ESTERO, Fla. – Following a victory in six games over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in the 2022 Kelly Cup South Division Semifinals, the Florida Everblades will turn their attention to the Jacksonville Icemen in the South Division Finals. As the number one seed in the South Division, the regular-season division champion Blades hold home ice advantage entering the best-of-seven series with the third-seeded Icemen.
Join us this weekend at Hertz Arena for games one and two of the first round of the 2022 Kelly Cup Playoffs! Game One is on Friday, May 6 at 7:30 pm. Grab the last 239 package of the season that includes two Premium tickets and one large popcorn 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, May 7 at 7:00 pm. Enjoy a pregame tailgate from 5:00 - 7:00 pm with live music! Secure tickets to both games by visiting HERE.
2022 KELLY CUP PLAYOFFS – SECOND ROUND AT A GLANCE
Game 1 Friday, May 6 Icemen at EverbladesHertz Arena7:30 pm
Game 2Saturday, May 7 Icemen at EverbladesHertz Arena7:00 pm
Game 3 Tuesday, May 10 Everblades at Icemen Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena 7:00 pm
Game 4 Wednesday, May 11 Everblades at Icemen Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena 7:00 pm
Game 5* Friday, May 13 Everblades at Icemen Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena 7:00 pm
Game 6* Monday, May 16Icemen at EverbladesHertz Arena7:30 pm
Game 7*Tuesday, May 17 Icemen at EverbladesHertz Arena7:30 pm
Home Games in Bold * Games 5, 6 and 7, if necessary
NEWS AND NOTES
LAST SERIES IN REVIEW: The Everblades took the 2022 Kelly Cup South Division Semifinal series from the Greenville Swamp Rabbits four games to two. Playoff hockey got started in Hertz Arena with the Everblades and Swamp Rabbits splitting a pair, with Florida taking the opener 4-3 in overtime and Greenville winning Game Two 5-3. The Everblades went on to win two of three games in the Upstate, pulling out another 4-3 overtime win in Game Three, and claiming Game Four 2-1. The Swamp Rabbits stayed alive with a 4-3 double overtime win in Game Five, before Florida closed out the series with a 5-1 triumph in Game Six in Estero.
THE OPPONENT: When Jacksonville steps onto the ice for Game One of the Division Finals on Friday, the Icemen will be seeing their first action in nine days. Having the luxury of playing four straight home games, Jacksonville rattled off four straight victories over the Atlanta Gladiators to open the playoffs. The first three wins were by one-goal margins, including a 5-4 overtime victory in Game Two on April 22. In the Game Four clincher on April 28, the Icemen rolled to a 5-0 victory, the biggest margin of victory in any game by any team thus far in the 2022 Kelly Cup Playoffs. During the regular-season, Jacksonville posted a 40-27-3-2 record, which was good for third place in the South Division. With 85 points and a .590 points percentage, the Icemen had the best record of the four third-place teams in the ECHL.
THE REGULAR SEASON SERIES: Florida and Jacksonville hooked up 10 times throughout the regular-season, with the Everblades posting a 3-2-2-3 record. Despite going 0-1-1-2 at home, the Blades posted a 3-1-1-1 record while visiting VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Seven of the 10 meetings between the teams this season were decided by one goal, with two ending in overtime and four requiring a shootout. The Blades won the only previous playoff series between the teams, winning the 2019 Division Semifinal 4-2.
THE COLD NEVER BOTHERED THEM ANYWAY: Alex Aleardi topped all Everblades with 11 points and six goals during the 2021-22 regular-season series against Jacksonville, despite appearing in just eight of 10 games. Aleardi added five assists. Joe Pendenza was right behind Aleardi with nine points and a team-best six assists to go with three goals. Jake Jaremko and Dylan Vander Esch were right behind the top duo with six points on identical lines of four goals and two assists. In goal, Parker Gahagen got the start in seven of the 10 games and led the Everblades with three wins (3-1-1-1), while turning in a 2.51 GAA. Cam Johnson (0-1-1-1) led the Blades with a 2.33 GAA in three starts.
FEAR THE BEARD: In addition to leading the Everblades with 11 points and six goals in just eight games versus Jacksonville, Alex Aleardi closed out the regular season with a seven-game point streak against the Icemen. The Fort Wayne, Indiana native did not factor in the scoring on opening night, but picked up at least one point in every game in which he suited up against the Icemen, while scoring goals in five different games against the Blades’ rivals from North Florida. He scored two goals in a 3-1 road victory on November 27 and collected two points in four different contests.
GENNARO STILL STREAKING: While Matteo Gennaro’s three-game postseason goal scoring streak came to an end in the Everblades’ Game Six victory over Greenville in the division semifinals, Gennaro picked up two assists to extend his playoff point streak to six games. With a helper on third-period goals by Joe Pendenza and Darik Angeli on Monday, Gennaro registered at least one point in each of the six opening-round playoff games against the Swamp Rabbits. In six postseason games this year, Gennaro has seven points on a team-high four goals and three assists. Gennaro joined the Everblades on March 31, coming over from the Wichita Thunder along with Darik Angeli from the Kansas City Mavericks.
HE'S THE BOSS: With Monday night’s clincher over Greenville in the division series, Everblades head coach Brad Ralph currently moved into sole possession of fourth-place all-time in ECHL playoff wins with 51. Ralph is three wins shy of second place, which is shared by current Allen Americans head coach Steve Martinson and longtime veteran Matt Thomas, both of whom have 54 ECHL postseason victories. The all-time leader, John Brophy, authored 55 playoff wins with Hampton Roads from 1989-2000. Game One of the 2022 division finals will be Ralph’s 95th playoff game as an ECHL coach, which will move him into third place, one ahead of Brophy and veteran Jason Christie. Martinson ranks second with 104 playoff games coached, while Thomas sets the standard at 108.
ELSEWHERE IN THE EAST: In addition to the upcoming Everblades-Jacksonville South Division finals, Reading faces off against Newfoundland in the North Division finals. In the division semifinals, Florida topped Greenville 4-2, Jacksonville swept Atlanta 4-0, Reading bested Maine 4-2 and Newfoundland edged Trois-Rivières 4-3.
WESTWARD HO: Toledo and Wheeling will be meeting in the Central Division finals, while Utah will face Rapid City in the Mountain Division Finals. In the division semifinals, three series -- Toledo-Cincinnati, Wheeling-Fort Wayne and Utah-Tulsa -- all lasted seven games, while Rapid City dispatched Allen 4-1.
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.
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The Florida Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators and the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals.