WHO: Florida Everblades vs. Orlando Solar BearsWHERE: Amway Center (Orlando, FL)WHEN: Thursday, February 3, at 7:00 pmBROADCAST: Watch every Florida Everblades game on FloHockey.TV. Listen to the exciting game action on ESPN Southwest Florida on 770 AM, 98.1 FM, 104.3 FM and online athttps://espnswfl.com. ESTERO, Fla. – Punxsutawney Phil has spoken and the Everblades are ready to conquer a busy February schedule with the first of two road games in Central Florida against the Orlando Solar Bears. Thursday’s matchup brings the Sunshine State rivals into a stretch in which the Blades will face off against the Bears for five straight games.
THE OPPONENT: All three games this week see the Everblades facing off the Orlando Solar Bears, opening a five-game run for the team against their South Division rivals from Central Florida. The Bears, who sport a 12-4-2-0 home record, enter play in fourth place in the South with a 20-15-3-0 overall record, good for 43 points and a .566 points percentage.
THE SERIES: No strangers to each other, the Everblades and Solar Bears have split four games this season. The rivals exchanged 3-2 victories back in November, with each team winning at the other’s arena. In December, the Blades hung a 5-0 shutout victory on the Bears at the Amway Center, while Orlando captured a 4-3 triumph at The Swamp on December 29.
LOOKING AHEAD: Including this week, 11 of the Blades’ final 31 games are against the Solar Bears. Taking a gander at the remaining schedule, the squads will head back to Orlando for back-to-back games on Saturday, February 12 and Sunday, February 13, concluding a run of five consecutive games between the teams. Six more meetings between the clubs await after that, with four of the six games slated for Hertz Arena.
VETERANS AND VOMACKA ARE ON BEAR PATROL: In four meetings against the Solar Bears this season, Blake Winiecki tops all Everblades with six points, as he has scored one goal and produced a team-high five assists. Joe Pendenza has a team-best three goals to go with one assist for four points. John McCarron (2G, 2A) and Levko Koper (1G, 3A) also have collected four points against the Blades’ closest geographic rival. In goal, Tomas Vomacka sports a 1-1 record versus the Bears with a spiffy 1.51 GAA and a .946 save percentage.
LEADERS AND LEGENDS: The Everblades continue to have four players among the ECHL Top-10 scorers. Blake Winiecki continues the lead the ECHL with 45 points (19G, 26A), while John McCarron (16G, 24A) is fifth with 40 points, Alex Aleardi (20G, 19A) and Joe Pendenza (16G, 22A) are tied for sixth and ninth respectively. On the other side, as Orlando’s leading scorer Aaron Luchuk (27 points, 12G, 15A) is currently with the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack, the Bears are led by and Tristin Langan (25 points, 8G, 17A), who just rejoined the club from the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. Other top performers are defenseman Michael Brodzinski, who sports 24 points on six goals and a team-high 18 assists, and forward Luke Boka who has scored 10 goals.
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The Florida Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators and the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals.