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Everblades Fall in Playoff Opener

Thursday, April 18th
Everblades Fall in Playoff Opener

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Special teams were the difference, as the Jacksonville Icemen scored three power-play goals and added an empty-net shorthanded goal to defeat the Florida Everblades 4-0 in the opening game of the South Division Semifinal series Thursday night at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Jacksonville leads the best-of-seven series one game to none.

A physical first period nearly resulted in a scoreless frame to open the series,but Jacksonville’s Christopher Brown converted on the power play at the 19:05 mark to give the Icemen a 1-0 lead. The home team outshot the Everblades by a 10-7 count in the opening frame, with Blades goaltender and defending two-time Kelly Cup Playoff MVP Cam Johnson turning aside nine of 10 shots over the first 20 minutes.

The Everblades turned up the offensive intensity in the middle frame, outshooting Jacksonville by a 14-10 count, but could not draw even despite a whole host of golden opportunities. While Johnson was perfect, stopping all 10 shots he faced in the second stanza, Jacksonville netminder Matt Vernon returned to his All-ECHL Second Team form, stopping all 14 Florida shots he faced in the second period, after struggling to a 0-4-1-0 mark with a 5.67 GAA across five regular-season appearances in April.

Olivier Nadeau doubled Jacksonville’s lead just 2:39 into the third period, as he scored the Icemen’s second power-play goal of the contest to give the home team a 2-0 lead. The Icemen added an empty-net shorthanded goal by Jerry D’Amigo (16:59) and a power-play goal by Derek Lodermeier (17:54) to close out the scoring,

Jacksonville outshot Florida 30-28 on the night. Enjoying five more power-play opportunities than the Everblades, the Icemen were 3-for-7 on the power play, while the Blades went 0-for-2 on the man advantage.

Vernon stopped all 28 shots he faced for Jacksonville, while Johnson turned aside 26 of 29 shots for the Blades.

Game Two of the best-of-seven series will take place in Jacksonville on Sunday, April 21 at 3:00 p.m. The Everblades will host Game Three, the first of three potential home games in the series, on Wednesday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m. Fans are encouraged to wear white for all opening-round games at Hertz Arena as a nod to the Blades’ first Kelly Cup title in 2012, and can take advantage of a special postseason Hump Day Deal on Wednesday with $3.00 beers and hot dogs available throughout the game. Visit floridaeverblades.com for more information on the Kelly Cup Playoffs presented by Lexus and to purchase tickets. 
 

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BLADES BITS

With the setback, the Everblades saw a six-game playoff winning streak come to an end, as the good guys won each of the team’s final six games en route to the 2022-23 Kelly Cup championship. Florida also entered the postseason with wins in each of the team’s six final games of the 2023-24 regular season. 

Florida took 14 shots on goal in the second period, matching the team’s production over the first and third periods. The Blades took seven shots in the opening and closing frames. Jacksonville registered exactly 10 shots on goal in each of the three periods.

The Everblades entered the 2024 postseason with a league-best 2.58 goals allowed per game, while the Icemen ranked second at 2.71. 

Florida’s penalty kill led the ECHL during the regular season, as the Blades stymied opposing teams on 85.3% of power play opportunities across 72 games. Florida killed four of seven Jacksonville power plays in Game One, while coming up empty on just two power-play shifts.

Prior to Thursday’s Game One loss, the Everblades last suffered a postseason shutout in Game Two of the 2023 South Division Semifinals, falling 4-0 at South Carolina on April 24, 2023.

Thursday Night’s Scoresheet 


JOIN THE FUN 

Tickets for home games of the 2024 Kelly Cup Playoffs presented by Lexus are available now, as are 2024 Kelly Cup Playoff Packages, which include games in all four rounds. To learn more, please click HERE.

Season ticket plans for the 2024-25 campaign are on sale now! Become a Blades 365 Member for the 2024-25 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 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 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, or online at espnswfl.com or everblades.mixlr.com. Stay up to date by following the Blades on social media with all the latest news, scores, and promotions on Facebook, InstagramLinkedInTikTok and Twitter.

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