Everblades Chomping at the Bit for Greenville Trip
ESTERO, Fla. - The Florida Everblades will put a season-long road unbeaten streak on the line as a two-game series with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits gets underway Friday at 7:05 pm. The teams will also face off Saturday at 7:05 pm. As the Blades head to the Upstate region of South Carolina, the squad carries an impressive resume away from Hertz Arena, as Brad Ralph's bunch is currently 12-0-3-1 on the road. In addition to not losing a road game in 16 contests this season, Florida's 12 road wins and 28 road points are both tops in the ECHL.
THE OPPONENT: The ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Florida Panthers and the AHL's Charlotte Checkers, the Swamp Rabbits find themselves in sixth place in the South Division with a 9-14-3-3 record.
THE SERIES: Florida sports a nifty 69-36-16 (.636) all-time record against Greenville. The teams have met twice this season with the Everblades picking up a pair of road victories. This weekend's series is the second straight series between the rivals to take place in Upstate South Carolina. Looking past this series, the South Division rivals 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: On Saturday, the Everblades picked up a 5-2 victory to close out a two-game sweep of the South Carolina Stingrays. Five different players scored goals for Florida, while ECHL goals leader Alex Aleardi led the Blades with two assists, despite not adding to his league-best total of 17 goals. In the two-game sweep of the Rays, your Everblades outscored the visitors 13-5 over 120 minutes of hockey. In the opening game of the set on Friday, the Blades were a big 8-3 winner as John McCarron collected the team's first hat trick of the season and added two assists for the first five-point performance by an Everblade this season. Blake Winiecki added two goals, while three other Blades joined McCarron with two helpers.
SITTING ATOP THE SOUTH DIVISION: The Everblades have moved back into first place in the ECHL South Division with an 18-8-3-3 record and 42 points. Jacksonville sits in second at 20-9-1-1 with an identical 42 points, but the Blades hold the tiebreaker with an 18-14 advantage in regulation wins. Atlanta (16-14-2-1, 35 points) has climbed into third place, while Orlando (17-12-1-0, 35 points) is right there. Norfolk (12-16-1-1, 26 points) is in fifth, Greenville (9-14-3-3, 24 points) finds itself in sixth, while South Carolina (10-18-3-0, 23 points) rounds out the table in seventh.
HEY NOW, YOU'RE AN ALL-STAR!: The ECHL announced on Wednesday 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 38 points and he is tied for third place in the league with 22 assists. Winiecki's success this season included Inglasco/ECHL Player of the Week honors for the week of Nov. 1-7. After hitting the net twice in Friday's 8-3 dominate win of South Carolina, the Lakeville, Minnesota product now has 98 career pro goals, including playoffs, leaving him two shy of 100 lamp lighters for his career.
McCARRON NEARS THE PEAK: Spearheaded by his first five-point game of the season last Friday, Everblades Captain John McCarron now has registered 317 regular-season points and 363 points including playoffs and is just two points away from matching the career franchise records in both categories. The records in those categories are currently held by Reggie Berg, who amassed 319 regular-season points and 365 overall points, respectively, from 1999 through 2007. Additionally, McCarron is nearing the both the club's career records for all-time and regular season goals scored, as he is just nine and 10 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.
CALL IT MOUNT BLADESMORE: Four Everblades rank among the ECHL's top seven players in points, with only two other teams having two players appearing in the league's Top-19. Coming off a huge two-game series against South Carolina that saw the Blades post 13 goals and 21 assists, Blake Winiecki sits atop the ECHL scoring heap with 38 points (16 G, 22 A). League goals leader Alex Aleardi is tied for fourth with 34 points (17 G, 17 A), while John McCarron (14 G, 19 A) and Joe Pendenza (14 G, 18 A) are sixth and seventh with 33 points and 32 points, respectively.
UP NEXT: Following the quick trip to Greenville, 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 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.
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.
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