ESTERO, Fla. – Fresh off a 2-1 victory over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits Friday night in game four of the opening round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs, the Florida Everblades have a three-games-to-one series lead and are one win away from moving on to face the Jacksonville Icemen in round two. Jacksonville closed out a four-game sweep of the Atlanta Gladiators on Thursday.
After splitting the first two games of the series that were played at Hertz Arena, the Everblades have rattled off back-to-back wins in Greenville, taking game four by a 4-3 count in overtime on Wednesday and claiming a 2-1 triumph in regulation time on Friday.
Game five of the series will take place Saturday night in Greenville at 7:05 pm. If necessary, the series would shift back to Hertz Arena for a game six on Monday, May 2.
On Thursday, Jacksonville wrapped up the first of the eight ECHL division semifinal series, closing out a 4-0 sweep of Atlanta. The Icemen now await the winner of the Everblades-Greenville series. Through Friday’s games in the east, Newfoundland is ahead of Trois-Rivières 3-1, while Reading and Maine are knotted up 2-2. Way out west, Fort Wayne and Wheeling are even at 2-2, while Cincinnati leads Toledo 3-2, Utah is in front of Tulsa 3-2 and Rapid City enjoys a 3-1 edge over Allen.
2022 KELLY CUP PLAYOFFS (Presented By: Lexus Dealers of Southwest Florida)
FIRST ROUND AT A GLANCEEverblades Lead Series 3-1
Game 1 Friday, April 22 Everblades 4, Swamp Rabbits 3 (OT)
Game 2Saturday, April 23 Swamp Rabbits 5, Everblades 3
Game 3 Wednesday, April 27 Everblades 4, Swamp Rabbits 3 (OT)
Game 4 Friday, April 29 Everblades 2, Swamp Rabbits 1
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 6 and 7, if Necessary
NEWS AND NOTES
GAME FOUR RECAP: Matteo Gennaro snapped a 1-1 tie late in the second period and Cam Johnson made 25 saves to lift the Florida Everblades to a 2-1 victory over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in game four of the 2022 ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs South Division Semifinal Friday night in Bon Secours Wellness Arena. The Blades lead the best-of-seven series three games to one. Naples native Zach Solow got the Everblades off to a quick start just 4:22 into the contest, as he stuffed the puck into a wide-open net following a wraparound. Lukas Kaelble picked up the assist to give the Blades a 1-0 lead. Greenville’s Liam Pecararo knotted the score at 1-1 at 2:26 of the second period, scoring a power-play goal just 33 seconds into the Swamp Rabbits enjoying a 4-on-3 advantage. The big goal came from Gennaro, who snapped the 1-1 deadlock at the 16:34 mark with his team-high third goal of the playoffs. The late-season addition to the Blades’ converted a one-on-one opportunity in the low slot, while Darik Angeli and Ben Masella collected the apples giving the Blades a 2-1 lead heading into the final frame. Gennaro’s tally stretched his postseason point streak to four games. Greenville held a 26-22 advantage in shots on goal. Florida goaltender Cam Johnson won his second straight playoff games, registering 25 saves in the winning effort. John Lethemon made 20 saves for the Swamp Rabbits.
MILESTONE FOR THE BOSS: With the 2-1 victory in game four, Everblades head coach Brad Ralph picked up his 50th career ECHL playoff win, which is tied for fourth in ECHL postseason history. In his sixth season behind the Blades’ bench, Ralph is in his ninth season as an ECHL head coach.
STREAKING GENNARO: Friday night’s game-winning goal gave Matteo Gennaro a team-high three goals in the 2022 postseason, tops among all Everblade skaters. Gennaro (3 G, 1 A) is the only Blade to tally a point in each of the first four games this postseason and he sits one point behind Joe Pendenza who leads the squad with five playoff points, all on assists. Gennaro joined the Everblades on March 31, coming over from the Kansas City Mavericks along with Darik Angeli.
CAM, CAM BABY! Since rejoining the Everblades from the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters, Cam Johnson has been perfect, posting a 2-0 record in back-to-back road wins over Greenville in games three and four. In the two playoff wins, Johnson has made 54 saves, good for a .931 save percentage, while logging a 1.88 GAA. In the regular season, Johnson was 10-3-2 with a 2.07 GAA for the Everblades and a 6-9-3 mark with a 3.27 GAA with Cleveland.
MAC IS BACK: Game five will mark the return of Captain Everblade John McCarron to the lineup following a two-game suspension that kept him sidelined for the Blades’ game three and game four victories. With his next appearance, McCarron will compete for 409th time as a Florida Everblade. That will lift Johnny Mac into a tie for third place all-time in games played, tying him with Logan Roe (2015-21). Currently at 408 games played, including regular season and playoffs, McCarron is 10 games shy of Mathieu Roy (2008-14) who ranks second with 418 career appearances and 12 away from Ernie Hartlieb (2004-14, 2019) who leads the way with 420 games played. During the 2021-22 regular season, Captain Everblade became the franchise career record holder in goals (170), assists (231) and points (401).
EASTSIDE, WESTSIDE, ALL AROUND THE ECHL: On Thursday, Jacksonville wrapped up the first of the eight ECHL division semifinal series, closing out a 4-0 sweep of Atlanta. The Icemen now await the winner of the Everblades-Greenville series. Through Friday’s games in the east, Newfoundland is ahead of Trois-Rivières 3-1, while Reading and Maine are knotted up 2-2. Way out west, Fort Wayne and Wheeling are even at 2-2, while Cincinnati leads Toledo 3-2, Utah is in front of Tulsa 3-2 and Rapid City enjoys a 3-1 edge over 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.
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The Florida Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators and the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals.