WHO: Florida Everblades at Worcester RailersWHERE: DCU Center (Worcester, Mass.)WHEN: Saturday, November 6 at 7:30 pmBROADCAST: Watch every Florida Everblades game on FloHockey.TV.ESTERO, Fla. – The Florida Everblades and the Worcester Railers open a two-game series Saturday evening at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass. The opening face-off is scheduled for 7:30 pm. The teams will close out the series Sunday afternoon at 3:05 pm.
THE OPPONENT: The Worcester Railers are the ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s New York Islanders and the AHL’s Bridgeport Islanders, formerly known as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The central Massachusetts team is off to a 1-2-0-0 start and currently finds itself in fifth place in the ECHL Eastern Conference’s North Division. Worcester did not compete during the 2020-21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One year earlier in 2019-20, the Railers compiled a 21-36-4 record which earned 46 points and a sixth-place finish in the Eastern Conference’s North Division.
THE SERIES: The Railers captured the only previous matchup with the Everblades, a 3-2 triumph at the DCU Center on January 28, 2018. Current Blades captain John McCarron scored a short-handed goal in that contest to give Florida a 2-1 lead in the second period.
BLADES’ LAST TIME OUT: The Everblades (2-2-0-1) opened a three-game road swing through New England in explosive fashion, claiming a 4-1 victory over the Maine Mariners (2-3-0-0) Friday night in Portland. The four-goal outburst was the Blades’ biggest scoring night since tallying five markers in a 5-4 victory over visiting Norfolk on October 27.
Wasting no time in lighting the lamp, Blake Winiecki smacked home a loose puck and put the Blades on top just 3:25 into the contest. Florida would hold onto its 1-0 lead into the opening minutes of the third period.
The final stanza would prove to be the Everblades’ highest-scoring period of the season, as the good guys erupted for three goals over the final 15:35 of play. In his first game as a Blade, Dylan Vander Esch paid immediate dividends, doubling the Blades’ lead to 2-0 with a tally at the 4:25 mark. Alex Aleardi tickled the twine three minutes later to extend the Florida lead to 3-0.
After the Mariners’ Lewis Zerter-Gossage snapped the shutout with 8:35 to play, John McCarron closed out the scoring with an empty-net goal in the final minutes.
In goal, Cam Johnson earned his first win of the season, stopping 24 of 25 Mariner shots. Joe Pendenza picked up two assists for the victorious Everblades, while Winiecki and Aleardi each recorded helpers and joined Pendenza in registering their first two-point games of the season.
Buoyed by eight different skaters who registered at least one point, the Everblades outshot host Maine 33-25.
WHAT’S UP WISTAH?: After splitting a home-and-home set with Maine to open the campaign, the Railers suffered a 6-2 setback to the Adirondack Thunder on Wednesday, October 27. Saturday’s game with the Everblades follows a stretch of 10 days without a game. Through three games, Brent Beaudoin currently tops all Railers skaters with three points (1 G, 2 A), while Nolan Vesey has scored a team-high two goals. Statistically, Worcester ranks 15th in the ECHL on the power play at 20.0% (2-for-10) and 25th in penalty killing at 61.5% (5-for-13).
PACKING THEM IN: After a crowd of 10,508 watched the Railers defeat Maine 4-3 on Saturday, October 23 in their only home game of the season, Worcester leads the ECHL in average home attendance. That was the second largest crowd in franchise history, trailing only the throng of 12,135 that watched the team’s inaugural game on October 14, 2017.
LAST SEASON: In 2020-21, the Everblades skated to a 42-19-5-3 record and claimed first place in the ECHL’s Eastern Conference before advancing to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Railers did not compete during the 2020-21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but back in 2019-20, Worcester compiled a 21-36-4-0 record which was good for 46 points and a sixth-place finish in the Eastern Conference’s North Division.
CAPTAIN EVERBLADE LEADS THE WAY: Florida captain John McCarron leads all Everblade skaters with six points and three goals and is tied with Joe Pendenza for the team lead with three assists. With 125 career regular-season goals while donning a Blades sweater, McCarron currently ranks third in franchise history. McCarron is just 20 goals shy of Reggie Berg’s all-time mark of 145. He also ranks fourth in Blades history with 165 regular-season assists, just 42 shy of Tom Buckley’s team record of 207.
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The Florida Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators and the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals.