'Blades Weekly: Stellar 21st Season Comes to a Close
ESTERO, Fla. - Though the Florida Everblades came up short of the second Kelly Cup in team history when they fell in the Eastern Conference Finals this past weekend, the 'Blades 2018-19 campaign was still one of the most remarkable seasons in team history.
Enduring a slew of roster changes and injuries, the 'Blades still completed the regular season with a 50-16-5-1 record, the third-best record in team history. Florida dominated the South Division and had the best record against its own division of any of the ECHL's 27 teams on the way to earning the seventh division title in team history.
Florida eventually advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight season and the sixth time total in team history. The 'Blades made consecutive trips to the Conference Finals only one other time in team history. Florida advanced to the American Conference Finals in both 2004 and 2005.
Forward Blake Winiecki's 59-point season was tied for the third-highest scoring season by a rookie in team history. Only Matt Willows, who notched 66 points in 2015-16, and Marty Johnson, who had 63 points in 2002-03, had higher scoring seasons in their first year as a pro.
The Everblades had 201,097 fans attend a game at Hertz Arena this season, which is the highest single-season attendance since the 2008-09 season. The 'Blades average of 5,586 fans per game was the seventh-highest average in the ECHL and the third-best in the Eastern Conference.
Florida ranked second in the ECHL with an average offensive output of 3.83 goals per game in the regular season. The 'Blades finished the year with 276 goals, which was just one goal shy of the team record of 277 goals scored in the 1999-2000 season.
Florida's 50-win season was only the third time in the team's 21 seasons it had reached the 50-win plateau. With 53 wins last season, the Everblades have 103 victories over the last two seasons, the most wins in any two-year stretch in team history.
Home, Sweet Home
With 27 victories at Hertz Arena this season, the 'Blades have now racked up 79 home wins in the three-year tenure of head coach Brad Ralph. That home win total is the highest of any ECHL team in that three-year span. The Toledo Walleye's total of 77 home wins since the start of the 2016-17 season is the next-highest home victory count over the last three seasons.
After putting up a 54-point rookie season last year, alternate captain Joe Cox was a key piece of Florida's success in the 2018-19 season. Cox led the Everblades in a host of offensive categories, including goals (27), assists (34), points (61), and plus-minus rating (+46). He was tied for the team lead with 16 multi-point games and was named the ECHL Plus Performer of the Year after finishing with a league-best plus-minus rating of +46.
Including the regular season and the postseason, the Everblades never lost more than two consecutive games all year. In fact, Florida lost consecutive games in regulation on only four occasions throughout the season. The 'Blades were 16-4-1-1 in the regular season on the heels of a regulation, overtime or shootout loss.
The 'Blades had 49 players suit up in at least one game in the regular season. That's tied for the most players to see ice time in one season in any of the last seven campaigns. Florida had 30 forwards, 15 defensemen and four goaltenders see game action this year.
'BLADES SEASON LEADERS
G: Joe Cox (27)
A: Blake Winiecki/Joe Cox (34)
PTS: Joe Cox (61)
+/-: Joe Cox (+46)
SH: Blake Winiecki (184)
GAA: Jeremy Helvig (2.27)
SV%: Jeremy Helvig (.918)
'BLADES PLAYOFF LEADERS
G: Blake Winiecki (11)
A: Matt Finn (8)
PTS: Blake Winiecki (16)
+/-: Matt Finn (+7)
SH: Blake Winiecki (56)
GAA: Callum Booth (2.17)
SV%: Callum Booth (.925)
Follow the 'Blades
Make sure to follow the Everblades on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with all the latest news in the offseason, including player signings and schedule information.
2019-20 Season Tickets and Flexible Packages are on sale now!
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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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ECHL Stories from May 22, 2019
- Toledo Claims Bruce Taylor Trophy as Western Conference Champions - ECHL
- Walleye Are Western Conference Champs - Toledo Walleye
- ECHL Transactions - May 22 - ECHL
- 'Blades Weekly: Stellar 21st Season Comes to a Close - Florida Everblades
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