Four-Game Week Starts at Home
ESTERO, Fla. - The Florida Everblades (31-11-0-2) welcome the Jacksonville Icemen (16-17-3-3) to Hertz Arena for the first of four meetings this week. The Everblades and Icemen will also square off three times this weekend in Jacksonville. Tonight's affair marks the sixth meeting of the season between the two clubs and the first since Jan. 13. The Blades hold a 3-2-0-0 advantage in the season series so far.
Last Time Out: Florida waited until the second period to start the scoring. Sissons put the Blades up 1-0 with a power-play goal that came just over a minute into the middle frame. Orlando responded when Fabrizio Ricci tapped in a rebound behind Hildebrand to tie the game. 14 minutes into the middle frame, the Solar Bears took a 2-1 lead when Aaron Luchuk scored on the power play. Levko Koper knotted things up at 2-2 when he scored on a wrist shot late in the second period. Orlando pulled ahead in the third period with a goal from Chris LeBlanc, and the Blades were never able to catch up. Langan hit the empty net for the Bears to seal a 4-2 victory for Orlando.
Last Meeting with Jacksonville: The last encounter between Florida and Jacksonville resulted in a 4-1 Icemen victory at Hertz Arena on Jan. 13. Florida's Alex Kile scored a power-play goal in the first period to put the Blades up 1-0, but the Icemen responded with four unanswered scores. Jacksonville tucked in three goals in the second period along with one more in the third. Goaltender Jake Hildebrand saw his first action of the year with the Everblades when he entered the crease in the third period and stopped eight of nine shots.
Scouting the Icemen: The Icemen are led by Nick Saracino's 31 points (10g-21a). Saracino and Ara Nazarian both have 10 goals on the season and are the only Icemen to have reached the double-digit plateau in that category. Jacksonville owns the ECHL's second lowest scoring offense with 2.56 goals for per game. The Icemen have also struggled on the power play where they hold a league-worst 11.9% conversion rate.
Cooley Returns to Florida: The Nashville Predators (NHL) reassigned goaltender Devin Cooley to the Everblades from the Chicago Wolves (AHL) on Monday. Cooley had recently played two games with the Wolves and won both starts. In his first two career AHL games, the 23-year-old stopped a combined 51 of 57 shots for a .895 save percentage. Cooley had previously skated with Nashville's taxi squad before being assigned to Chicago. Prior to getting the call up to Nashville in early March, Cooley played in 13 games with the Everblades and reeled in an 8-4-0-0 record with a 2.52 goals-against average, .918 save percentage, and one shutout.
Blades Lead the Way: After two wins against Orlando last week, the Everblades continue to lead the Eastern Conference and the entire ECHL with a .727 points percentage. Florida sports the most prolific offense (3.64 goals for per game) and the stingiest defense in the league (2.52 goals against per game). The Blades also feature the league's second-best penalty kill at 87.7%. The unit leads the ECHL with 12 shorthanded goals.
WHO: Florida Everblades vs. Jacksonville Icemen
WHERE: Hertz Arena - Estero, Fla.
WHEN: Wednesday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m.
TICKETS: Find tickets for tonight's game HERE.
PROMOTIONS: Enjoy Hump Day Deals at Wednesday's game! $3 Bud Light Drafts, $3 Barefoot Wine, $3 John Morrell Hot Dogs, and $4 New Amsterdam and Pink Whitney Vodka! Calling all College Students - Show your College ID at the Hertz Arena Box Office and receive $5 tickets at every Blades Wednesday Night home game!
BROADCAST: Watch every Florida Everblades game on FloHockey.TV. Listen to tonight's exciting game action on ESPN 99.3 FM and online at 993espn.com.
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