ESTERO, Fla. – Despite suffering a 4-1 setback in Game Three of the Kelly Cup Finals on Wednesday night, the Florida Everblades maintain a two-games-to-one lead in the best-of-seven series. The Blades and Toledo Walleye will return to action in Game Four Friday night at Hertz Arena, with the puck scheduled to drop at 7:30 pm. Game Five will also take place at Hertz Arena on Saturday at 7:00 pm.
Naples native Zach Solow and team captain John McCarron lead the Everblades in scoring during the postseason, as both have tallied 15 points. Solow, who scored goals in Games One and Two of the Finals, has scored seven goals and added eight assists in 17 postseason contests. Mc Carron, who notched an assist in Game Three, has registered three goals and 12 helpers in 16 playoff games.
In the finals, Levko Koper is the only Everblade to pick up a point in each of the three games. With four points in the Finals, Koper is tied for the series lead among players from both squads. In Game Three, Koper added his second goal in as many games. He also picked up two assists in Game One.
On the defensive end, netminder Cam Johnson continues his strong play in goal, as he remains tied for the league lead with 13 victories in 16 postseason outings, while also sitting in second place with a 1.92 GAA and tied for second with a .928 save percentage.
On home ice during the playoffs, the Blades are 6-3, while they improved to 8-0-1 on the road with the two victories in Toledo that opened the Finals.
Fans unable to catch any of the Kelly Cup Finals games in person can watch every Florida Everblades game on FloHockey.TV. In addition, fans can listen to the exciting game action on ESPN Southwest Florida at www.espnswfl.com or 770 AM, 98.1 FM, 104.3 FM.
2022 Kelly Cup Finals Tickets are now on sale at the Hertz Arena Fifth Third Box Office and via Ticketmaster. Join the Blades in their pursuit for a second Kelly Cup title! To learn more, call or text (239) 948-7825 or purchase HERE.
2022 KELLY CUP FINALS AT A GLANCEEverblades Lead Series 2-1
Game 1 Friday, June 3 Everblades 3, Walleye 2
Game 2 Saturday, June 4 Everblades 3, Walleye 1
Game 3Wednesday, June 8Walleye 4, Everblades 1
Game 4Friday, June 10Walleye at EverbladesHertz Arena7:30 pm
Game 5*Saturday, June 11Walleye at EverbladesHertz Arena7:00 pm
Game 6* Tuesday, June 14 Everblades at Walleye Huntington Center 7:35 pm
Game 7* Thursday, June 16 Everblades at Walleye Huntington Center 7:35 pm
Home Games in Bold * Games 5, 6 and 7, if Necessary
NEWS AND NOTES
GAME THREE RECAP: The Toledo Walleye scored two goals in the first period and added single goals in the second and third frames to post a 4-1 victory over the Florida Everblades in Game Three of the Kelly Cup Finals in front of 6,149 fans Wednesday night at Hertz Arena. Despite the setback, the Blades maintain a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. The Everblades paid the price on their first penalty kill of the night as John Albert chipped the puck in on a rebound to put the Walleye up 1-0 at the eleven-minute mark of action. Brandon Hawkins made it a 2-0 Toledo lead 2:25 later on a centering feed from Randy Gazzola. The Walleye struck on one of their two power plays in period one while committing no infractions. The momentum would not swing in Florida’s favor during a second period which saw its lone goal come from Toledo while shorthanded. Former Everblade Marcus Vela took a Josh Dickinson pass for a breakaway goal over Cam Johnson’s glove side at 18:08 of the middle stanza. The Walleye led the contest 3-0, while also holding 20-18 in shots at the intermission. In the third, Toledo extended the lead to 4-0 with an empty net marker from Hawkins, his second of the night and 15th of the postseason at 16:13 of the final frame. Blades forward Levko Koper closed out the scoring at 4-1, getting the Everblades on the board at 17:01, off an assist by John McCarron. Cam Johnson registered 25 saves for the Everblades, while Billy Christopoulos made 30 saves and earned the victory for Toledo.
CLOSING IN ON SWEET SIXTEEN: With a 14-3-1 playoff record, including 11 wins in their past 13 postseason games, the Everblades remain just two wins shy of the 16 wins needed to capture the Kelly Cup. On home ice during the playoffs, the Blades are 6-3, while they improved to 8-0-1 on the road with the two victories in Toledo that opened the Finals.
PLAYOFF PROWESS: Naples native Zach Solow and team captain John McCarron lead the Everblades in scoring during the postseason, as both have tallied 15 points. Solow, who scored goals in Games One and Two of the Finals, has scored seven goals and added eight assists in 17 postseason contests. McCarron, who notched an assist in Game Three, has registered three goals and 12 helpers in 16 playoff games.
KOPER COMES THROUGH: In the finals, Levko Koper is the only Everblade to pick up a point in each of the three games. With four points in the Finals, Koper is tied for the series lead among players from both squads. In Game Three, Koper added his second goal in as many games. He also picked up two assists in Game One, extending his active playoff point streak to a team-best three games.
IT’S YOUR BOY, CJ!: On the defensive end, netminder Cam Johnson continues his strong play in goal, as he remains tied for the league lead with 13 victories in 16 postseason outings, while also sitting in second place with a 1.92 GAA and tied for second with a .928 save percentage. With the potential to win two more playoff games, the ECHL record for shutouts in a single postseason remains in reach for Johnson, who has logged four shutouts in the 2022 Kelly Cup Playoffs. Johnson remains one clean sheet shy of matching the 23-year old record of five set by Maxime Gingras of the Richmond Renegades back in 1999.
AHEAD, BUT EVEN: While the Everblades maintain a 2-1 lead in the Finals, Toledo’s Game Three victory balanced the ledger in terms of goals scored, as both sides have found the net seven times over the three games. Among both team’s seven goals are two power play tallies and one shorthanded goal apiece.
GAME BY GAME: With 14 wins in 18 playoff games across four different series, the Everblades (14-4) have posted a perfect 4-0 record in Game One, a 3-1 mark in Game Two and a 3-1 tally in Game Three. Looking ahead, the good guys are 2-1 in Game Four, 1-1 in Game Five and 1-0 in Game Six.
RALPH UPDATE: With the first three games of the Kelly Cup Finals in the books, Everblades head coach Brad Ralph has now served as a head coach in 106 ECHL playoff games, just two games short of the league record. Ralph, the league’s all-time leader with 61 head coaching wins, ranks second all-time in postseason games coached in the ECHL, trailing just Matt Thomas (1st, 108).
CAN’T FORGET CAPTAIN EVERBLADE: Throughout the 2021-22 season, Florida Everblades Captain John McCarron became the franchise’s all-time leader in goals scored, assists and points. Johnny Mac added one more milestone to his arsenal as Game Two of the Kelly Cup Finals marked McCarron’s 421st appearance in an Everblades sweater, including playoff games, giving Captain Everblade sole possession of the franchise mark in games played, passing Ernie Hartlieb, who appeared in 420 contests between 2004 and 2014, with one game on March 1, 2019 sprinkled in for good measure. Through three games in the Kelly Cup Finals, McCarron is the Everblades all-time leader, including playoffs, in games played (422), goals (172), assists (243), points (415) and penalty minutes (679).
SPEAKING OF ERNIE: In that 2019 contest referenced above, Hartlieb scored a third-period goal in what proved to be a 7-2 setback to Orlando in which four current members of the Everblades saw action. Nathan Perkovich assisted on Ernie’s final goal as a professional, while Ben Masella, Michael Neville and Blake Winiecki all saw action for Florida.
BLADES IN THE KELLY CUP FINALS: The Everblades are making the franchise’s fifth appearance in the Kelly Cup Finals and are looking to hoist the hardware for the second time in club history. The Blades won it all in 2012, defeating the Las Vegas Wranglers four games to one. Other Kelly Cup Finals appearances include a 4-1 loss to the Idaho Steelheads in 2004, a 4-2 setback to the Trenton Titans in 2005, and a 4-3 series defeat at the hands of the Colorado Eagles in 2018.
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.
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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.
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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.