Everblades and Bunnies Set for Three Games in Three Days
ESTERO, Fla. - Fresh off an impressive 5-2 victory over ECHL point leader Utah Wednesday night at Hertz Arena, the Florida Everblades will take to the road for a grueling three-game series in three days against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. The first two games of the series on Friday and Saturday will get underway at 7:05 pm, while Sunday's finale is slated for a 3:05 pm puck drop.
THE OPPONENT: The Greenville Swamp Rabbits enter the three-game series with a season record of 11-15-3-3, which is good for 28 points and a .438 point percentage which ranks fifth in the South Division. The Swamp Rabbits are coming off an impressive 7-2 win over the visiting South Carolina Stingrays on Wednesday night, the Rabbits' first game in 11 days. Greenville enters the series with the Blades having picked up just two regulation wins in the past 10 games (2-5-1-2).
THE SERIES WITH GREENVILLE: The Everblades and Swamp Rabbits have already met four times this season, with the good guys holding a 3-1 advantage in the season series. Back in November, Florida swept a two-game set in Greenville, posting a 4-0 win on November 12, behind a 21-save shutout from Parker Gahagen and two goals from Joe Pendenza, and taking a 5-4 triumph on November 13, as the Blades scored three unanswered third-period goals to rally from a 4-2 deficit. The teams split a pair of games at Bon Secours Wellness Arena two weeks ago, as the Everblades posted a 3-1 victory on January 14, while the Swamp Rabbits were a 3-1 winner the following night. This week's series will mark the Blades' final regular-season trip to Greenville this year, but the teams will meet for one more series in Estero on March 2, 4 and 5.
LAST TIME OUT: The Everblades combined five different scorers on Wednesday night as they cruised past the Utah Grizzlies, the current ECHL points and wins leader, in their lone meeting of the 2021-22 season. After spotting Utah a shorthanded goal 3:52 into the action, Blake Winiecki tied the game at 11:21 of the first period for his 100th goal in a Blades uniform. Another Florida milestone was achieved shortly after when Alex Aleardi (12:34) converted on a pass through center ice to notch his 400th career point. The Blades carried their 2-1 lead through the remainder of the period. Avery Peterson continued his red-hot start with the Everblades, finding the twine for his third time in as many games after just 89 seconds of the middle stanza. Aleardi picked up an assist on the play as the Blades extended their advantage at 3-1. The teams traded power-play goals just over one minute apart, but Joe Pendenza of the Everblades (18:08) bolstered the score to 4-2 Florida at the second intermission. With 10:45 to spare in regulation, Stephen Desrocher's blast from the near circle made it a 5-2 game. Goaltender Cam Johnson stopped 24 of 26 shots for his seventh win of the season.
SPREADING IT AROUND: Over the course of the past four games dating back to January 17, no less than 17 different Everblades have recorded at least one point, led by Blake Winiecki who has notched five points (2 G, 3 A) and Jake Jaremko who has tallied four (4 A). During that span, four Blades have put up three points, including Bobo Carpenter (1 G, 2 A), John McCarron (1 G, 2 A), Joe Pendenza (1 G, 2 A) and Avery Peterson (3 G).
SEVEN STRAIGHT FOR BLAKE: Despite missing the January 17 game against Atlanta in order to play in the ECHL All-Star Classic, Blake Winiecki remains on quite a roll, collecting at least one point in each of the last seven games he has been in the Everblades lineup. Over his seven-game point streak, Winiecki has registered 11 points on five goals and six assists, while also scoring his 100th professional goal last Saturday in a 3-2 win over Atlanta. and his 100th goal as an Everblade on Wednesday in a 5-2 win over Utah. In the All-Star Game, Winiecki scored two goals and picked up an assist. Back in November, Winiecki assembled a 10-game point streak in which he tallied 16 points on 10 goals and six assists.
400 FOR ALEARDI: In Wednesday's 5-2 win over Utah, Alex Aleardi picked up his 400th career points as a pro, earning the milestone point on a first-period goal that put the Everblades ahead of the Grizzlies 2-1, a lead that the good guys would not relinquish. He also added an assist later in the contest. In 477 professional games on both sides of the Atlantic, Aleardi has registered 185 goals and 216 assists, good for 401 points.
SAME GAME... MORE MILESTONES?: In addition to Alex Aleardi passing the 400-point plateau on Wednesday, a couple of other milestones fell by the wayside in that contest. Blake Winiecki picked up his 100th career goal as an Everblade, one game after netting his 100th professional goal. Avery Peterson, who scored for the third time in as many games as a Blade, collected his 50th professional goal, while Stephen Desrocher potted his first professional goal on the game's final score.
AFTER GREENVILLE: Following the three-day stay in Greenville, the Everblades will head south and make a two-day pit stop in Central Florida for a pair of contests against the Orlando Solar Bears on Thursday, February 3 and Friday, February 4, with both matchups at the Amway Center getting underway at 7:00 pm. The Blades and Bears will meet up at Hertz Arena on Saturday, February 5 at 7:00 pm. The first February home game will be on to mark on the calendar. In addition to our Saturday Night Tailgate party featuring live music by James Prather from 5-7 pm, it will also be Beach Night! Break out your swim trunks & sunscreen courtesy of Molly Moo's Ice Cream. Be one of the first people here to secure your Everblades beach bag as a giveaway!
WHO: Florida Everblades at Greenville Swamp Rabbits
WHERE: Bon Secours Wellness Arena (Greenville, SC)
WHEN: Friday, January 28 at 7:05 pm
BROADCAST: Watch every Florida Everblades game on FloHockey.TV. Listen to the exciting game action on ESPN Southwest Florida on 770 AM, 98.1 FM, 104.3 FM and online at https://espnswfl.com.
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