Preview: Game 1 at South Carolina
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Florida Everblades meet the South Carolina Stingrays for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals tonight in North Charleston. Florida enters tonight as the top seed in the conference, while South Carolina ranks as the fourth seed.
Season Series: The Everblades and Stingrays meet in the first round of the 2021 Kelly Cup Playoffs after squaring off 13 times in the regular season. Florida controlled the season series with a 10-1-1-1 record against South Carolina. The Blades' only regulation loss to the Stingrays came in the first meeting of the season on Jan. 29 at Hertz Arena. Since then, Florida earned at least one point in the last 12 encounters.
Scouting the Stingrays: South Carolina barreled into the postseason with a six-game win-streak to end the season and are one of the hottest teams in the ECHL entering the playoffs. Brett Supinski helped lead the Rays down the stretch with goals in four of the final five regular season games. All-ECHL Second Team selection Cole Ully headlines South Carolina with 60 points (24g-36a) in only 55 games. It has been a rotating door in the Stingrays' net for much of the season, but Hunter Shephard found success in the last two weeks with wins in his last six starts. The South Carolina netminder owns a 12-6-1-1 record, 2.55 goals-against average, and .922 save percentage.
Blades Back in the Playoffs: The Blades have now published a playoff-worthy regular season for the seventh consecutive season. Florida has taken part in every Kelly Cup Playoffs since 2015 with the exception of 2020's canceled tournament. The 2014 season marked the only campaign in which the Everblades did not make the postseason in the team's 23-year history. Florida last captured the Kelly Cup in 2012. The Blades have reached the Finals and finished runner up in 2004, 2005, and 2018.
McCarron Named Plus Performer of the Year: The ECHL on Sunday announced that Florida Everblades' forward John McCarron is the recipient of the AMI Graphics Plus Performer of the Year award after finishing the season with a plus-minus rating of +29. It is the fourth straight season a member of the Everblades has won the award, following Ben Masella in 2019-20, Joe Cox in 2018-19 and Logan Roe in 2017-18.
Blades Claim Brabham Cup: Florida claimed its fourth Brabham Cup in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Orlando Solar Bears on Sunday, June 5. The trophy, handed out to the team with the most points (or best points percentage as is the case this year) in the regular season, was last claimed by the Everblades during the 2017-18 season when Coach Brad Ralph's squad amassed a 53-13-6 record and earned 112 points. Florida also took home the Brabham Cup in 2008-09 under Malcolm Cameron and in the 1999-00 season under Bob Ferguson. Ralph is the only Everblades coach to have won the award twice, and John McCarron, Logan Roe, Blake Winiecki, and Kyle Neuber are the only Everblades players to have appeared on two Brabham Cup-winning teams.
WHO: Florida Everblades at South Carolina Stingrays - Game 1
WHERE: Carolina Ice Palace - North Charleston, S.C.
WHEN: Monday, June 7 at 7:05 p.m.
BROADCAST: Watch every Florida Everblades game on FloHockey.TV. Listen to the exciting game action on ESPN Southwest Florida on 770 AM, 101.5 FM, 104.3 FM and online at https://espnswfl.com.
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