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BLADES WIN GAME SIX THRILLER; HEAD TO THIRD STRAIGHT KELLY CUP FINALS

Tuesday, May 28th
BLADES WIN GAME SIX THRILLER; HEAD TO THIRD STRAIGHT KELLY CUP FINALS

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. – For the third consecutive year and the seventh time in the organization’s prolific 26-year history, the Florida Everblades are heading back to the Kelly Cup Finals.

The heroes were plentiful. Josh Ho-Sang set the tone with an early goal, Bobo Carpenter struck in the middle period, both Oliver Chau and Joe Pendenza potted third-period breakaways, and Cam Johnson registered 30 saves – his series high – as the Everblades closed out the Adirondack Thunder 4-3 in a classic Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals Tuesday night at Cool Insuring Arena. The victory closed out a 4-2 series win for the Everblades and secured a third-straight E.A. “Bud” Gingher Memorial Trophy as ECHL Eastern Conference Champions.

One final hurdle remains in the Kelly Cup Playoffs presented by Germain Lexus and Scanlon Lexus – a best-of-seven matchup against the Western Conference Champion Kansas City Mavericks in the Kelly Cup Finals, which opens Friday night on the road. Just four wins away from making history, the Everblades are looking to become the first ECHL organization to win three consecutive Kelly Cup Championships and the only ECHL team to capture four Kelly Cups.

After tallying a league-best 13 assists since the beginning of the playoffs, Ho-Sang could not have picked a better time to register his first postseason goal, as he put the Blades on top 1-0 at 8:38 of the first period. Ever the playmaker, Ho-Sang carried the puck the length of the ice, weaved through players from both sides and dished off to Logan Lambdin in the right circle. Lambdin skated around the Adirondack net, exchanged passes with Matt Wedman, and fed a wide-open Ho-Sang on the doorstep for the only tally of the opening frame. 

The Everblades struck first in the second frame, as Carpenter scored his team-high eighth goal of the playoffs to extend the good guys’ lead to 2-0 at the 13:50 mark. Carpenter deflected home a blast from Sean Josling on the Blades’ first power-play shift of the contest, giving Florida a man-up goal for the fourth consecutive game, with Will Reilly also picking up a helper.

Adirondack responded less than four minutes later, as Filip Engaras tallied the Thunder’s first power-play goal of the series at 17:36. The Everblades had held Adirondack scoreless on its first 22 power-play opportunities of the series. Despite giving back a goal, the Everblades took a 2-1 lead into the third period.

Two breakaway goals early in the third period gave the Everblades’ their largest lead of the night, a three-goal lead at 4-1. Chau struck first at 3:47, stealing the puck off an opponent’s stick at the Florida blue line, and finishing off the breakaway for his third goal of the playoffs. Chau would set up Pendenza for a shorthanded breakaway at 6:41, his fourth of the postseason, as the Blades pulled ahead with what appeared to be a comfortable lead.

The Thunder were not done, climbing back into the contest with a furious rally that led to pair of goals just 1:34 apart midway through the third. Engaras collected his second goal of the night at 9:19, while Timur Ibragimov followed with his first playoff tally at 10:53 as the not-so-gracious hosts cut the Everblades’ lead to 4-3.

Adirondack pulled goaltender Jeremy Brodeur with two minutes left in the third and subject Everblades netminder Cam Johnson to a furious 6-on-5 attack, that the Blades withstood to finish out the victory.

Florida was outshot 13-5 in the final frame and 33-25 over the full 60 minutes. Johnson made 30 saves for the Everblades, while Brodeur stopped 21 for the Thunder.

The best-of-seven Kelly Cup Finals against Kansas City will get underway with a pair of games at 5,800-seat Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence, Mo. on Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1. Both contests will get started at 8:05 p.m. ET. 

Hertz Arena will be the site of Games Three, Four and, if necessary, Game Five. In Estero, Games Three and Four will be played on Wednesday, June 5 and Friday, June 7, respectively, with both contests getting underway at 7:30 p.m. If Game Five is needed, it would take place on Saturday, June 8 at 7:00 p.m. Should the series go longer than five games, Kansas City would host Games Six and Seven on Monday, June 10 and Wednesday, June 12, respectively.

Tickets for Kelly Cup Finals games that will be played at Hertz Arena will go on sale online Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. by clicking HERE, in-person at the Fifth Third Bank Box Office at Hertz Arena, or by calling the Everblades office at 239-948-PUCK. Visit floridaeverblades.com for more information on the Kelly Cup Playoffs presented by Germain Lexus and Scanlon Lexus and to purchase tickets for games played at Hertz Arena. 

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BLADES BITS

During the Kelly Cup Playoffs presented by Germain Lexus and Scanlon Lexus, the Everblades are 7-0 when leading after one period and 11-0 when leading after two.

The Everblades have won an ECHL-record 11 straight playoff series, picking up the organization’s 36th postseason series win, also an ECHL record.  Florida holds a 36-20 record in 56 all-time playoff series – also a league record – and becomes the first team to appear in seven Kelly Cup Finals.

For the second-straight postseason, the Everblades’ first three series-clinching wins in the Kelly Cup Playoffs have come on the road. This season, the Blades closed out the first three series on enemy ice at Jacksonville, Orlando and Adirondack. On the march to a 2023 Kelly Cup, Florida put the bow on the first three series in South Carolina, Jacksonville and Newfoundland. Back in the 2022 championship run, the Everblades opened the playoffs with series clinchers at home versus Greenville, on the road at Jacksonville, and at home over Newfoundland. All three of the Everblades Kelly Cup Finals clinchers have taken place on home ice over Las Vegas (2012), Toledo (2022) and Idaho (2023).

Everblades Head Coach and General Manager Brad Ralph enters the Kelly Cup Finals as the ECHL’s all-time career playoff leader in wins (91) and games coached (149). He is seeking to become the second head coach to win three Kelly Cups, while looking to lead the Blades to an unprecedented three straight Kelly Cups.

Tuesday Night’s Scoresheet 

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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, sc

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