'Blades Weekly: Division Semifinals Series with IceMen Shifts to Jacksonville
ESTERO, Fla. - With two playoff wins under their belt, the Florida Everblades travel north to continue their best-of-seven South Division Semifinal series with the Jacksonville Icemen this week.
Florida acquired the first two wins in the series with Jacksonville on home ice last week. Although the two teams went to overtime only once in 13 meetings in the regular season, the 'Blades and Icemen needed overtime to decide Game 1 last Thursday. Following a 3-2 overtime triumph in Game 1, Florida came out of the gates strong in Game 2, scoring twice in the first seven minutes en route to a 4-1 win.
The series shifts to Jacksonville for Games 3-5, which will take place over three nights from Thursday to Saturday. Florida can close out the series in four games, which was the case in the Everblades' South Division Semifinal series with Atlanta last season. Thursday's contest will be the first-ever playoff game on home ice for the Icemen, which relocated from Evansville, Indiana, and began play in Jacksonville in the 2017-18 campaign.
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS
April 11 | vs. Jacksonville Icemen - W, 3-2 (OT)
April 13 | vs. Jacksonville Icemen - W, 4-1
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
April 18 | at Jacksonville Icemen | 7 p.m. - Veterans Memorial Arena
April 19 | at Jacksonville Icemen | 7 p.m. - Veterans Memorial Arena
April 20 | at Jacksonville Icemen | 7 p.m. - Veterans Memorial Arena*
*Game 5 - if necessary
Rookie forward Blake Winiecki led Florida with 184 shots on goal in the regular season and leads the 'Blades with 13 shots through two postseason games.
Goaltender Jeremy Helvig continued to roll between the pipes for Florida last weekend. Dating back to the regular season, the rookie has not lost in regulation since the end of February and is 11-0-0-1 in that stretch.
Defenseman Michael Downing, who had the game-winning goal in overtime on April 5 against Orlando, posted the game-winner in overtime on Thursday against Jacksonville. He didn't register a goal in his first 16 games of the regular season before that tally against the Solar Bears.
Winiecki, Matt Finn and Justin Auger all tabbed a three-point game in the first week of the series. Florida had 23 different three-point performances in the regular season.
Florida went to overtime four times during its run to the Kelly Cup Finals last season, though only two of those overtime games came before the Kelly Cup Finals. The 'Blades had not played an overtime game in the first game of the playoffs in any of their last 11 playoff appearances dating back to 2007 before Thursday's overtime affair.
After struggling on the power play against Jacksonville in the final 10 head-to-head meetings, Florida had success in the first two games of the playoff series last week. The 'Blades went 1-for-39 in the last 10 games against Jacksonville this year but were 3-for-8 in the two games last weekend.
Florida scored in the first five minutes of a home game for the 10th time this season on Saturday night with John McCarron's tally 4:27 into the opening frame. The 'Blades are 10-0-0-0 at home when they find the back of the net in the first five minutes of a game.
ECHL PLAYOFF SERIES
South Division: Florida (#1) vs. Jacksonville (#4) - Florida leads 2-0
South Division: Orlando (#2) vs. South Carolina (#3) - series tied 1-1
North Division: Newfoundland (#1) vs. Brampton (#4) - Newfoundland leads 3-0
North Division: Adirondack (#2) vs. Manchester (#3) - Manchester leads 2-0
Central Division: Cincinnati (#1) vs. Kalamazoo (#4) - series tied 1-1
Central Division: Toledo (#2) vs. Fort Wayne (#3) - Toledo leads 2-0
Mountain Division: Tulsa (#1) vs. Kansas City (#4) - series tied 1-1
Mountain Division: Idaho (#2) vs. Utah (#3) - series tied 1-1
'BLADES PLAYOFF LEADERS
G: Seven tied at 1
A: Justin Auger (3)
PTS: Auger (4)
+/-: Matt Finn/Ben Masella/John McCarron (+3)
SH: Blake Winiecki (13)
GAA: Jeremy Helvig (2.27)
SV%: Helvig (.918)
FOLLOW THE 'BLADES
Fans can listen live to Game 3 on Thursday and Game 4 on Friday on 99.3 FM ESPN or online at 993espn.com. If necessary, Game 5 on Saturday will be broadcast on WJBX - News, Talk & More, which is on the radio dial at 101.5 FM, 107.3 FM, and 770 AM and online at wjbxnewstalk.com. Don't miss out on the official watch party for all Everblades road games at Bokamper's Sports Bar & Grill at both their Estero and Naples locations!
Fans can also watch the games on a subscription basis on ECHL.TV.
Join the FUN and 'Blades FAMILY by SAVING with Season Tickets or a Flexible Package that fit into your schedule and budget, plus receive FREE gifts and benefits!
SPECIAL OFFER! Purchase a new Season Ticket or Flexible Package for the 2019-20 season and receive a $20 gift card to Ford's Garage and an Everblades tote bag!
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