'Blades Weekly: Regular Season Closes with Pair of Rivalry Tilts
ESTERO, Fla. - On the brink of the start of the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs, the Florida Everblades (48-16-5-1, 102 pts.) prepare to close out the regular season with two home games this week.
Florida swept a three-game set from Norfolk this past week and clinched the Eastern Conference regular season title on Friday with a 5-2 victory, a win that guaranteed home-ice advantage through the Eastern Conference Final of the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs. Tommy Thompson (3g-2a) and Grant Arnold (5a) paced the 'Blades offense with five points apiece during the week, while Jeremy Helvig appeared in all three games and finished with a 1.58 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage on the way to winning CCM ECHL Goaltender of the Week.
The Everblades have a pair of rivalry tilts on the docket this week, closing the regular season with a Friday matchup against the Orlando Solar Bears and a Saturday affair with the Jacksonville Icemen. Orlando has the slight edge in the series this year with six wins through the first 11 meetings, but the 'Blades can even the series on Friday night. Florida has dominated Jacksonville this season with an 8-3-1-0 mark overall and a 5-0-0-0 record at home.
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS
March 27 | vs. Norfolk Admirals - W, 5-2
March 29 | vs. Norfolk Admirals - W, 5-2
March 30 | vs. Norfolk Admirals - W, 6-2
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
April 5 | vs. Orlando Solar Bears | 7:30 p.m. - Hertz Arena
April 6 | vs. Jacksonville Icemen | 7 p.m. - Hertz Arena
It was a big weekend for some of the newest faces on the Everblades. Rookie Josh Lammon netted his first career goal and multi-point game in Florida's 5-2 win over Norfolk on Friday. Alex Tonge registered his first career goal in just his second career game on Friday and then posted his first career multi-goal game on Saturday.
Tommy Thompson tallied his second career multi-goal game and first career hat trick in Wednesday's 5-2 victory. His hat trick was the second of the season by a 'Blades player.
Jeremy Helvig earned two more wins this week to get to 26 victories for the year and is one win shy of matching the Everblades single-season record for wins by a rookie goaltender, a record shared by Anthony Peters (2015-16) and David Leggio (2008-09).
Florida's penalty kill continued to roll last week. The 'Blades held Norfolk scoreless on 14 power-play chances in the three-game series and have now converted on 47-of-51 (92.2%) penalty kills in their last 12 games.
The Everblades scored more than four goals in each of their three wins this past week, the first time since Jan. 5-12 that they have posted more than four goals in three or more consecutive games.
Though the second period has been Florida's signature period this year, it dominated the first period against Norfolk. The 'Blades scored a season-high four goals in the first period on Wednesday and matched that season high in the first period on Saturday.
Hertz Arena continues to be a challenging environment for visiting teams to play in. The 'Blades are second in the ECHL with 25 home wins this season and have won by an average of 2.88 goals at home.
SOUTH DIVISION STANDINGS
Florida Everblades: 48-16-5-1, 102 PTS
Orlando Solar Bears: 38-25-4-1, 81 PTS
Jacksonville Icemen: 36-29-2-2, 76 PTS
South Carolina Stingrays: 33-31-5-1, 72 PTS
Atlanta Gladiators: 31-28-7-3, 72 PTS
Norfolk Admirals: 26-35-5-3, 60 PTS
Greenville Swamp Rabbits: 23-40-3-3, 52 PTS
G: Joe Cox (27)
A: Cox (34)
PTS: Cox (61)
+/-: Cox (+46)
SH: Blake Winiecki (182)
GAA: Jeremy Helvig (2.28)
SV%: Helvig (.918)
Youth Jersey Giveaway (April 5) - The first 500 kids 12 and under will receive an Everblades youth jersey courtesy of Wendy's. It's also Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption Night, and fans will receive a Wendy's meal card. Don't miss out on the final Bottomless Popcorn and Kids Eat Free in Breakaway Sports Pub Friday!
Blackout Night & Fan Appreciation Night (April 6) - Join the 'Blades for the final home game of the regular season on Saturday, which is Blackout Night presented by Passion Foundation and Fan Appreciation Night! Fans will receive an Everblades team photo courtesy of FGCU and an Everblades rally card courtesy of Naples Daily News. It's also Awards Night presented by Hyatt Place Coconut Point, with a pregame award ceremony recognizing accomplishments from the season. The 'Blades will wear special blackout jerseys that will be auctioned off postgame to benefit the Passion Foundation. There will be giveaways throughout the night when the 'Blades face the Jacksonville Icemen.
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.
Ticket packages for the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs presented by Smile Direct Club and 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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