ECHL Weekly Recap:  Florida Everblades | 02/12-02/18/24

Photo by: Andrew Fielder for Inside the Rink

The Florida Everblades had a rare four-game week against three opponents last week. They managed to get four points out of a possible eight, maintaining a slim one-point lead for fourth place in the South Division over the Orlando Solar Bears. The Everblades have 24 games remaining in their season, fifteen against teams near them in the standings. 

The Everblades didn’t make any roster transactions last week, but they did have a significant hit to their lineup when forward Bobo Carpenter was injured in Wednesday’s game. Carpenter was placed on injured reserve effective February 15th, joining forwards Andrew Fyten and Zach Tsekos. During an interview with Inside the Rink last week, head coach Brad Ralph confirmed that Fyten was lost for the season and Tsekos had no clear date for his return to the lineup. These three have contributed just over 20 percent of the goals for the Everblades this season, with Bobo Carpenter scoring 21 of the trio’s 30 goals, so their absence will be greatly missed. Carpenter also played on the top line with Joe Pendenza and Oliver Chau.

Photo by: Christina Slemp for Inside the Rink

The Everblades entered their home game Wednesday night against the Orlando Solar Bears, riding a high from their three-game sweep of the North Division-leading Adirondack Thunder the week before. That series saw the Everblades outscore the visitors 13-5. The Everblades led the season series against the Solar Bears 5-3-0-0, and the Solar Bears were on a nine-game road losing streak. It would be the Solar Bears, however, that would jump out to a two-goal lead in the first period. The Everblades would storm back in the second period, scoring three unanswered goals to take the lead into the locker room 3-2. An early goal in the third by the Solar Bears would tie the game; neither team would score after that, and the game would go to overtime. The overtime period didn’t decide the winner, and the teams went to a shootout. Jesse Jacques would score on a backhand to give the Solar Bears the win in the shootout and the two points, 4-3. The raucous home crowd left disappointed on the Margaritaville-themed Valentine’s Day night. 

Photo by: Christina Slemp for Inside the Rink

The Everblades went on the road Friday night, playing a game against the Jacksonville Icemen during their Military Appreciation Night. The Everblades have had no luck against the Icemen this season, with a 0-4-1-0 record. Sean Josling gave the Everblades the lead in the first period with his 12th goal of the season. The Icemen tied it up in the second and, for the second game in a row, the game went to overtime for the Everblades. Garrett Van Whye scored his eleventh of the season at 3:41 in overtime to secure the win for the Icemen, 2-1. The Everblades earned a point but lost their sixth game against Jacksonville.

Photo by: Andrew Fielder for Inside the Rink

The Everblades continued their road trip with a stop in North Charleston to take on the South Carolina Stingrays. The Stingrays have also given the Everblades challenges this season, winning two of the three games they’ve played. Neither team scored in the first period; the Stingrays outshot the Everblades 12-4. Luke Santerno scored his sixth goal of the season and third with the Everblades at 7:10 of the second. Brett Davis (2) would score the game-winner at 12:54 in the second period, and the Everblades took the win, 4-1. 

Photo by: Bernie Walls for Inside the Rink

The second and final game against the Stingrays was a 3:05 p.m. start on Sunday. This game would be the most physical in the series, starting with Zach Uens and Jonny Evans dropping the gloves at 3:06 in the first period. Both teams would add to their penalty totals, the Everblades finishing with 27 minutes and the Stingrays with 17 minutes. The Stingrays, however, would win on the scoreboard, defeating the Everblades 3-1. 

Photo by: Bernie Walls for Inside the Rink

The Everblades’ inconsistent play earned them a 1-1-1-1 record for the week. Cam Johnson started three of the four games, going 0-1-2 and a .918 save percentage. David Tendeck got his first start with the Everblades Saturday night against the Stingrays; he was traded to the Everblades from the Idaho Steelheads. He earned the win with a .975 save percentage, moving his season record to 4-5-0. Luke Santerno has had the hot hand since joining the Everblades from a trade with the Kansas City Mavericks on February 2nd. He has scored four goals, four assists, and eight points in his eight games played with the team. The Everblades continue to struggle with scoring; they are 20th in the league in goals for at 3.08 and 21st in powerplay goals, scoring on 17.1 percent of their chances. The highlight, however, is their defensive play. They are second in the league in penalty kill, preventing their opponents from scoring 85.4 percent of the time. They are also third in the league in goals against, giving up only 2.69 goals a game.

35 percent of the team’s goal production has come from their top line of Pendenza, Chau, and Carpenter. Santerno has moved to the top line in Carpenter’s absence, which has broken up the Cam Darcy, Nathan Staois, and Santerno line, which has had recent success. These roster moves prevent the offense from gaining consistency and chemistry, contributing to their lack of offensive production. Coach Ralph will take the next few days to build that consistency before they play the visiting Worcester Railers for a three-game homestand starting Wednesday night. The Railers are in fourth place in the North Division with a 22-20-4-2 record. They have also struggled to score this season, netting only 140 goals. This will be the first meeting between the teams this season and marks the last non-conference games the Everblades will play.

The Everblades host the Worcester Railers on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Hertz Arena.

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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