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Blades Return to Kelly Cup Finals to Face Mavericks

Friday, May 31st
Blades Return to Kelly Cup Finals to Face Mavericks

ESTERO, Fla. – After 72 regular season games, 18 more in the postseason, and three series wins, the Florida Everblades have made it to their third consecutive Kelly Cup Finals. The final round of the 2024 Kelly Cup Playoffs presented by Germain Lexus and Scanlon Lexus is on the horizon. Awaiting the Everblades in the best-of-seven set are the Brabham Cup Champion Kansas City Mavericks. Game One of the Kelly Cup Finals is set for Friday, May 31 at Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence, Mo. with an 8:05 p.m. puck drop. 

After a league-best 54-12-6 record in the regular season, Kansas City has blown through opposition en route to its first Kelly Cup Final in franchise history. The Mavericks opened up with a 4-0 sweep of the Tulsa Oilers, dethroned the reigning Western champions Idaho Steelheads in five games, and beat the Toledo Walleye in six games. A 7-1 rout concluded the Western Conference finals between KC and Toledo. 

The Mavericks – ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken and the AHL’s Coachella Valley Firebirds – are led by forward Jeremy McKenna. The Alberta native leads the team with eight goals and 17 points in the postseason. McKenna potted a hat trick in Kansas City’s 7-1 win over Toledo in Game Six of the Western Finals. Another forward, Patrick Curry has seven playoff goals but led the team with 39 goals and 87 points in the regular season. 

On the netminding front, Cale Morris and Jack LaFontaine have split time evenly through the playoffs for the Mavericks. Morris has played eight games with six wins. LaFontaine has sentried in seven games with six wins. 

This series will mark a homecoming for K.C. head coach Tad O’Had. O’Had spent 2013-20 as an Assistant and Associate coach with the Everblades before taking over bench boss duties in Missouri. The Mavericks made the playoffs for the first time in his tenure last season but were eliminated in the first round. 

Kansas City looks to become the sixth team in ECHL history to win both the Brabham Cup and Kelly Cup in the same season. The last team to do it were the Alaska Aces in the 2013-14 season. The Mavericks are the third straight Brabham Cup champ to make the Kelly Cup Finals, along with Toledo in 2022 and Idaho in 2023. 

This will be familiar ground for many of the Everblades. Cam Johnson, Kyle Neuber, and Joe Pendenza were all on the 2022 and 2023 championship teams. Oliver Chau, Cam Darcy, Sean Josling, Logan Lambdin, Cole Moberg, and Zach Uens all make repeat appearances after the ‘23 Finals. Jordan Sambrook was also a part of the Everblades 2022 title. Todd Skirving won the 2019 Kelly Cup with Newfoundland. In total, there are 14 Kelly Cup rings on the Florida roster.

On Kansas City’s side, Jake Jaremko and Jake McLaughlin won the 2022 Kelly Cup with the Blades. 

Florida is making history in more ways than one by advancing to the 2024 Kelly Cup Finals. The Everblades are in their ECHL-record seventh Finals and have won an ECHL-record 11 straight playoff series. With the series win against Adirondack, the Everblades have won 36 playoff series in franchise history, another ECHL record. Head coach and General Manager Brad Ralph is looking to become the second coach in ECHL history to win the Kelly Cup three times. John Brophy is the only coach to have done it, winning three titles with the Hampton Road Admirals in 1991, 1992, and 1998. 

The first two games of the Kelly Cup Finals will be in Kansas City on Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1. The series will head to Estero for Games Three (June 5), Four (June 7), and Five (June 8, if necessary). The series will return to K.C. for Games Six and Seven if needed. 

BLADES BITS

KC’S ROAD TO THE FINALS: The Mavericks captured the ECHL’s Henry Brabham Cup, posting a league-best 114 points on a 54-12-4-2 regular-season record. In the Kelly Cup Playoffs, KC posted a four-game sweep of Tulsa in the Mountain Division Semifinals, topped Idaho in five games in the Mountain Division Finals, and needed six games to dispatch Toledo in the Western Conference Finals. Prior to the 2023-24 season, the Kansas City/Missouri franchise advanced to the postseason three times, falling in the divisional semifinals to Tulsa in 2019 and Allen in 2023, and succumbing in the conference semifinals to Allen in 2016 following a four-game sweep of Quad City.

THESE TEAMS HAVE A HISTORY: All-time, the Everblades and Mavericks have squared off seven times in regular-season play, but will be meeting in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the first time. The Everblades hold a 4-1-2 edge in the all-time series, most recently taking two of three games from Kansas City at Hertz Arena on February 22, 24, and 25, 2023. Florida won the first two games 4-3 and 4-1, while the Mavericks captured the finale 4-2. Joe Pendenza (1G, 3A), Oliver Chau (2G, 1A), and Cam Darcy (1G, 1A) all factored into the scoring for the Blades in that series. 

KILLIN’ IT ON THE KILL: After holding Adirondack scoreless on 22 power-play opportunities, the Everblades finally allowed a power-play goal in Game Six Eastern Conference Finals. The Everblades posted an 87.1% success rate on the penalty kill (9-for-70) through the first three rounds of the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Including a 2-18 showing in the second-round series against Orlando, the Everblades have killed off 39 of 42 opposing power plays over the last 12 contests, good for a 92.9% clip after surrendering six power-play goals to Jacksonville in the seven-game opening-round series.

POWERING UP: After coming on empty on the power play (0-for-7), in the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Everblades scored power-play goals in each of the next four contests, converting at a 25.0% rate (4-for-16), with Bobo Carpenter (2), Matt Wedman and Cole Moberg doing the honors.


JOIN THE FUN 

Tickets for home games in the 2024 Kelly Cup Playoffs presented by Germain Lexus and Scanlon 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 FacebookInstagramLinkedInTikTok and Twitter

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