WHO: Everblades vs. Atlanta Gladiators
WHERE: Gas South Arena (Duluth, Ga.)
WHEN: Friday, December 31 at 7:30 pm
BROADCAST: Watch every Florida Everblades game on FloHockey.TV.ESTERO, Fla - The Florida Everblades will close out the 2021 calendar year Friday night with a New Year’s Eve battle against the Atlanta Gladiators at 7:30 pm in Gas South Arena in Duluth, Ga. Friday’s series opener kicks off a three-in-three set in the Peach State that continues Saturday at 7:30 pm before concluding Sunday afternoon at 3:00 pm.
THE OPPONENT: The Atlanta Gladiators carry a 12-11-2-1 record into Friday’s game which is good for fourth place in the ECHL’s South Division. Cody Sylvester leads all Atlanta skaters with 22 points (11 G, 11 A). Hugo Roy, currently with the AHL’s Belleville Senators, has scored a team-high 12 goals, while Luke Nogard has dished out a team-best 15 assists.
THE SERIES: Florida and Atlanta have faced off four times this season, with the Everblades holding a 2-1-1-0 advantage. Following a 3-2 overtime setback in Gas South Arena on November 17, the Blades took two of three games from the Gladiators on Hertz Arena ice right before the Christmas break. The Everblades won the series opener 3-1 on Wednesday, December 15, dropped a 2-1 heartbreaker on Friday the 17th and took a decisive 5-1 win in the rubber game on Saturday, December 18. All-time, Florida holds a decisive 106-56-15 (.641) edge in 177 meetings between the rivals.
LAST TIME OUT: The Everblades suffered a 4-3 loss to the Orlando Solar Bears Saturday night at Hertz Arena, watching a modest two-game winning streak fall by the wayside. Just 1:21 into the contest, Joe Pendenza scored his 10th goal of the season to give the Blades a 1-0 lead before Orlando’s Hunter Fejes tied the game at 1-1 just over two minutes later, a score that would carry into the second period. Ben Masella netted an unassisted tally at 6:55 of the second period, giving Florida a 2-1 lead. Two Orlando goals in the final five minutes of the stanza would flip the lead and put the Solar Bears ahead 3-2 heading into the second intermission. Fejes’ second goal of the game at 5:01 of the third period extended the Orlando lead to 4-2, before Pendenza’s second of the night and 11th of the year ended the scoring at 4-3. Masella, Nathan Perkovich, John McCarron and Jordan Sambrook registered assists for the Everblades.
ROAD WARRIORS: As the Everblades head up I-75 for the three-game series with Atlanta, the boys have collected an ECHL best 23 points on the road, posting an impressive 10-0-2-1 record in 13 games away from Hertz Arena. The Blades are the first team in the league to secure 10 road victories and join Newfoundland (9-0-0-0) as the only two ECHL clubs yet to suffer a regulation setback.
THE JOE AND ALEX TRAVELING ROAD SHOW: Individually, Joe Pendenza sports a current 10-game road point streak (8 G, 9 A, 17 pts), while Alex Aleardi has a current nine-game road point streak (7 G, 8 A, 15 pts), with both streaks dating back to November 12. Pendenza’s 10-game road point streak is the longest by an ECHL player this season.
BLADES AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS: Despite not dressing on Wednesday, Blake Winiecki continues to rank towards the top of the ECHL offensive leaders, as his 32 points are tied for second, one behind the league leader, and his 14 goals are tied for third place. Alex Aleardi is right behind Winiecki in sixth place with 13 goals. Cam Johnson ranks fourth among ECHL goaltenders with a 2.13 GAA. Among ECHL rookies, Jake Jaremko is tied for seventh place with 19 points, while he is tied for the rookie lead with six power-play assists and is tied for second among newcomers with eight points.
NINE IN A ROW FOR THE CAPTAIN: John McCarron picked up an assist with two minutes remaining in Wednesday’s game to run his streak to nine straight games with at least one point – one game removed from collecting his 150th goal in an Everblade sweater, including playoffs. The sizzling Captain Everblade has tallied at least one point in each of the nine games he has played this month. Over those nine games, McCarron has collected 10 points on three goals and seven assists.
ENDING ONE STREAK JUST MEANS IT’S TIME TO START ANOTHER: Two impressive streaks fell in Wednesday’s 4-3 setback to Orlando. Jake Jaremko had his point streak fall after seven straight games. In those seven games, Jaremko had collected nine points on three goals and six assists. Kody McDonald watched his point-scoring streak end at six games. During that run, McDonald had scored a pair of goals and added four assists.RIDE, CAPTAIN RIDE: In addition to collecting 10 points on three goals and seven assists in nine December games, Captain John McCarron continues his rise on the Everblades record book. With 355 career points in an Everblades sweater, including playoffs, captain John McCarron is now just 10 points shy of Reggie Berg’s franchise record of 365. In regular-season games, McCarron’s 309 career points ranks third, just one out of second place (310, Tom Buckley) and 10 points short of the franchise mark (319, Reggie Berg). In the goal and assist departments, with 132 regular-season goals and 177 regular-season assists, McCarron is one goal away from second place all-time in regular-season goals. Additionally, with 150 career goals in all games including playoffs, McCarron is now tied for second place all-time in that category and just 14 markers shy of the all-time mark (Reggie Berg, 164).
EYE ON THE COACH: Everblades veteran head coach Brad Ralph is ONE win away from his 500th win as a head coach and TWO wins shy of 250 wins in Southwest Florida. In his 12th season as a head coach, Ralph sports a 499-208-67 (.688) career record. Breaking it down, Ralph sports a 451-188-63 (.687) mark in the pro ranks, a 380-154-56 (.692) ledger in the ECHL, and a 248-90-36 (.711) mark with the Blades.
NEXT UP FOR THE BLADES: Following the weekend series against the Gladiators, the Everblades return to Hertz Arena for their first look at the South Carolina Stingrays this season. Games are slated for Friday, January 7 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, January 8 at 7:00 pm.
During each Friday home game of the 2021-22 season, fans can enjoy the action with a 239 ticket package, which pays tribute to Southwest Florida's area code and provides a great deal! You get two premium seat tickets, two autographed programs, and two tasty mushroom and swiss burgers for just $39! To purchase tickets, visit HERE. Also, enjoy Faith and Family Night with the Blades including a post-game slapshot contest for all groups!
In addition, every Saturday home matchup this season will kick off with a free pregame tailgate party! Come out to Hertz Arena early and tailgate from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. This Saturday’s tailgate party will feature live music by Chris Bepko, kids’ activities, and food and drinks for all ages! Saturday night is also Canadian Night presented by TD Bank. Enjoy Canadian themed items all throughout the night!
Read more about the Blades’ busy promotional schedule and great deals HERE.
JOIN THE FUNBecome a member of the Florida Everblades family by securing a great seat location and big savings with a Blades 365 Membership!
Purchase a new Voucher 12 package that allows you to use 12 tickets in any quantity during the 2021-22 season to earn the exclusive benefits of being a Blades 365 Member! To view the Blades 365 Membership savings, benefits and options click HERE.
Everblades put the FUN in FUNdraising! There is no handling of money or tickets and no limit to the amount of money your group can make with the Everblades easy-to-run online Fundraiser! For more information, or to reserve a Fundraiser Night at an Everblades regular season home game, call or text (239) 948-7825.
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The Florida Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators and the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals.