Preview: 'Blades Battle Growlers on Friday to Start Conference Finals
ESTERO, Fla. - The Florida Everblades (8-2-1) open the Eastern Conference Finals against the Newfoundland Growlers (8-3-1) with Game 1 of the best-of-seven series on Friday at Hertz Arena.
Eastern Conference Finals - Game 1: Everblades vs. Newfoundland
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Hertz Arena
Listen: 99.3 FM ESPN
Social: Twitter | #NFLvsFLA
Last Time Out
Everblades captain John McCarron scored 14 minutes, 48 seconds into the second overtime period to lift Florida to a 2-1 win over the Orlando Solar Bears last Friday, giving the 'Blades a 4-1 series victory over Orlando in the South Division Finals. Callum Booth was sensational in goal for Florida and turned away a career-high 48 shots in his fourth straight win. Michael Downing had the other tally for Florida, which was the most recent goal of the game and came 80:46 prior to the game-winning goal.
Players to Watch
John McCarron (FLA) - Entering last week, McCarron had posted two career overtime goals, one in the regular season and one in the playoffs. He promptly doubled that total with two overtime tallies against Orlando over a four-day span, including the game-winner in double-overtime on Friday. McCarron is tied for the team lead with 12 points (5g-7a) in the playoffs. The Cornell University product has 69 points (29g-40a) in 69 career playoff games.
Zach O'Brien (NFL) - The St. John's, Newfoundland, native led the Growlers and finished seventh in the ECHL in scoring in the regular season with 68 points (28g-40a). O'Brien, a sixth-year pro, has paced the Growlers in scoring in the postseason with 18 points (10g-8a) and has six more points than any other Newfoundland player. O'Brien has points in eight straight games in the postseason, with 15 points (8g-7a) in that streak.
This is the second straight Eastern Conference Finals in which Florida will battle its opponent in a playoff series for the first time. Last year, the 'Blades faced Adirondack in the Eastern Conference Finals, a team it had never met in the playoffs. The only two previous meetings with the Growlers came in Newfoundland on Oct. 12-13 of this season. Newfoundland won the first game, 3-2, but Florida bounced back to win the series finale by a 3-2 score.
Double the Fun
Prior to Friday's double-overtime victory over Orlando, Florida had gone almost two years exactly since playing in a multiple-overtime contest and almost four years since winning a multiple-overtime tilt. The 'Blades lost a pair of double-overtime games in the 2017 South Division Finals against South Carolina (2-3 L, 2OT) on April 28 and May 1 (0-1 L, 2OT). Florida knocked off South Carolina in consecutive multiple-overtime games in the 2015 East Division Finals on May 6 (2-1 W, 3OT) and May 8 (5-4 W, 2OT).
Florida's special teams have excelled in the postseason, and the 'Blades start the Eastern Conference Finals with the ECHL's best combined special teams percentage of 117.3%. Florida's penalty kill has been a supreme strength through two rounds. The 'Blades lead the ECHL with a penalty kill success rate of 94.7% and have killed off 26 consecutive opposing power plays dating back to Game 5 of the South Division Semifinals against Jacksonville.
Of the 23 players listed on the 'Blades opening night roster, 13 are on the Everblades current playoff roster. Eight of the players on the current roster played in the season opener on Oct. 12 against Newfoundland: Grant Arnold, Patrick McCarron, Kyle Platzer, Tommy Thompson, John McCarron, Joe Cox, Logan Roe, and Jeremy Helvig.
Games 1-2 of the Eastern Conference Finals will air on 99.3 FM ESPN. Fans can listen online at 993espn.com. For the latest broadcast information throughout the playoffs, make sure to follow the 'Blades on Facebook and Twitter.
Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals is Saturday at 7 p.m. at Hertz Arena.
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ECHL Stories from May 10, 2019
- 'Blades Blanked in Eastern Conference Finals Opener - Florida Everblades
- Growlers Shutout Everblades 2-0, Lead Series 1-0 - Newfoundland Growlers
- Walleye Top Oilers in Game 1 - Tulsa Oilers
- Jeremy Helvig Returns to 'Blades from AHL's Charlotte Checkers - Florida Everblades
- ECHL Transactions - May 10 - ECHL
- Thunder Announces 2019-20 Home Opening Weekend - Wichita Thunder
- Preview: 'Blades Battle Growlers on Friday to Start Conference Finals - Florida Everblades
- Officials Named for Conference Finals - ECHL
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