ESTERO, Fla. – The Florida Everblades will begin their quest for the 2022 Kelly Cup with a best-of-seven division semifinal series against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. As the number one seed in the South Division, the regular-season division champion Blades will hold home ice advantage throughout the first two best-of-seven series of the playoffs.
Join us this weekend for games one and two of the first round of the 2022 Kelly Cup Playoffs! Game one is on Friday, April 22 at 7:30 pm. Grab one of the last 239 packages of the season that includes two Premium tickets, one large popcorn and two autographed programs for only $39 and a savings of over 50%! Also, kids 12 and under eat free at Breakaway Sports Pub with the purchase of an adult entrée.
Game two is on Saturday, April 23 at 7:00 pm. Enjoy a pregame tailgate from 5-7 pm with live music! Secure tickets for both games by visiting HERE.
2022 KELLY CUP PLAYOFFS – FIRST ROUND AT A GLANCE
Game 1 Friday, April 22 Swamp Rabbits at EverbladesHertz Arena7:30 pm
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
LAST WEEK IN REVIEW: The Everblades (42-20-6-4) swept a two-game series from the Atlanta Gladiators (43-24-4-1) to claim the top seed in the South Division heading into the 2022 Kelly Cup Playoffs. With a 3-2 overtime win on Friday and a thrilling 5-3 triumph on Saturday, those two victories sealed the sixth consecutive South Division regular-season championship for the Blades, who finished the 72-game slate with 94 points and a .653 points percentage, both tops in the division. Among the 13 Eastern Conference teams, Florida finished second in points and third in points percentage.
THE OPPONENT: The Greenville Swamp Rabbits (33-29-6-4, 76 points) finished off a late-season surge to claim the fourth and final playoff spot in the South Division. Over the final week, the Rabbits picked up three points in four games to edge Orlando (33-31-6-1, 73 points) in points percentage by a .528 to .514 tally and sewed up the division’s final playoff spot. After picking up a key 3-1 victory over the Solar Bears on Friday, Greenville heads into the Kelly Cup Playoffs on a two-game losing streak, dropping two contests to Norfolk, 4-2 on Saturday and 5-2 on Sunday.
THE REGULAR SEASON SERIES: The Everblades and Swamp Rabbits faced each other 10 times during the 2021-22 regular season and the Blades came away with a 5-5-0-0 record. The first seven matchups took place in Greenville, and Florida claimed a 4-2-1-0 record in the Upstate, including one overtime victory, while the Rabbits took two of the three contests played at Hertz Arena. The Everblades opened the series with three straight victories, but the Swamp Rabbits answered with three consecutive wins of their own to even the tally at three wins apiece. Florida picked up a 6-5 overtime victory in the final matchup in Greenville to take a 4-3 advantage in the set, but the Bunnies bounced back by winning two of three in Estero to close out the regular-season series. The rivals exchanged shutouts in the last two meetings with Greenville logging a 2-0 win on March 4 and the Everblades pitching a 3-0 clean sheet the following night. In 10 games, Florida outscored the Swamp Rabbits 27-25.
BLADES SET PLAYOFF ROSTER: Each of the ECHL’s 16 playoff-bound teams were permitted to announce their playoff rosters on Monday afternoon. Playoff rosters consist of a maximum of 24 players, which include a 20-player active roster plus a four-man reserve list. The Everblades’ playoff roster includes active forwards Alex Aleardi, Darik Angeli, Matteo Gennaro, Jake Jaremko, Levko Koper, John McCarron, Nathan Perkovich, Joe Pendenza, Zach Solow, Dylan Vander Esch and Blake Winiecki; active defensemen Xavier Bouchard, Stephen Desrocher, Lukas Kaelble, Stefan Leblanc, Ben Masella, Chris McKay and Jordan Sambrook; and active goaltenders Parker Gahagen and Tomas Vomacka. The reserve list includes forwards Kyle Neuber and Michael Neville. Other playoff-eligible players include defensemen Dylan Blujus and Jake McLaughlin and goaltender Cam Johnson.
THEY LIKE WASCALLY WABBITS: John McCarron led all Everblades skaters with 10 points and six assists against the Swamp Rabbits this season, while also finding the net four times. Blake Winiecki scored a team-high four goals, while adding four helpers for nine points, playing in nine of the 10 games. The McCarron-Winiecki tandem were the top two scorers from either team in the season series against Greenville.
NO SLOUCHES THEMSELVES: Right behind the dynamic duo of McCarron and Winiecki in the season series with the Swamp Rabbits, the tandem of Alex Aleardi and Joe Pendenza both collected seven points on three goals and four assists, while Dylan Vander Esch (4 G, 1 A) and Jake Jaremko (1 G, 4 A) were next in line with five points. All four appeared in each of the 10 games.
GO, GO GAHAGEN!: The ECHL’s second-ranked netminder with a 2.32 GAA, Parker Gahagen enjoyed a strong regular-season series against Greenville. In goal versus the Swamp Rabbits, Parker 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. Gahagen registered a 21-save shutout in a 4-0 road win back on November 12, while also turning in a 28-save shutout in a 3-0 home victory on March 5. In addition to his 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 Blades and Rabbits best-of-seven tilt, three other series round out the Eastern Conference side of the 2022 Kelly Cup bracket. The winner of the Florida vs. Greenville series will advance to face the victor of the series between #2 Atlanta and #3 Jacksonville. In a pair of North Division series, #1 Reading will take on #4 Maine, while #2 Newfoundland squares off against #3 Trois Rivières.
WILD, WILD WEST: In the four Western Conference series, #1 Toledo and #4 Cincinnati are joined by #2 Fort Wayne and #3 Wheeling in the Central Division, while #1 Utah and #4 Tulsa will lock horns and #2 Rapid City and #3 Allen do battle in the Mountain Division.
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.