Everblades Host Manchester in Just Sixth All-Time Matchup
ESTERO, Fla. - The Florida Everblades (34-11-5-0, 73 pts.) take on their second North Division foe in as many weeks, facing the Manchester Monarchs (26-22-1-1, 54 pts.) in the series opener of a two-game set, which is the Everblades' final non-divisional series of the regular season.
Game 51: Everblades vs. Manchester
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Hertz Arena
Listen: WJBX - News, Talk & More
Social: Twitter | #MANvsFLA
Game notes: Click here
Last Time Out
Florida tied its season-high by scoring three times in the first period and didn't look back en route to a 5-2 win over Orlando on Wednesday at Hertz Arena. Five different players found the back of the net for the 'Blades, and five players had multiple points, including rookie Cliff Pu, who finished with a three-point night (1g-2a) for the first multi-point game of his pro career. Goaltender Jamie Phillips made 28 saves to earn his 18th win of the season.
Players to Watch
Jeremy Helvig (FLA) - Despite suffering a regulation loss for the first time in almost three months his last time out, Helvig is still one of the ECHL's best goaltenders since he started a 16-game unbeaten streak on Nov. 18 in an 8-3 win over Atlanta. The rookie has compiled a 15-1-1 record, a 1.98 goals-against-average and .923 save percentage over his last 18 games. He owns a 2.15 GAA for the season, the third-best mark among league goaltenders.
Spencer Watson (MAN) - In his second season with the Monarchs, Watson leads Manchester in scoring with 39 points and is second on the team in goals with 20. Watson, who played two seasons with Helvig with the Ontario Hockey League's Kingston Frontenacs, has registered multiple points in eight games this season, including a career-best four-point night on Jan. 4 in Manchester's 5-4 OT win over Adirondack.
Friday is only the sixth all-time meeting between the two teams. Florida is 4-1-0 all-time against Manchester and 3-0-0 at Hertz Arena. The 'Blades swept the only previous series in Estero in January 2017 with 5-4 (SO), 3-1, and 3-2 wins on Jan. 4 and Jan. 6-7, respectively. In fact, all five previous matchups between Florida and Manchester came in the 2016-17 season. The Everblades split a two-game series in Manchester on Nov. 23 and Nov. 25 of that season.
The 20 Club
Florida is the only team in the ECHL that has three players in the top 10 in goal scoring. Joe Cox (22g, 6th), John McCarron (21g, T-7th), and Kyle Platzer (21g, T-7th) have all hit the 20-goal plateau, making Florida one of just two teams with three 20-goal scorers. McCarron led the 'Blades and finished tied for 17th in the league with 20 goals last season. He was one of five Florida players to surpass the 20-goal plateau last year.
??????No Place Like Home
Florida has compiled 70 home wins in head coach Brad Ralph's three-season tenure with the Everblades. Outside of the Toledo Walleye, which also have 70 home wins since the start of the 2016-17 season, no other ECHL team is within six wins of Florida's home victory total in that three-year span. Under Ralph's direction, Florida is 70-17-4-5 at home, a winning percentage of .776.
Power Play Predictor
Although Florida's home power play ranks 22nd in the ECHL at 14.9 percent, it has been a key contributor to the 'Blades home success when it has clicked. The Everblades are 10-0-0-0 when they score on the power play at home. Florida has registered multiple power-play goals in six games this season, four of which have been at home. The 'Blades tabbed two power-play markers in five chances on Wednesday.
Prior to Wednesday, the 'Blades had scored just three total goals in the first period of their previous eight games. Wednesday's win saw the 'Blades match that on the way to leading 3-0 after one, which was their biggest lead after one period this season. Florida has posted a 22-0-2 record when it has the lead through one frame.
Florida concludes its six-game homestand with the series finale against Manchester on Saturday. The 'Blades final non-divisional game of the regular season gets underway at 7 p.m.
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ECHL Stories from February 15, 2019
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