Preview: 'Blades Try to Push Home Point Streak to Seven on Friday
Florida Everblades forward Cam Maclise vs. the Atlanta Gladiators
(Florida Everblades, Credit: Kevin Bires Photography)
ESTERO, Fla. - The Florida Everblades (33-12-3-2, 71 pts.) continue their third consecutive three-game week and open a two-game home series against the Atlanta Gladiators (21-25-1-1, 44 pts.) with a Friday night matchup at Hertz Arena.
Game 51: Everblades vs. Atlanta Gladiators
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Hertz Arena
Watch: ECHL TV
Listen: WJBX (101.5 FM, 104.3 FM, 770 AM)
Social: Twitter | Instagram
Promotion: 239 Friday
Last time out
Blake Winiecki scored the game's first goal with less than four minutes to play in the opening period, but the Everblades couldn't solve Atlanta goaltender Callum Booth (34 saves) the rest of the way in a 3-1 loss to the Gladiators on Tuesday morning at Infinite Energy Arena. With the game tied at one in the last 10 minutes of regulation, the Gladiators scored two power-play goals only 33 seconds apart to earn their first win against Florida this season. RECAP
Series At A Glance
Friday is the fourth meeting between Florida and Atlanta this season and the second matchup at Hertz Arena. The 'Blades have only six regular season games against the Gladiators this year, the fewest head-to-head meetings since the two teams met just six times in the 2007-08 campaign. Florida owns a convincing 102-54-15 all-time record against the Gladiators and has been even more dominant since Brad Ralph took over as head coach in the 2016-17 season. Though the 'Blades lost on Tuesday morning, they are still an overwhelming 32-4-0-1 against Atlanta over the last four seasons. Florida is 13-2-1-0 against Atlanta at Hertz Arena in Ralph's tenure.
Players to Watch
Blake Winiecki (FLA) - Winiecki has been a one-man wrecking crew against the Gladiators in his career. With his goal on Tuesday, the Lakeville, Minnesota, native now has 11 career tallies against Atlanta in 14 career games. As a rookie last season, Winiecki put up 16 points (9g, 7a) in 11 games against the Gladiators and had three of his five multi-goal games come against Atlanta. Winiecki has more than a quarter of his career multi-point contests against the Gladiators, notching multiple points in six games.
Samuel Asselin (ATL) - The rookie forward has had a strong start to his pro career and is Atlanta's leader in goals with 21. The Repentigny, Québec, native tabbed a power-play goal against Florida on Tuesday, increasing his team-leading power-play goal total to six this year. Asselin has five points (3g, 2a) in his last five games and has seven multi-point games this season.
After yielding more than three goals in four straight games from Jan. 5-11, the 'Blades have now limited opponents to three or fewer goals in 13 consecutive games. Prior to Sunday against Orlando, Florida had permitted two goals or fewer in 10 straight games from Jan. 16-Feb. 8. Because of the stingy defensive stretch over the last month, the 'Blades now rank second in the ECHL in goals allowed per game (2.58). During its current six-game home point streak, Florida has allowed just eight goals.
Following a 5-3 home setback to Greenville on Dec. 20, the Everblades were 8-5-1-0 on home ice through their first 14 home games. Since then, Florida has won eight of its last 10 home contests, including an active six-game point streak at Hertz Arena (5-0-1-0). The Everblades' only regulation home loss since Dec. 20 was a setback against the Brampton Beast on Jan. 7, which was the final game of a stretch of four games in five days.
First Order of Business
Tuesday was only the fourth time this season, and the first time since Dec. 20, that Florida has registered the first goal of a game and lost in regulation. Entering Tuesday, the 'Blades ranked in a tie for third place in the ECHL for winning percentage when scoring the first goal with a mark of .854. Despite the loss, Florida is still ninth in the league with a .820 winning percentage when scoring first, posting a record of 20-4-0-1.
Florida concludes a stretch of three straight games against Atlanta with a Saturday night matchup at Hertz Arena. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m.
Images from this story
Florida Everblades forward Cam Maclise vs. the Atlanta Gladiators
(Kevin Bires Photography)
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