'Blades Weekly: Road Slate Finishes with Four-Game Week
ESTERO, Fla. - One of two ECHL teams to have clinched a playoff spot, the Florida Everblades (42-15-5-0, 89 pts.) now turn their attention to locking down the South Division and Eastern Conference titles with four weeks to play in the regular season.
The Everblades clinched their 20th playoff berth in their 21 seasons in the ECHL with a win this past Friday night against the Atlanta Gladiators. That three-game series against Atlanta - Florida's final home games against the Gladiators in the regular season - saw the 'Blades take all three games to finish with a 5-1-0-0 home mark against Atlanta this year. Florida overcame a multiple-goal deficit to win a game for the third time this year in Saturday's series finale.
The Everblades face three different opponents this week in their final road games of the regular season. After a Wednesday night matchup in Orlando against the Solar Bears, Florida will finish the week with its sixth stretch this season of three games in three days, which includes one contest against Atlanta and two against the South Carolina Stingrays. Florida is 11-3-1-0 this year in games that are part of a three-in-three weekend. Florida's magic number to clinch the division is 10 points, while its magic number for the conference is 17 points.
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS
March 6 | vs. Atlanta Gladiators - W, 4-1
March 8 | vs. Atlanta Gladiators - W, 3-1
March 9 | vs. Atlanta Gladiators - W, 4-3 (SO)
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
March 13 | at Orlando Solar Bears | 7 p.m. - Amway Center
March 15 | at Atlanta Gladiators | 7:35 p.m. - Infinite Energy Arena
March 16 | at South Carolina Stingrays | 7:05 p.m. - North Charleston Coliseum
March 17 | at South Carolina Stingrays | 3:05 p.m. - North Charleston Coliseum
Rookie Blake Winiecki has been a one-man show against the Gladiators this season. He has recorded one-third of his 48 total points against Atlanta and tabbed six points (4g-2a) in three games this past week. He has racked up 16 points (9g-7a) in 10 games against Atlanta this year.
Rookie goaltender Jeremy Helvig yielded just two goals between his two wins last week and has permitted just five total goals over his last four starts. The Markham, Ontario, native has 22 wins this season, a win total that is first among ECHL rookies.
Forward Kyle Platzer, Florida's active leading scorer, notched a two-point (1g-1a) game on Wednesday and posted an assist on Friday to push his point streak to a season-high six games before it came to an end Saturday.
Defenseman Matt Finn recorded goals in all three games last week and became just the third 'Blades player this year to net the game-winning goal in consecutive games.
Florida scored shorthanded in Saturday's win and now has 14 shorthanded tallies for the season. That total is the third-highest in the ECHL and the most for any Eastern Conference team.
After going five straight games without a power-play goal from Feb. 16-27, the Everblades have been red hot on the power play to start the month of March. Florida has registered multiple power-play goals in five of their last six games, converting at 34.5 percent (10-for-29) in that stretch. The 'Blades power-play conversion rate has jumped from 14.8 percent (22nd) to 17.2 percent (13th) in that six-game span.
Florida's shootout win on Saturday was its first game that required overtime since Dec. 29. The 'Blades, which went 29 games without an overtime contest, are now 3-0 in shootouts this year.
With five straight wins, Florida has its third winning streak of five or more games this season. The Everblades' longest winning streak was six games from Dec. 1-14.
SOUTH DIVISION STANDINGS
Florida Everblades: 42-15-5-0, 89 PTS
Orlando Solar Bears: 33-21-4-0, 70 PTS
Jacksonville Icemen: 32-26-2-2, 68 PTS
South Carolina Stingrays: 28-28-5-0, 61 PTS
Atlanta Gladiators: 25-25-7-2, 59 PTS
Norfolk Admirals: 23-30-5-3, 54 PTS
Greenville Swamp Rabbits: 21-35-3-3, 48 PTS
G: Joe Cox (27)
A: Cox (34)
PTS: Cox (61)
+/-: Cox (+46)
SH: John McCarron (179)
GAA: Jeremy Helvig (2.24)
SV%: Helvig (.918)
Free Pregame Tailgate (March 23) - Join the 'Blades for a free pregame tailgate from 5-7 p.m. with live music and bounce houses for the kids!
$2 Wednesday (March 27) - It's the final $2 Wednesday of the regular season, featuring $2 beer, wine and hot dogs courtesy of Bud Light, Barefoot and John Morrell!
Bottomless Popcorn Friday (March 29) - It's a Bottomless Popcorn and Kids Eat Free in Breakaway Sports Pub Friday when the 'Blades face the Norfolk Admirals.
Guns & Hoses Night (March 30) - The night gets underway with a Firefighter against Police game at 4:15 p.m. as part of the 'Blades annual Guns & Hoses Night presented by Muscular Dystrophy Association. The Everblades will wear specialty jerseys that will be auctioned off postgame to benefit MDA, and there will be a free pregame tailgate from 5-7 p.m.
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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