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Everblades Welcome Steelheads to The Swamp

Wednesday, March 30th
Everblades Welcome Steelheads to The Swamp

WHO: Florida Everblades vs. Idaho SteelheadsWHERE: Hertz Arena (Estero, FL)WHEN: Wednesday, March 30 at 7:30 pmTICKETS: Purchase tickets for Wednesday’s game and all future Everblades games HERE.PROMOTIONS: Every Wednesday home game at The Swamp features some awesome Hump Day deals, including $3 John Morrell hot dogs and Bud Light drafts. Also, college students can show a valid student ID at the box office to purchase their student ticket for only $5. Students can also purchase tickets online HERE.BROADCAST: 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.comor on MIxlr by visiting www.mixlr.com/florida-everblades

ESTERO, Fla. – Following a three-game road trip which saw the Florida Everblades post a 1-1-1-0 record against Orlando and Jacksonville, the boys are back in The Swamp for a three-game homestand as the Idaho Steelheads make the 2,763-mile trek to Hertz Arena from Boise for the only contests between the two teams this season. The puck drops on Wednesday night’s series opener at 7:30 pm, with action also slated for Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm and 7:00 pm, respectively.

THE OPPONENT: The Idaho Steelheads will visit Southwest Florida for the first time this season – and the first time in six years. The Steelheads (34-27-2-1), the ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars and the AHL’s Texas Stars, are currently in third place in the Mountain Division of the ECHL’s Western Conference. With a .555 points percentage, Idaho is working to lock up a playoff spot with eight regular-season games left on the schedule. They currently trail the first-place Utah Grizzlies (37-24-2-1, 77 points, .602) and the second-place Rapid City Rush (32-21-4-5, 73 points, .589) and are working to hold off fourth-place the Allen Americans (28-24-7-1, 64 points, .533) and the fifth-place Tulsa Oilers (31-28-3-2, 67 points, .523).

THE SERIES: The Everblades and Steelheads have met 11 times, with the Blades holding onto a 6-4-1 advantage. The upcoming series marks the first meetings between the teams since they faced off five times during the 2015-16 season. Florida posted a 3-1 victory in Boise in the clubs’ last game back on December 5, 2015 to win the rubber game of a three-game set with the host Steelheads. Earlier that season, the Blades swept a pair of games in Hertz Arena, including a 3-0 win on November 14, 2015, the last time that Idaho appeared on Southwest Florida ice. Florida and Idaho also squared off in the 2004 Kelly Cup Finals, with the Steelheads prevailing in five games.

LAST TIME OUT: Three was the magic number, as the Everblades (35-18-6-4) scored three unanswered goals in period three to close out a three-game road trip with a 3-1 victory over the Jacksonville Icemen Saturday night at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena. Both teams were scoreless through two periods before Jake Elmer spotted the Icemen a 1-0 lead with the game’s first goal just 29 seconds into the final period. Dylan Vander Esch knotted the game with his 14th goal of the season seven minutes later, before Blake Winiecki’s 27th tally of the year put the Everblades on top 2-1 at the 14:43 mark. Alex Aleardi closed out the scoring with his 26th of the campaign with an empty-net score in the game’s final minute. Vander Esch, Kody McDonald, John McCarron and Zach Solow registered assists for the good guys, while Parker Gahagen made 23 saves to claim his 14th victory of the year.   

HE’S OUR COACH NOW: Everblades coach Brad Ralph spent three seasons as the head coach of the Steelheads, compiling a 132-64-20 (.657) record from 2012 through 2015, while leading Idaho to three consecutive playoff appearances. As the Steelheads’ bench boss, Ralph led his teams to 45 or more regular-season wins twice, while also capturing 16 playoff victories. In his first season with the Steelheads, Ralph posted a franchise record 48 wins against just 18 losses and six ties. He did not coach against the Everblades while with Idaho.

FORMER STEELHEADS SWIMMING IN THE SWAMP: Michael Neville and Joe Pendenza have played previously with Idaho. Neville spent 14 games with Idaho in his first season of pro hockey back in 2017-18. Neville tallied three points and one goal and two assists, while also picking up eight penalty minutes. The following year, 2018-19, Pendenza posted seven points on three goals and four assists, with four PIM. 

FORMER BLADE IN HIS OWN PRIVATE IDAHO: After tallying four assists and 56 penalty minutes in 25 games with the Everblades a year ago, Mason Mitchell has been a solid producer for the Steelheads in 2021-22. Mitchell has picked up 15 points on eight goals and seven assists this season, after appearing in 17 games earlier this year with Cincinnati. Between the two stops, Mitchell has posted 25 points on 12 goals and 13 helpers in 45 games, while getting whistled for 55 PIM.  

SOUTH PLAYOFF SPOTS IN THE BALANCE: 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 (35-18-6-4, 80 points) sit in second place with a .635 points percentage, hot on the heels of first-place Atlanta (40-20-3-1, 84 points) which boasts a .656 points percentage. Jacksonville (36-21-3-2, 77 points) in in third place with a .621 points percentage. The battle for the fourth and final playoff spot between Orlando (31-27-4-1, 67 points) and Greenville (28-26-4-3, 63 points), has tipped slightly in the Solar Bears over the past week, as those clubs have points percentages of .532 and .516, respectively. 

BLADES AMONG ECHL’S BEST: Entering the new week, John McCarron is tied for third place in the ECHL with 28 goals, while Blake Winiecki comes in ninth, just one goal behind, with 27 tallies. Alex Aleardi is tied for 10th with 26. In the points department, McCarron stands tied for eighth with 63, while Winiecki is right behind him in 10th with 62. Joe Pendenza comes in tied for 13th with 59. The trio is all tied for 16th in the league with 35 assists apiece.

THE CAPTAIN ROLLS ON: Captain Everblade John McCarron, who earlier this season became the Everblades’ all-time career record holder in goals (150 regular season, 168 overall) and points (347 regular season, 393 overall) is nearing the top spot in assists. With 197 regular-season assists and 225 overall helpers, McCarron is closing in on Tom Buckley’s regular-season (207) and overall (230) records. Johnny Mac is 10 regular-season assists -- and five overall apples -- shy of the career records that Buckley set as a Blade, from 1999 through 2004.    

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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. 

Become 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 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.

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.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

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 at https://espnswfl.com or Mixlr at www.mixlr.com/florida-everblades

Stay up to date by following the Florida Everblades on Social Media with all the latest news, scores and promotions on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tiktok, and Twitter

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

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