Preview: Everblades Host IceMen on Cusp of Series Win
ESTERO, Fla. - Sitting one victory shy of winning their South Division Semifinal series, the Florida Everblades host the Jacksonville Icemen for Game 6 on Monday at Hertz Arena.
DSF Game 6: Everblades vs. Jacksonville
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Hertz Arena
Listen: 99.3 FM ESPN
Social: Twitter | #JAXvsFLA
Last Time Out
Ben Masella posted a career-best night with two goals and four total points, and the 'Blades scored five unanswered goals to claim a 5-1 win in Jacksonville on Saturday night in Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead. With the game tied at one after two periods, Florida erupted for four goals in the third. Blake Winiecki netted a pair of tallies sandwiched around a goal from Grant Arnold, and Masella finished the scoring with an empty-net strike. Callum Booth made 14 saves in his first start of the series to pick up the win for Florida.
Players to Watch
Blake Winiecki (FLA) - The rookie forward played a big role in Florida's come-from-behind victory in Game 5 on Saturday. He notched his first multi-goal and second multi-point game of the playoffs and accounted for the game-winning goal. The Lakeville, Minnesota, native recorded multiple goals in five contests during the regular season and had multiple points on 13 occasions. Winiecki finished the regular season tied for fifth among all rookie skaters with 59 points (25g-34a).
Kris Newbury (JAX) - Though he went scoreless in Saturday's Game 5, Newbury has been at the center of Jacksonville's offensive attack throughout the series. The veteran forward is tied for the team lead with four assists and is second on the Icemen with five playoff points. The Brampton, Ontario, native finished tied for the team lead with 31 assists in the regular season and was second on the Icemen with 47 points.
Including this year's playoff series, Florida and Jacksonville have squared off 32 times over the last two seasons. The Everblades hold a 25-5-2 all-time record in those 32 matchups and posted a 9-3-1 mark against Jacksonville in the regular season this year. Florida has dominated the Icemen on home ice and has not lost in regulation to Jacksonville in any of the matchups at Hertz Arena since the Icemen started in the ECHL in the 2017-18 season. Florida is 15-0-1 on home ice in that time span.
The 'Blades struck for four goals in the third period on Saturday, which was the first time this postseason they have scored more than three goals in one period. Florida netted four goals in a period on seven occasions in the regular season, six of which were on home ice. The 'Blades posted three or more goals in a period 27 times during the regular season, with 20 of those occurring on home ice.
After yielding the second-fewest shots on goal during the regular season, Florida has been even stingier in the postseason. The 'Blades have held Jacksonville to an average of 18.80 shots per game through the first five games of the series. That average is the lowest in the league by more than 11 shots per game. Kalamazoo and Toledo have permitted the second-fewest shots on goal per game, allowing 29.00 shots on goal per contest so far in the playoffs.
Florida's defensive corps has played a big offensive role in the series so far. Defenseman Ben Masella is tied for the ECHL lead with eight points (2g-6a) in the postseason and has registered at least one point in each of the five games of the series. Matt Finn (1g-3a) and Michael Downing (2g-1a) have also posted multiple points against Jacksonville. The 'Blades defensemen group has accounted for 17 of the team's 32 total points.
Game 6 will air on 99.3 FM ESPN. Fans can also listen online at 993espn.com.
The Everblades are back at home on Monday for Game 6. Faceoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Hertz Arena.
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