ESTERO, Fla. – With a three-games-to-two series lead, the Florida Everblades return to Hertz Arena to host the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in Game Six of the opening round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs Monday night at 7:30 pm. The Blades return home having won two of three games in Greenville and need just one victory to seal the series victory.
With one more win, the Everblades will advance 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 took Games Three and Four to pull ahead 3-1 in the series, but a 4-3 double overtime victory by the Swamp Rabbits in Game Five sent the series back to Southwest Florida for Game Six.
If necessary, Game Seven would take place at Hertz Arena Wednesday night at 7:30 pm.
2022 KELLY CUP PLAYOFFS (Presented By: Lexus Dealers of Southwest Florida)
FIRST ROUND AT A GLANCEEverblades Lead Series 3-2
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 Swamp Rabbits 4, Everblades 3 (2OT)
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 * Game 7, if Necessary
NEWS AND NOTES
GAME FIVE RECAP: Greenville’s Nikita Pavlychev scored the game-winner 8:51 into double overtime to lift the Greenville Swamp Rabbits to a 4-3 victory over the Florida Everblades Saturday night at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. With the setback, the Everblades’ lead in the best-of-seven South Division Semifinal series was trimmed from three games to two. The Blades’ Stefan Leblanc scored the only goal of the first period, before Matteo Gennaro ran the lead to 2-0 in a second period that saw Florida claim a 19-1 edge in shots on goal. While Blake WIniecki struck gold in the third frame, the Swamp Rabbits outscored the Everblades 3-1 in the final period to send the game to overtime, tied 3-3. Greenville’s Pavlychev connected for the game-winning goal on a freewheeling shot from the left circle at 8:51 of double overtime. The Everblades outshot the Swamp Rabbits 59-32 on the night. Cam Johnson registered 28 saves for Florida, while Greenville’s John Lethemon had an extremely busy night, making 56 saves.
DOUBLE OT DOODLES: Saturday night’s double overtime thriller was the Everblades’ first game to reach a fifth period since the good guys claimed a 2-1 double overtime victory in Orlando on May 3, 2019 in the Kelly Cup division finals. In that contest, John McCarron netted the game winner at 14:48 of the second extra period. The Blades outshot the Solar Bears 51-49 in front of more than 7,000 fans in Amway Center. Prior to that 2019 playoff victory, the Everblades had not gone to a second overtime since suffering two double OT losses in three games against South Carolina in the 2017 Kelly Cup division finals.
FIVE-STAR PERFORMANCE: Five is the number that comes to mind when it comes to Matteo Gennaro this postseason. Gennaro’s second-period goal on Saturday extended his postseason point streak to five games and moved him into the team lead with Joe Pendenza with five postseason points. Gennaro has four goals, tops on the squad, and one assist, while Pendenza’s five-spot consists of exclusively assists. Gennaro joined the Everblades on March 31, coming over from the Kansas City Mavericks along with Darik Angeli.
MAC COMES BACK: With a pair of assists in game five, Captain Everblade John McCarron made a successful return to the Everblades’ lineup following a two-game suspension that kept him sidelined for the Blades’ game three and game four victories. On Saturday, McCarron appeared in his 409th game as a Florida Everblade, lifting the Captain into a tie for third place all-time in games played, matching Logan Roe (2015-21). Currently at 409 games played, including regular season and playoffs, McCarron is nine games shy of Mathieu Roy (2008-14) who ranks second with 418 career appearances and 11 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 (233) and points (403).
RALPH WRECKS IT: By virtue of Friday night’s game four victory, Everblades head coach Brad Ralph currently sits in a tie for fourth place all-time in ECHL playoff wins. Ralph is four 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 six of the 2022 division series will be Ralph’s 94th playoff game as an ECHL coach, which will tie him for third place with Brophy and veteran Jason Christie. Martinson ranks second with 104 playoff games coached, while Thomas sets the standard at 108.
PLAYOFF PULSE CHECK: With a victory on Saturday, Rapid City closed out Allen in five games out west, joining Jacksonville in the east as the only two teams to lock up trips to round two of the Kelly Cup Playoffs thus far. In the east, the Everblades are joined by Reading and Newfoundland with 3-2 series leads. Over in the west, Toledo and Cincinnati are knotted up 3-3, while Wheeling and Utah enjoy 3-2 series leads.
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.