Everblades Ready to Bag Grizzlies
ESTERO, Fla. - The Florida Everblades will drop the puck on a busy week as the Utah Grizzlies make their only trip to Hertz Arena this season. Wednesday night's exciting inter-division matchup will serve as the prelude for the Blades' three-in-three road trip to face the Greenville Swamp Rabbits starting on Friday.
THE OPPONENT: The Utah Grizzlies are the ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Colorado Avalanche and the AHL's Colorado Eagles. Utah currently leads the Mountain Division of the Western Conference by a healthy margin, as they sport a 25-12-1-1 mark which is good for a league-best 52 points and a division-leading .667 winning percentage. They are the first ECHL team to have reached the 25-win plateau this year.
THE SERIES: Since rebranding as the Utah Grizzlies in 2005 after calling several different locales home from 1988 through 2003, the Blades and Utah have met four different times. Florida sports an interesting 1-1-1-1 record across those four matchups. On March 8, 2017, the teams met for the first time and played for the only time in the series at Hertz Arena. Despite two assists from John McCarron, the only current Blade who appeared in that game, the Blades fell 4-3. In late November 2019, the squads met three times in West Valley City, Utah's Maverik Center. The Blades went 1-0-1-1 in that series in which they outscored the Grizzlies 14-13. In the lone Florida win, 6-3 on November 29, 2019, six different Blades scored goals, including Blake Winiecki, who also added an assist. Ben Masella had two assists, while McCarron added one. Cam Johnson logged 31 saves and picked up the win in goal.
LAST TIME OUT: Last Saturday, the Everblades secured a two-game series split with a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Atlanta Gladiators at Hertz Arena. Blake Winiecki put the Blades on a hot start, pushing a backhand shot under the glove hand of Atlanta goaltender Chris Nell for his 100th professional goal. His milestone at 6:16 of the first period was assisted by Joe Pendenza and Xavier Bouchard. Two Atlanta goals 2:39 apart gave the Gladiators a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission. After a scoreless second period, Avery Peterson ended the Blades' scoring drought with a shorthanded breakaway goal, his second goal in two games with the club, as the game was tied 2-2 with 7:38 to play. With just 1:11 At 18:49, Nathan Perkovich collected the loose change in front of the Gladiators net and stuffed in his seventh goal of the season to clinch the Everblades victory.
WINIECKI HITS 100...AND NEEDS ONE FOR 100: Blake Winiecki's goal that opened the scoring in Saturday's 3-2 win over Atlanta was the 100th goal of the Lakeville, Minnesota's professional career. While Winiecki's next goal will be the 101st of his professional career, it will also be his 100th in an Everblades sweater. He scored one goal with the AHL's Charlotte Checkers during a seven-game stint back in 2019-20.
STREAKING WITH BLAKE: Despite missing the January 17 game against Atlanta - for good reason - Blake Winiecki remains on quite a roll, collecting at least one point in each of the last six games he has been in the Everblades lineup. Over his six-game point streak, Winiecki has registered 10 points on four goals and six assists. The one game he missed? It was to accommodate the ECHL All-Star Classic. And Winiecki scored two goals and picked up an assist in his first ECHL All-Star appearance. Back in November, Winiecki assembled a 10-game point streak in which he tallied 16 points on 10 goals and six assists.
ALEARDI'S AIMING FOR 400: Alex Aleardi, who is on a uncharacteristic five-game dry spell after not going more than two games without a point at any time this season, is sitting on 399 career points as a pro. During a 476-game professional career on both sides of the Atlantic, Aleardi has registered 184 goals and 215 assists, good for 399 points.
WHO: Florida Everblades vs. Utah Grizzlies
WHERE: Hertz Arena (Estero, Fla.)
WHEN: Wednesday, January 26 at 7:30 pm
TICKETS: Purchase tickets for Wednesday's game and all future Everblades games HERE.
PROMOTIONS: Every Wednesday home game at The Swamp features some awesome Hump Day deals, including $3 John Morrell hot dogs and Bud Light drafts. Also, college students can show a valid student ID at the box office to purchase their student ticket for only $5. Students can also purchase tickets online 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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ECHL Stories from January 26, 2022
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- Everblades Ready to Bag Grizzlies - Florida Everblades
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