Preview: Everblades Continue Homestand with Series Opener against Norfolk
ESTERO, Fla. - The Florida Everblades (45-16-5-1, 96 pts.) start the penultimate week of the regular season with the series opener of a three-game against the Norfolk Admirals (26-32-5-3, 60 pts.) on Wednesday at Hertz Arena.
Game 68: Everblades vs. Norfolk
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Hertz Arena
Listen: WJBX - News, Talk & More
Social: Twitter | #NORvsFLA
Last Time Out
Florida scored twice on the power play and overcame three separate one-goal deficits to force overtime but dropped a shootout affair, 4-3, to the Orlando Solar Bears on Saturday. Grant Arnold scored his second goal of the season, while Tommy Thompson and Nathan Perkovich also added tallies for the Everblades in their first shootout loss since Feb. 2, 2018. Perkovich netted Florida's lone goal in the shootout, his third in four attempts this year, but Orlando's Otto Somppi and Troy Bourke both tallied to give Orlando the win.
BOX SCORE | RECAP
Players to Watch
Nathan Perkovich (FLA) - Entering Wednesday, the veteran has notched at least one point in seven of his last eight games, with 10 points (5g-5a) in that stretch. The Canton, Michigan, native has registered multiple goals in four games this year, including three times over his last 10 games. He has multiple points in seven games and is second among active 'Blades players with his 22 goals.
Ben Duffy (NOR) - Norfolk's leading scorer has tabbed 58 points (23g-35a) in 64 games this season and has registered 15 multi-point games. Duffy, who played seven games in the ECHL two seasons ago and six games in the league in 2013-14, is in his first full season in the ECHL this year. He played last season in Italy after spending three seasons with St. Mary's University (USports) in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Wednesday marks the sixth matchup between Florida and Norfolk this season and the first since Nov. 24. Florida holds a 13-2-3 all-time against the Admirals, which includes a 3-1-1 mark this season. The eight matchups this year between the two teams are the most in one season since Norfolk started play in the ECHL in 2014. Florida scored 15 goals over the three-game series in Norfolk in late November to take five of six possible points.
The 'Blades lead the league with 11 wins in games decided by more than three goals. However, each of Florida's last 15 victories has come by three or fewer goals. The last time the Everblades won a contest decided by more than three tallies was a 5-1 victory over the Jacksonville Icemen on Jan. 26. Of those 15 wins, five have been by one goal, five have been by two goals, and five have been by three goals.
Florida is the best offensive and defensive team in the Eastern Conference. The 'Blades have averaged a conference-best 3.79 goals per game, which is good for second in the ECHL, while they have yielded an average of 2.57 goals per game, which is first in the Eastern Conference and second in the ECHL.
After going scoreless (0-for-15) on the power play in five straight games from Feb. 16-27, Florida has had a power-play surge in March. The 'Blades have scored at least one power-play goal in nine of their last 11 games, converting on 17-of-50 power-play opportunities (34.0 percent) in that span. Florida's power-play success rate has jumped from 22nd (14.8 percent) in the ECHL to tied for 10th overall (18.5 percent) in that 11-game stretch.
The three-game series with Norfolk takes a break on Thursday before resuming on Friday with the middle game of the set. Faceoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Hertz Arena.
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Images from this story
Florida Everblades forward Blake Winiecki
(Kevin Bires Photography)
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