florida and South Carolina this season and the fourth of six meetings at North Charleston Coliseum. The 'Blades have posted a 3-4-0 record against the Stingrays this season, including a 2-1-0 mark at North Charleston Coliseum. With a win on Saturday, Florida can become the only team in the South Division with a .500 record in head-to-head matchups with the Stingrays this year. Saturday marks the 202nd all-time tilt between the long-time rivals. Florida holds an overall record of 107-72-22 against South Carolina since the teams first met in the 1998-99 season. 

Players to WatchLogan Roe (FLA) - Roe scored for the second straight game and finished as a +1 rating on Friday against Greenville to solidify his league-leading month of January in plus-minus. Roe posted a +13 rating in January, which was the highest mark in the ECHL, and now leads the ECHL with a +35 rating for the season. The fifth-year pro already has career-highs for goals (12) and points (37) this season and is just four assists from establishing a career-high in that category. His best plus-minus rating was a +43 in the 2017-18 season. 

Dan DeSalvo (SC) - The fifth-year pro hasn't played against Florida since the last meeting in Estero, Florida, on Dec. 7. Though he's missed eight games while on AHL call-ups this season, DeSalvo is still right among the team's offensive leaders. He is tied for second among Stingrays skaters in goals (16), tied for second in assists (23) and tied for second in points (39). This is the first season since his first pro campaign that DeSalvo has played more than 15 games in the ECHL in any one year. 

Holding ServeFriday was already the 23rd time this season that the Everblades have held an opponent to less than three goals. The 'Blades have posted a stellar record of 22-1-0-0 in games where their opponent scores less than three times. The only loss was a 2-0 setback against South Carolina on Dec. 6. 

Winner, WinnerFlorida's seven-game winning streak is its longest winning streak this season. The Everblades' two longest undefeated runs this year have both come in the last month. Despite a three-game losing streak from Jan. 7-11 — the only losses separating the two winning streaks — the 'Blades still have wins in 13 of their last 16 games since Dec. 21. Florida had a six-game winning streak from Dec. 21-Jan. 5. 

Short & SweetRoy's shorthanded goal on Friday was Florida's eighth shorthanded strike of the year. Entering Friday, Greenville was tied for first in the league in shorthanded goals allowed and had yielded just one shorthanded tally in its first 46 games. By winning the game, Florida continued its success in games where it has scored shorthanded. When the 'Blades have scored shorthanded they are 6-1-1-0 overall, including a 5-0-0-0 mark in road games.  

Next UpThe Everblades start a four-game week with a Wednesday night home matchup against the Orlando Solar Bears. Faceoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET at Hertz Arena. 

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

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