ESTERO, Fla. – After enjoying home cooking for seven straight games to the tune of a 4-2-1-0 homestand, the Florida Everblades will take to the road for their first games away from Hertz Arena in the month of March. With just 12 regular-season contests remaining on the schedule, the Blades will head to Orlando and Jacksonville for three games in three days, starting with a single game against the Solar Bears Thursday night in Central Florida, before heading north for a pair against the Icemen on Friday and Saturday.
ON ICE THIS WEEK
Thursday, March 24Everblades at Solar Bears Amway Center 7:00 pm
Friday, March 25 Everblades at Icemen VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena 7:00 pm
Saturday, March 26Everblades at Icemen VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena 7:00 pm
NEWS AND NOTES
LAST WEEK IN REVIEW: The Everblades picked up five of a possible six points, posting a 2-0-1-0 mark in games played at Hertz Arena. After dropping a 5-4 overtime decision to Jacksonville on Wednesday, the Blades responded to claim back-to-back wins over Orlando. Florida topped the Solar Bears 3-0 on Friday and claimed a 3-2 victory on Saturday.
THIS WEEK’S OPPONENTS: Both of last week’s opponents are on the docket for this week, as the Everblades will head north for three contests against their Sunshine State rivals. The Blades will visit Orlando for a 7:00 pm tilt on Thursday before continuing north for a pair of 7:00 pm games in Jacksonville on Friday and Saturday.
THE SERIES WITH ORLANDO: In 12 meetings against the Solar Bears this season, the Everblades have posted a 7-4-1-0 record, including a 4-3 tally in games played at Hertz Arena and a 3-1-1 mark in games played in Orlando. The Blades have won each of the last four meetings between the rivals, outscoring the Bears 18-7 in the process, while turning in two shutout victories.
THE SERIES WITH JACKSONVILLE: In eight meetings against the Icemen this season, the Everblades have turned in a 2-1-2-3 record, but have picked up at least one point in seven of the eight games. The squads have met three times at Hertz Arena, with Jacksonville claiming one win in regulation and three victories by way of overtime or shootout. Bonus hockey has been the standard this season as six of the eight contests have gone into extra time, with four requiring a shootout.
SETTING UP THE SOUTH: The top four teams in the ECHL South will qualify for the Kelly Cup Playoffs and the seeds are far from being settled, as five squads are still in the hunt for a postseason berth. The Everblades (34-17-5-4, 77 points) sit in second place with a .642 points percentage, hot on the heels of first-place Atlanta (38-19-3-1, 80 points) which boasts a .656 points percentage. Jacksonville (34-20-3-2, 73 points) is in third place with a .619 points percentage. The battle for the fourth and final playoff spot between Orlando (29-27-4-0, 62 points) and Greenville (26-25-4-3, 59 points), has really tightened up, as those clubs have points percentages of .517 and .509, respectively.
THE COLD NEVER BOTHERED THEM ANYWAY: In eight games versus Jacksonville, Alex Aleardi and Joe Pendenza have led the way for the Blades, as they have touched the Icemen for nine points and eight points, respectively. Aleardi has registered team highs with nine points and five goals to go with four assists in just six contests. Pendenza has posted eight points on a team-high five helpers to go with three goals. Jake Jaremko and Dylan Vander Esch have notched three goals apiece versus Jacksonville, while Blake Winiecki has a pair. Among Florida netminders, Parker Gahagen has picked up both of the team’s wins, turning in a 2-0-1-1 record with a 2.72 GAA, while Cam Johnson (0-1-1-0 sports a 2.33 GAA.
THE BEAR NECESSITIES: In 13 matchups against Orlando, John McCarron leads all Everblades skaters with 10 goals and 19 points in 11 games, while Blake Winiecki has collected six goals and a team-high 10 assists for 16 points in 12 games. Joe Pendenza comes in just behind that duo with 14 points on seven goals and seven assists, while Levko Koper has 12 points on two goals and 10 helpers. In net, Cam Johnson has posted a 4-1 record with a 2.82 GAA while Parker Gahagen (2-1-0-0) sports a 1.35 GAA and a .960 save percentage. Tomas Vomacka (2-2-1-0) carries a 2.42 GAA.
THEY LEAD AND WE FOLLOW: Entering the new week, John McCarron and Blake Winiecki are both tied for seventh in the ECHL with 61 points apiece. McCarron ranks fourth with 27 goals, Winiecki is tied for fifth with 26 tallies. In the assists department, McCarron is tied for 12th with 35 assists, while Winiecki and Joe Pendenza both have 34 and are tied for 14th.
OUR OWN PRIVATE IDAHO: The Everblades will return home on Wednesday, March 30 for the first of three games against the Idaho Steelheads at 7:30 pm. Action is also slated for Friday, April 1 and 7:30 pm and Saturday, April 2 at 7:00 pm. This series will mark the only meeting between the Blades and the Steelheads, who will make the 2,763 mile trek to Hertz Arena from Boise.
JOIN THE FUN
2022 Kelly Cup Playoff Packages are now on sale. Join the Blades in their pursuit for a second Kelly Cup title! To learn more, call or text (239) 948-7825.
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Purchase a new Voucher 12 package that allows you to use 12 tickets in any quantity during the 2022-23 season to earn the exclusive benefits of being a Blades 365 Member! To view the Blades 365 Membership savings, benefits and options click HERE.
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The Florida Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators and the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals.