ECHL Takeaways:  Florida Everblades vs. Adirondack Thunder Games Three

Photo by: Patrick Onufer for Patrick O'Photos

Games one and two between the Adirondack Thunder and Florida Everblades was a tale of two teams cloned from the same mold. The teams play a similar style, have solid goaltending, and use team energy to defeat their opponents. The series is tied one-one, and play resumes in Florida for the next three. Game three was played Wednesday at Hertz Arena in Estero, Fla. Here are some takeaways from the game.

Takeaway 1: Goaltending

The play of the goaltenders continues to be a vital part of each team’s success or failure. Everblade Cam Johnson earned his second shutout of the playoffs and first of the series, saving all 26 shots he faced on Wednesday night for a 4-0 victory. His tenth win in the playoffs moves his win total to 41 in his career, two shy of tying Nick Victucci with 43. Thunder Isaac Poulter has four shutouts this post-season, but he had an off-night Wednesday, stopping 20 of 23 shots for a 0.870 save percentage, well below his series average of 0.947 and playoff average of 0.945. Jeremy Brodeur skated to the crease at the start of the third period, replacing Poulter in net for the Thunder. Brodeur was the Thunder’s workhorse, starting in 32 games. I expect to see Poulter back in net for the Thunder for game five on Friday night and re-focused on stopping the Everblades from scoring.

Photo by: Patrick Onufer for Patrick O’Photos

Takeaway 2: Power Play

Matthew Wedman (4) snapped the scoreless streak for the Everblades with the man advantage on Wednesday when he beat Poulter at 15:24 of the first period. Florida’s power play is one-for-ten in the series and four-for-41 in the playoffs. Adirondack had two opportunities with the man advantage but couldn’t score, dropping their power play record to zero-for-14 and seven-for-69. The Thunder managed only two low-quality shots during the two power-play chances. The Everblades had two quality and two non-quality shots during their three power plays with one goal. Neither power play strikes fear into their opponents as neither team has been able to generate quality shots, and, therefore, the power play hasn’t been a factor for either team.

Takeaway 3: Team Energy

The Thunder and Everblades rely on breakout passing, speed through the neutral zone, and firing pucks deep for the attackers to retrieve. This requires commitment and a high level of energy. The Everblades had that energy level in the first period, which resulted in three goals. The Thunder managed only four shots on goal in the first and looked like they were a step behind the home team. The Thunder found their energy during the period break and the second and third periods were more even. The Everblades were able to play a lockdown strategy that prevented quality shots on Johnson, securing the win and the shutout. The teams will have a rest day on Thursday, and neither team will be traveling, so I expect to see a more energetic effort from both teams on Friday.

Photo by: Patrick Onufer for Patrick O’Photos

Takeaway 4: Home Ice Advantage

The Everblades are 4-1-1 at Hertz Arena, and the Thunder are 4-5-0 at Cool Insuring Arena. Both fan bases are passionate about their teams, but the Everblades have had a higher attendance. Wednesday night’s game had 5,959 fans, higher than any previous Adirondack home games by at least 900. The Everblades fans were loud all night as they told the Thunder how they felt about the season-ending injury fan-favorite Cam Darcy received in game one. Numerous signs were encouraging the Everblades to “Win one for Darcy.” That energy also aided Florida in jumping out to a three-goal lead in the first. It will be interesting to see if the fans bring that same kind of energy to the two remaining games at Hertz Arena.

Takeaway 5: Scoring First

The teams remain perfect in winning a game where they score first. Florida had the first goal on Wednesday, which turned into another victory, their ninth victory when scoring first in the playoffs.

Read the game recap from Inside the Rink’s Armand Klisivitch. The series resumes with game four at Hertz Arena on Friday at 7:30 pm. 

James Slemp

I write for and photograph the Florida Everblades for ITR. I am a retiree that has turned my hobby of photography into a business. I currently live in Sarasota, Florida with my wife, Christy, but I'm originally from California. My previous career has taken me all over the US and the world and I definitely enjoy traveling. I've played hockey for over 30 years, learning as an adult, and love the game.

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