'Blades Weekly: Kelly Cup Playoffs Commence at Home
ESTERO, Fla. - All sights are set on the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs presented by SmileDirectClub for the Florida Everblades, which begin their pursuit of the second Kelly Cup in franchise history on Thursday of this week.
Florida closed out the regular season on a wave of momentum, winning both of its games this past weekend to stretch its point streak to six games (5-0-0-1). After falling in a 2-0 hole on Friday night against Orlando, the Everblades scored the final three goals of the game and won in overtime for the second time this year on Michael Downing's first goal of the season. The 'Blades then put the finishing touches on the regular season by downing Jacksonville on Saturday for their ninth win in 13 meetings with the Icemen this year.
In a South Division playoff race that came down to the final day of the regular season, Jacksonville lost on Sunday to fall to the fourth seed in the South Division and set up the first-round matchup with Florida. The 'Blades have posted a 22-3-2 record against the Icemen since they relocated to Jacksonville for the 2017-18 season. This year marks the first playoff appearance in Icemen team history, which includes the four seasons the team was based in Evansville, Indiana.
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS
April 5 | vs. Orlando Solar Bears - W, 3-2 (OT)
April 6 | vs. Jacksonville Icemen - W, 3-1
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
April 11 | vs. Jacksonville Icemen | 7:30 p.m. - Hertz Arena
April 13 | vs. Jacksonville Icemen | 7 p.m. - Hertz Arena
After posting three goals in his first week with the 'Blades, Alex Tonge stayed red hot this past weekend with five points (2g-3a) in Florida's two victories. He had eight points (5g-3a) in the last four games of the regular season to earn a spot on the 'Blades playoff roster.
Mitch Vandergunst halted a stretch of 25 games without a goal with the final regular-season goal on Saturday night. He had the game-winning goal in Florida's first win of the season, a 3-2 triumph over Newfoundland on Oct. 13.
With his 27th win of the year on Friday night, Jeremy Helvig matched the Everblades' single-season record for wins by a rookie goaltender, a record also shared by Anthony Peters (2015-16) and David Leggio (2008-09).
Goaltender Evan Weninger made his professional debut on Saturday night against Jacksonville and earned the third star of the game with a 26-save effort.
Florida's penalty kill completed the regular season by going a perfect 23-for-23 in the final five games. The five-game stretch of holding an opponent without a power-play goal tied a season-high streak for Florida. The 'Blades were also perfect in five straight games from Jan. 16-31.
Hertz Arena was a challenging environment for opposing teams to play in all season. The 'Blades finished second in the ECHL with 27 home wins in the regular season, three more home wins than the next closest teams, Newfoundland and Kansas City.
Florida has won 50 or more games in the regular season in each of the last two years, which is the first time in franchise history the 'Blades have earned 50 or more wins in consecutive seasons.
Speaking of success on home ice, Florida won all six home matchups against Jacksonville in the regular season. The Everblades finished with less than two home regulation losses against seven of the eight opponents they faced at Hertz Arena.
FINAL SOUTH DIVISION STANDINGS
xy - Florida Everblades: 50-16-5-1, 106 PTS
x - Orlando Solar Bears: 41-25-5-1, 88 PTS
x - South Carolina Stingrays: 35-31-5-1, 76 PTS
x - Jacksonville Icemen: 36-32-2-2, 76 PTS
Atlanta Gladiators: 31-30-8-3, 73 PTS
Norfolk Admirals: 27-36-6-3, 63 PTS
Greenville Swamp Rabbits: 25-41-3-3, 56 PTS
x - clinched playoff position; y - clinched division
'BLADES REGULAR SEASON LEADERS
G: Joe Cox (27)
A: Cox (34)
PTS: Cox (61)
+/-: Cox (+46)
SH: Blake Winiecki (184)
GAA: Jeremy Helvig (2.27)
SV%: Helvig (.918)
$2 Beer, Wine & Hot Dogs (April 11) - It's a $2 Wednesday on a Thursday for the Everblades first playoff game against Jacksonville! Beer, wine and hot dogs are $2 all night long courtesy of Bud Light, Barefoot and John Morrell.
Pregame Tailgate (April 13) - The Everblades host Jacksonville in Game 2 of the South Division Semifinals at Hertz Arena. Come early for a pregame tailgate from 5-7 p.m. featuring live music and bounce houses for the kids! The Everblades will also team up with The Fallen Officers to honor the sacrifices of law enforcement officers with a special tribute during the game. For more information, visit thefallenofficers.com.
EVERBLADES 2018-19 BROADCAST INFORMATION
Catch all the exciting action of Everblades hockey on WJBX News, Talk & More on 101.5 FM, 104.3 FM, 770 AM on the radio waves, or listen for FREE online.
Fans can also watch the games on a subscription basis on ECHL.TV.
2019-20 Season Tickets and Flexible Packages are on sale now!
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!
Private tours of Hertz Arena are available to select your season seats! Call the Florida Everblades Front Office at 239-948-7825 to schedule your tour today!
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ECHL Stories from April 9, 2019
- Zach Fischer Gets Call-Up to Stockton - Rapid City Rush
- Let's Get Ready for Playoffs - Toledo Walleye
- 'Blades Weekly: Kelly Cup Playoffs Commence at Home - Florida Everblades
- ECHL Transactions - April 9 - ECHL
- ECHL Announces Suspensions - ECHL
- Preview of Division Semifinals of 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs - ECHL
- Captain John McCarron Returns from AHL Loan - Florida Everblades
- Zach Fischer Gets Call-Up to Stockton - Rapid City Rush
- K-Wings Set Playoff Roster - Kalamazoo Wings
- Cincinnati's Thomas Receives John Brophy Award as ECHL Coach of the Year - ECHL
- Colton Saucerman Returns to Steelheads from AHL Loan in Utica - Idaho Steelheads
- Thomas Named ECHL Coach of the Year - Cincinnati Cyclones
- Solar Bears Announce 2019 Playoff Roster - Orlando Solar Bears
- Oilers Reveal Playoff Roster - Tulsa Oilers
- Steelheads Announce 2019 Kelly Cup Playoff Roster - Idaho Steelheads
- Stingrays Announce 2019 Kelly Cup Playoff Roster - South Carolina Stingrays
- Beast and Growlers Meet for First Ever All-Canadian ECHL Playoff Matchup - Brampton Beast
- Walleye Announce Playoff Roster - Toledo Walleye
- Kamerin Nault Called up by Manitoba Moose - Greenville Swamp Rabbits
- Comets Reassign Trio to Kalamazoo - Kalamazoo Wings
- Komets Announce Playoff Roster - Fort Wayne Komets
- Solar Bears Extend Presenting Partnership with XYMOPrint Through 2020-21 Season - Orlando Solar Bears
- Logan Thompson Signs PTO with Binghamton Devils - Adirondack Thunder
- Fuel Announce 2018-19 Team Award Winners - Indy Fuel
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