Everblades Aim to Close out Rabbits
ESTERO, Fla - Fresh off a 3-1 victory on Friday night, the first-place Florida Everblades are in search of the team's 20th win of the season, while also looking to close out a two-game sweep of the host Greenville Swamp Rabbits Saturday night at 7:05 pm in Bon Secours Wellness Arena. In addition to putting their ECHL-best 17-game (13-0-3-1) road unbeaten streak on the line, the Everblades will be gunning for a fourth consecutive win in the series finale. Florida is an impressive 11-2-1 in the team's last 14 games.
THE OPPONENT: The ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Florida Panthers and the AHL's Charlotte Checkers, the Swamp Rabbits claim a 9-15-3-3 record and have slipped back into seventh place in the ECHL South Division due to South Carolina posting a 6-4 victory over Norfolk Friday night.
THE SERIES: With Friday's 3-1 win, Florida improved to 70-36-16 (.639) all-time record against Greenville. The teams have met three times this season, all in Bon Secours Wellness Arena, and the Everblades are perfect, with three regulation wins by a combined 12-5 margin. Looking ahead, the South Division foes will meet up again playing three games in Greenville January 28-30 before squaring off for a three-game set March 2, 4 and 5 at friendly Hertz Arena.
LAST TIME OUT: Despite spotting the Swamp Rabbits a quick goal just 1:52 into Friday's contest, the Everblades scored three unanswered goals to secure a 3-1 victory. John McCarron knotted the game at the 3:44 mark of the first period with his 15th goal of the season. Jake McLaughlin picked up the game-winner with his third marker of the season at 5:11 of the middle period, while Levko Koper poked home an empty-net goal in the final minute, his eighth tally of the year, to close out the scoring. Joe Pendenza picked up two assists and Parker Gahagen registered 31 saves and earned his third-straight win in goal for the Blades.
McCARRON IS ONE POINT AWAY: With a goal in Friday's victory, Everblades Captain John McCarron is just one point away from tying two franchise point-scoring records. McCarron now has registered 318 regular-season points and 364 points including playoffs and with one more goal or assist, will match the career records in those categories currently held by Reggie Berg. From 1999 through 2007, Berg amassed 319 regular-season points and 365 overall points. Additionally, McCarron is nearing the both the club's career records for all-time and regular season goals scored, as he is just eight and nine goals away from those marks, respectively. McCarron is also closing in on similar franchise records for assists, as he sits just 21 helpers shy of the all-time mark and 26 short of the regular-season record.
STREAKING BLADES: In addition to Parker Gahagen picking up a W in net for the third straight game on Friday, Joe Pendenza ran his point streak to five games, the longest current streak by an Everblade. In his last five games, Pendenza has eight points on three goals and five assists. Levko Koper extended his multi-point streak to three games, as the veteran has tallied a goal and an assist in each of his last three contests.
SITTING ATOP THE HEAP: While the Everblades (19-8-3-3) were knocking off Greenville 3-1 on Friday to pick up two valuable points and improve their season's total to 44, the Jacksonville Icemen (20-9-2-1) suffered a 2-1 overtime loss at the Atlanta Gladiators and earned just one point in the standings, giving them 43 on the season. That combination gave the Everblades sole possession of the points lead in the ECHL South Division.
WINIECKI HEADS TO MONDAY'S ALL-STAR GAME: The ECHL announced on Monday that Everblades forward Blake Winiecki was selected to compete in the 2022 ECHL All-Star Classic in Jacksonville, Florida. The game is scheduled for Monday, January 17 at 7:00 pm inside Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena. It will be Winiecki's first appearance in an ECHL All-Star event in his career. The fourth year Everblade leads the ECHL with 39 points and he ranks third in the league with 23 assists. Winiecki's success this season included Inglasco/ECHL Player of the Week honors for the week of Nov. 1-7. The Lakeville, Minnesota product now has 98 career pro goals, including playoffs, leaving him two shy of 100 lamp lighters for his career.
PLENTY OF OTHER STARS IN THE BLADES GALAXY: Four Everblades rank among the ECHL's top seven players in points, with only one other team having two players appearing in the league's Top-15. Blake Winiecki continues to sit atop the ECHL scoring heap with 39 points (16 G, 23 A). Alex Aleardi is tied for the ECHL lead with 17 goals and sits tied for fourth with 34 points (17 G, 17 A), while John McCarron (15 G, 19 A) and Joe Pendenza (14 G, 19 A) are tied for fourth and sitting seventh, respectively, with 34 points each.
UP NEXT: The Everblades head to Duluth, Ga. for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee against the Atlanta Gladiators on Monday, January 17. The single-game will get underway at 12:30 pm. After the side trip to Georgia and the ECHL All-Star Break January 18-20, the next home game for the Everblades is slated for Friday, January 21 when the Atlanta Gladiators come to town. During each Friday home game of the 2021-22 season, fans can enjoy the action with two premium seat tickets, two autographed programs, and two Rum buckets for just $39! Additionally, the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive an Everblades tumbler courtesy of Millennium Physician Group. To purchase tickets, visit HERE.
Additionally, the Blades play on Saturday, January 22 against Atlanta. Join us for First Responder Night presented by Muscular Dystrophy Association. Enjoy a special tribute to our first responders. Also, enjoy live music from TC Carter from 5-7 pm during our Saturday tailgate.
WHO: Florida Everblades vs. Greenville Swamp Rabbits
WHERE: Bon Secours Wellness Arena (Greenville, SC)
WHEN: Saturday, January 15 at 7:05 pm
BROADCAST: Watch every Florida Everblades game on FloHockey.TV. Catch tonight's live audio feed on www.mixlr.com/florida-everblades!
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ECHL Stories from January 15, 2022
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- Rush Best Thunder, 5-3, for Third Straight Win - Rapid City Rush
- Rinaldi Leads Offense, Rabbits Down Everblades 3-1 - Greenville Swamp Rabbits
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