ESTERO, Fla. – Following Friday night’s thrilling 4-3 overtime victory in the opening game of the Kelly Cup Playoffs presented by Lexus Dealers of Southwest Florida, the Florida Everblades will look to extend their lead as they welcome the Greenville Swamp Rabbits back to Hertz Arena for Game Two of the division semifinal series on Saturday night. The puck drops in The Swamp at 7:00 pm.
Saturday night’s affair promises to be an action-packed evening for Southwest Florida hockey fans, so be sure to purchase tickets to be a part of the excitement. Come out to Hertz Arena and enjoy a pregame tailgate from 5:00 -7:00 pm with live music and bounce houses! Secure tickets for Game Two by visiting HERE and join the Blades in their pursuit for a second Kelly Cup title! To learn more, call or text (239) 948-7825.
Get in the mood for the playoff excitement by checking out the Everblades’ virtual auction on the DASH Auction App for game-worn 2021-22 warm-up jerseys. All net proceeds from the virtual auction will be donated to St. Matthew’s House. Fans can download the free DASH auction app on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Interested buyers will need to create an account to bid on the auction. The auction format features three groups of jersey numbers, with a starting bid and buy it now option varying between each jersey. Additionally, the #65 jersey will be raffled off through the DASH auction app with raffle tickets available for $10 each. The buy it now option is only available until 8:30 pm tonight on the DASH app. To view the auction, click HERE.
Following game two, the division semifinal series shifts to Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C. Game Three is slated for Wednesday, April 27 at 7:05 pm.
2022 KELLY CUP PLAYOFFS – FIRST ROUND AT A GLANCEEverblades Lead Series 1-0
Game 1 Friday, April 22 Everblades 4, Swamp Rabbits 3 (OT)
Game 2Saturday, April 23 Swamp Rabbits at EverbladesHertz Arena7:00 pm
Game 3 Wednesday, April 27 Everblades at Swamp Rabbits Bon Secours Wellness Arena 7:05 pm
Game 4 Friday, April 29 Everblades at Swamp Rabbits Bon Secours Wellness Arena 7:05 pm
Game 5 * Saturday, April 30 Everblades at Swamp Rabbits Bon Secours Wellness Arena 7:05 pm
Game 6 * Monday, May 2Swamp Rabbits at EverbladesHertz Arena7:30 pm
Game 7 *Wednesday, May 4 Swamp Rabbits at EverbladesHertz Arena7:30 pm
Home Games in Bold * Games 5, 6 and 7, if Necessary
NEWS AND NOTES
GAME ONE RECAP: The Everblades strung together four consecutive goals on Friday night for a 4-3 overtime win over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in Game One, Round One of the 2022 Kelly Cup Playoffs. Fourth-seeded Greenville came onto the Hertz Arena ice looking to make a statement against the top-seeded Blades and promptly collected three first-period goals from Christian Kasatul (8:59), Nikita Pavlychev (9:39) and Ayden McDonald (14:52). Stefan Leblanc got the Everblades on the board at 15:01 of the second period to trim the visitors’ lead to 3-1. In the third frame, neither team managed to score for more than 18 minutes, but Joe Pendenza (18:40) trimmed the margin to 3-2 and Matteo Gennaro made it a 3-3 game with 35 seconds left in regulation. Captain Everblade John McCarron sent the Blades faithful home happy, picking up the game winner 2:05 into overtime. Blake Winiecki collected three assists on the night, while Leblanc added two helpers to give the blueliner a three-point night. Pendenza and Jake Jaremko also added assists for the Everblades.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: Despite being shutout for 35 minutes and held to just one goal until the clock showed just 1:20 left in regulation, three different Everblades collected multiple points in Friday night’s 4-3 overtime victory in the Kelly Cup Playoff opener versus Greenville. Blake Winiecki (3 A) and Stefan Leblanc (1 G, 2 A) both picked up three points on the night, while Joe Pendenza (1 G, 1 A) chipped in two points. For Winiecki, it was his 19th multiple-point effort this year, tops among all Everblades, and the fifth three-assist performance by an Everblade in 2021-22. Pendenza logged his 14th multi-point game this year, while Leblanc enjoyed his second.
STEPPING UP FROM THE BLUE LINE: With his second multi-point performance this season, defenseman Stefan Leblanc could not have picked a bigger stage to record his first three-point game of the year. Leblanc, who had 13 points on one goal and 12 assists during the regular season, had a two-assist effort in the Blades’ 3-1 win over Idaho on April 2. His last three-point performance in the ECHL came as a member of the Newfoundland Growlers when he had a goal and two assists in a 5-2 victory over the Worcester Railers on November 3, 2018.
OVERTIME MAGIC: During the regular season, the Everblades compiled a 5-6 record game that ended in overtime. After losses in the first three regular-season games that ended in extra time, the Blades righted the ship, winning five of the next eight. John McCarron’s game-winning overtime goal in Friday’s playoff opener made him the sixth different Everblade to register a game-winning overtime tally, joining Alex Aleardi (1/30 at Greenville), Joe Pendenza (2/18 vs. South Carolina), Jake McLaughlin (2/26 at South Carolina), Jake Jaremko (4/4 at Orlando) and Matteo Gennaro (4/15 vs Atlanta).
FORT GAHAGEN STANDS TALL: After allowing three goals in the first 14:52 of Friday’s playoff opener, Parker Gahagen settled in and showed the same brilliance that made him the ECHL’s second-ranked netminder with a 2.32 GAA, holding the Swamp Rabbits scoreless for the final 47:13 of play. Facing Greenville during the regular season, Gahagen chalked up a team-best four wins, including a pair of shutouts, while logging a stellar 1.94 GAA to go with a .926 save percentage. In addition to the two shutouts, Gahagen held the Swamp Rabbits scoreless for just under 51 minutes in relief of Tomas Vomacka on March 4. Gahagen posted four regular-season shutouts, third-highest among ECHL goalies.
ELSEWHERE IN THE EAST: In addition to the Everblades jumping out to a 1-0 lead over Greenville, #3 Jacksonville leads #2 Atlanta 2-0 in the other South Division series. In the North Division, #1 Reading leads #4 Maine 2-0, while #2 Newfoundland holds a 1-0 lead over #3 Trois-Rivières.
WILD, WILD WEST: Each of the four Western Conference series have exactly one game in the books. In the Central Division, #1 Toledo leads #4 Cincinnati, while #3 Wheeling leads #2 Fort Wayne. In the Mountain Division, #1 Utah leads #4 Tulsa and #2 Rapid City leads #3 Allen.
BLADES KELLY CUP HISTORY: In the franchise’s 24th season, the Everblades have qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs every season except for one. The Blades have advanced to the Kelly Cup finals four times and are seeking their second Kelly Cup championship, having hoisted the hardware previously in 2012.
JOIN THE FUN
2022 Kelly Cup Playoff Tickets 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 or purchase HERE.
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.
The Florida Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators and the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals.