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Everblades Geared For Kelly Cup Finals in Idaho

Friday, June 2nd
Everblades Geared For Kelly Cup Finals in Idaho

ESTERO, Fla. – The Florida Everblades will head west to begin the final leg of the team’s journey toward a second straight Kelly Cup championship. The final round of the 2023 Kelly Cup Playoffs, presented by Lexus Dealers of Southwest Florida, against the Western Conference Champion Idaho Steelheads begins Saturday, June 3 at Idaho Central Arena in Boise. The puck drops on the best-of-seven series opener at 9:10 p.m. EDT.

Following Game Two in Idaho on Sunday, June 4 at 6:10 p.m. EDT, the series will shift back to Hertz Arena for Game Three on Wednesday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m. Games Four and, if necessary, Game Five will be in Estero on Friday, June 9 at 7:30 p.m. EDT and Saturday, June 10 at 7:00 p.m., respectively. Games Six and Seven would be played in Idaho on Tuesday, June 13 and Wednesday, June 14, if needed.

Seeking to defend the 2022 Kelly Cup championship, the Everblades are also looking to bring the ECHL’s ultimate prize to Southwest Florida for the third time, which would equal the league’s record. In addition to the 2022 Kelly Cup, the Blades also claimed the organization’s first ECHL title in 2012. Making a sixth appearance in the Kelly Cup Finals, Florida has matched South Division rival South Carolina for the most finals appearances in league history with six. With a series win over Idaho, the Everblades would become the fifth organization to win back-to-back ECHL crowns.

Florida, the ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Florida Panthers and the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers, has won its past seven playoff series dating back to last season.  All three best-of-seven series this year went six games, as the Blades topped South Carolina, Jacksonville and Newfoundland by a 4-2 count in each series. The Everblades have not trailed in a playoff series in either 2022 or 2023. After posting a 38-25-4-5 regular season record in the gauntlet that is the South Division, Florida is 12-4-2 in the postseason, raising the overall season tally to 50-29-6-5.

Idaho, the ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars and the AHL’s Texas Stars, topped Utah 4-2 and then authored back-to-back 4-1 series wins over Allen and Toledo. The Steelheads rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the first-round win over Utah and, most notably, posted three consecutive shutout victories to close out the final game on the Allen series and get off to a 2-0 start verses Toledo. In claiming the top spot in the ECHL’s regular-season standings, Idaho won a league record 58 games and registered an all-time best 118 points. The Steelheads were 58-11-1-2 in the regular season and have a 70-15-1-2 mark including the playoffs.

The teams have met once previously in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, with Idaho claiming a 4-1 series victory in the 2004 Kelly Cup Finals. The Steelheads jumped out to a 3-0 series lead with 5-1 and 6-4 victories in Estero and a 1-0 overtime triumph in Boise. Florida answered with a 3-2 overtime win in Game Four in Idaho before the Steelheads closed out the series at home in Game Five by a 5-2 margin, preventing the series from returning to Southwest Florida.

Over the course of the 2023 Kelly Cup Playoffs, the Blades and Steelheads have had similar results. Florida has posted a 5-3-1 mark at home and a 7-1-1 on the road, while Idaho is 6-3-0 in Boise and 6-1-0 away from the Gem State. The Everblades have outscored their playoff opponents 60-45, while the Steelheads hold a 64-42 edge over the competition. In the shot department, Idaho leads the ECHL with 39.81 shots on goal per game, while Florida is allowing the second-fewest shots per game at 29.00.Florida’s balanced attack has five players among the current ECHL postseason leaders. Sean Josling and Oliver Chau are tied for eight with 15 points, while Tyler Irvine, Joe Pendenza and John McCarron are right behind their teammates, tied for 11th with 14 points apiece. Irvine leads the league with a +12 rating and is tied for ninth with nine goals, while several Blades are tied for third in various categories: Stefan Leblanc (12 assists), Josling (4 power play goals, 3 game-winning goals), McCarron (3 game-winning goals) and captain Ben Masella (+9 rating).

The Steelheads do feature several of the ECHL’s most prolific offensive performers this postseason. Forward Wade Murphy leads the Kelly Cup Playoffs with 20 points and 12 goals, while he is also tied for the league lads with four game-winning goals. Rookie defenseman Owen Headrick is tied for the league’s top spot with 15 assists, while Headrick and veteran blueliner and former ECHL Playoff MVP Matt Register (Colorado, 2017) stand second in plus-minus rating at +10 and +9, respectively.

Both sides feature top-notch goaltenders, as Florida’s Cam Johnson and Idaho’s Adam Scheel are tied for the league lead with 12 playoff wins and three shutouts apiece. Johnson ranks third with a 2.15 GAA, while Scheel is seventh at 2.52. The netminders have virtually identical save percentages, with Johnson sporting a .919 mark and Scheel possessing a .915 metric.

Everblades head coach Brad Ralph, the ECHL’s all-time record holder with 76 playoff wins and 127 postseason games behind the bench, posted a 132-64-20 ledger in three seasons as the Steelheads’ head coach from 2012 through 2015.

Single game tickets for all home games in the Kelly Cup Finals are on sale at the Fifth Third Bank Box Office at Hertz Arena, online HERE or by calling the Everblades office at 239-948-PUCK. 

2023 KELLY CUP FINALS AT A GLANCE

Game 1

Saturday, June 3

Everblades at Steelheads 

Idaho Central Arena

9:10 p.m.

Game 2

Sunday, June 4

Everblades at Steelheads

Idaho Central Arena

6:10 p.m. 

Game 3 

Wednesday, June 7 

Steelheads at Everblades

Hertz Arena

7:30 p.m.

Game 4 

Friday, June 9

Steelheads at Everblades

Hertz Arena

7:30 p.m.

Game 5 *

Saturday, June 10

Steelheads at Everblades

Hertz Arena

7:00 p.m.

Game 6 * 

Tuesday, June 13

Everblades at Steelheads

Idaho Central Arena

9:10 p.m.

Game 7 *

Wednesday, June 14

Everblades at Steelheads

Idaho Central Arena

9:10 p.m.

 Home Games in Bold       * Games 5, 6 and 7, if Necessary            All Times EDT

JOIN THE FUN

2023 Kelly Cup Finals Tickets now on sale. Join the Blades in their pursuit to defend the title! To learn more, call or text (239) 948-7825.

The 2023-24 season ticket plans are on sale now! Become a Blades 365 Member for the 2023-24 season and enjoy incredible savings and benefits! To view the Blades 365 Membership savings, benefits and options click HERE.

Group Packages are available for a group of 10 or more!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.

Grab the newest and hottest Everblades merchandise by checking out the entire collection that is available online by visiting shop.floridaeverblades.com or at the Hertz Arena Pro Shop!

JOIN THE CONVERSATIONWatch 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 everblades.mixlr.com

Stay up to date by following the Florida Everblades on Social Media with all the latest news, scores and promotions on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tiktok and Twitter

The Florida Everblades are the proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Florida Panthers and the AHL's Charlotte Checkers.

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