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Everblades and Gladiators Meet up After All-Star Break

January 21, 2022 - ECHL (ECHL) - Florida Everblades News Release


ESTERO, Fla. - Following the three-day ECHL All-Star Break, the Florida Everblades and Atlanta Gladiators will get the traditional second half of the season underway with back-to-back-games at Hertz Arena on Friday and Saturday evenings. Friday's tilt gets going at 7:30 pm, while Saturday night's affair will have a 7:00 pm puck drop.

THE OPPONENT: The ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Ottawa Senators and the AHL's Belleville Senators, the Atlanta Gladiators have enjoyed a strong run as of late. Winners of three straight games and seven of their last eight, the Gladiators (19-14-2-1) have climbed into third place in the ECHL South Division. With 41 points, Atlanta sits just three points behind the first-place Everblades (19-10-3-3, 44 points) and trail second-place Jacksonville (20-9-2-1, 43 points) by just two points. The Glads are three points ahead of fourth-place Orlando (18-13-2-0, 38 points) in the upper half of the table.

THE SERIES: Florida and Atlanta have met eight times this season, with the Everblades posting a 4-2-2-0 record. After a 3-2 overtime setback on November 14, the Blades took four of five from the Gladiators from December 15 through January 1, but Atlanta has taken the last two meetings between the long-time rivals. The Glads claimed a 3-2 overtime win on January 2 and posted a 4-2 victory this past Monday, both at Gas South Arena in Duluth, Ga.

LAST TIME OUT: Atlanta took a 4-2 decision in a Martin Luther King matinee Monday at Gas South Arena. Despite falling behind 1-0 in the opening minute of the second period, the Everblades took a 2-1 lead on goals by Chris McKay and John McCarron - more on that in a bit - in the middle stanza. Atlanta's Elijah Vilio put on a show in the third period, scoring a natural hat trick with a power-play goal at 1:59, a shorthanded goal at 6:48, and an empty net goal at 19:37.

WINIECKI IMPRESSES IN ALL-STAR GAME: Blake Winiecki played a key role in lifting the ECHL All-Stars to a 14-7 victory over the Jacksonville Icemen in the 2022 ECHL All-Star Classic. The ECHL's leading point scorer received a starting non and picked up two goals and an assist in Monday's nationally-televised contest. While wearing the associate captain A on his sweater, Winiecki also participated in the hardest shot contest, logging a pair of 81 mph blasts during the special event.

McCARRON SITS ATOP THE HEAP: Despite the 4-2 setback in Atlanta on Monday, Captain Everblade John McCarron was the story, making franchise history and claiming the Blades' career point-scoring record all for himself. With time running out in the second period and the score tied at 1-1, McCarron took a pass from Jordan Sambrook deep in the Blades' defensive zone. McCarron skated the length of the ice in a race against the clock, and with under two seconds left in the period, snuck home his 16th goal of the season to snap the tie and become the Florida Everblades' all-time leading point scorer. McCarron's tally gave him 366 career points in a Blades sweater, including playoffs, and 320 career regular-season points, to move past Reggie Berg in both categories, marks Berg has held since 2007.

NEXT UP FOR THE CAPTAIN: Like records? Several more await John McCarron as he continues his assault on the Florida Everblades record book. With 138 regular-season goals and 156 overall goals, including playoffs, while donning an Everblades sweater, McCarron is just seven goals shy of the franchise career mark in regular-season goals and eight marks off the club's career mark in overall goals. Reggie Berg holds the top spot in both categories with 145 regular-season tallies and 164 overall goals. In the assist department, McCarron is closing on Tom Buckley, who dished out 207 regular-season and 230 overall assists in his Everblade career. Johnny Mac currently has 182 regular-season and 210 overall assists to his credit.

MORE MILESTONES APPROACHING: Not only are Alex Aleardi and Blake Winiecki tied for the league lead with 17 goals, but both are just one away from reaching major milestones in their professional careers. Aleardi enters the Atlanta series with 399 career points as a pro, while Winiecki is sitting on 99 pro goals. Both totals include regular-season and playoff performances. During a 448-game professional career on both sides of the Atlantic, Aleardi has registered 184 goals and 215 assists, good for 399 points. As an Everblade in 2014-15 and 2021-22, Aleardi has 26 goals and 33 assists over 57 games, good for 59 points. As for Winiecki, all but one of his professional goals have come while wearing the Everblades colors, as he has 98 career markers in 228 games as a Blade. He scored one goal as a member of the AHL's Charlotte Checkers, with whom he played seven games in 2019-20.

SURVEYING THE ECHL LEADERS: The Everblades have enjoyed several league-leading performances over the season's first half. Florida skaters continue to dominate the Top-10, as four Blades stand out prominently on the point chart. Blake Winiecki tops all ECHL skaters with 40 points (17 G, 23 A), while John McCarron is tied for fourth with 36 points (16 G, 20 A). Alex Aleardi (17 G, 17 A) and Joe Pendenza (14 G, 20 A) are both tied for sixth with 34 points (17 G, 17 A). In the goal scoring category, both Winiecki and Aleardi are tied for top spot with 17 goals, while in assists, Winiecki is tied for third with 23 helpers.

PLUS-MINUS MACHINES: John McCarron leads the circuit with a plus-23 rating, followed by Xavier Bouchard in second with a plus-20 and Blake Winiecki, who is tied for fourth with a plus-19.

AND MORE DOMINATING NUMBERS: John McCarron is tied for league lead with four shorthanded goals...Parker Gahagen ranks fifth among ECHL netminders with a 2.27 GAA... Jake Jaremko stands seventh among rookies with 25 points (9 G, 16 A).

WHO: Florida Everblades vs. Atlanta Gladiators

WHERE: Hertz Arena (Estero, Fla.)

WHEN: Friday, January 21 at 7:30 pm

TICKETS: Purchase tickets for Friday's game and all future Everblades games HERE.

PROMOTIONS: It's another busy Friday at The Swamp with some great promotions on tap for Blades fans from all over Southwest Florida. During each Friday home game of the 2021-22 season, fans can enjoy the action with a 239 ticket package, which pays tribute to Southwest Florida's area code and provides a great deal! You get 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.

Read more about the Blades' busy promotional schedule and great deals HERE.

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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