ECHL Weekly Recap:  Florida Everblades | 01/09-14/2024

Photo by: James Slemp for Inside the Rink

The Florida Everblades continued their strong play in 2024 with two wins and a loss last week, bringing their record for the new year to 4-1-1 and 7-2-1 in the previous ten games. The Everblades continue to sit in fifth place in the South Division heading into the All-Star Classic break, just one point behind the fourth-place South Carolina Stingrays and two points behind the third-place Jacksonville Icemen.

The Everblades returned home last week to host the visiting Savannah Ghost Pirates for a three-game series at Hertz Arena. The Everblades were looking to extend their points streak, having recorded points in six of their previous seven games and closing the three-point gap in fourth place and the final playoff spot. The Ghost Pirates were on their own points streak, recording points in four straight games. Sitting in sixth place in the South Division, the Ghost Pirates needed to sweep the Everblades to move them into a tie for fifth with the Everblades. The teams played only once this season, a 4-2 victory for the Everblades in Savannah in December. This series is unusual in that it is a five-game series, with the first three games in Estero, Fla., a short break for the All-Star Classic, and then the final two games in Savannah, Ga. 

The Everblades signed three players for the offense. 29-year-old forward Cam Darcy was added to the roster and placed on injured reserve. He spent last season with the Everblades, playing 60 games and scoring 11 goals and 23 assists for 34 points. 26-year-old forward Weiland Parrish is on loan to the Everblades from the Rapid City Rush. Parrish started the season with the Rush before being sent to the Quad City Storm of the SPHL for two games in early January. He made his Everblades debut on January 12th. The last player added was 41-year-old forward Charles Linglet. Linglet started his professional career in 2003 with the Utah Grizzlies of the AHL. He spent time with various teams in the AHL and ECHL from 2003 to 2009. He played five games with the Edmonton Oilers in the 2009 season before signing with the Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod of the KHL in 2010. He played in various international leagues until 2020 when he stopped playing professionally. The following players were removed from the active lineup: forward Zach Tsekos was placed on injured reserve, defenseman Evan Nause was called up to the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL, and defenseman Shane Kuzmeski was traded to the Wichita Thunder.

Game one was a victory for the Ghost Pirates as they scored early and often against Cam Johnson, beating him four times for a 4-1 win. Goaltender Jesper Vikman got the start for the Ghost Pirates. His game experience this season was with the Henderson Silver Knights of the AHL, but he was sent to Savannah on January 9th. Posting a 4-0-1 record and a .929 save percentage for the Silver Knights, Vikman entered the game on a hot streak. Cam Johnson got the start for the Everblades and was looking to start his own winning streak. He was 3-2 over the previous five games with a .883 save percentage. The Everblades looked slower than their opponents, and poor execution and puck management by the Everblades created turnovers in the offensive zone, allowing the Ghost Pirates to generate quality scoring chances off their transition play. Forward Logan Lambdin was the only Everblades player to find the back of the net, scoring his seventh goal on a wrist shot off a faceoff in the defensive zone.

Game two was markedly different for the Everblades as they fixed many of the issues from game one. Everblades goalie Evan Cormier got the start against Michael Bullion. Cormier won the first meeting between the two teams in December, stopping 32 of the 34 shots he faced for a .941 save percentage. Everblades forward Oliver Chau broke the scoreless tie in the first period with a highlight-reel tip-in goal. Both teams would trade off goals before newcomer Weiland Parrish scored his first goal with the Everblades early in the third to put them up 4-2. The Ghost Pirates would score again, but forward Bobo Carpenter sealed the Everblade’s victory on an empty net goal, his second goal of the game. The Everblades took game two, 5-3.

The Everblades and Hertz Arena hosted their first Hispanic Heritage Night for game three. The Everblades, wearing purple specialty jerseys for the night, dominated play from puck drop. Goalie Cam Johnson rebounded from his game-one loss, shutting out the Ghost Pirates. Everblades forward Joe Pendenza netted the game-winning goal at 3:31 of the first period, and the Everblades added three more goals to take the win, 4-0. The Ghost Pirates managed only 25 shots on goal, their lowest in the three-game series. The Everblade’s forecheckers and defensive scheme nullified the speed and transition play of the Ghost Pirates and effectively shut down any quality offensive pressure.

Forward Sean Josling and defenseman Will Reilly led the Everblades last week in scoring with three points each. Forwards Joe Pendenza and Bobo Carpenter each had two goals to lead the team in that category. Both goalies were solid last week, with Cam Johnson posting one shutout in two appearances and a .929 save percentage. Newcomers Weiland Parrish and Charles Linglet recorded their first point with the Everblades.

The Everblades are in a great position to overtake the Jacksonville Icemen and the South Carolina Stingrays in the standings. The Everblade’s two-win performance last week places pressure on the Icemen and Stingrays to improve their play. The Icemen and Stingrays are playing at or below .500 over the past ten games; the Icemen are 5-5, the Stingrays are 4-6, and the Everblades are 7-2-1. The Everblades play two games next week, both against the Ghost Pirates in Savannah. If the Everblades continue to manage the puck effectively, use their speed on the forecheck, and defend the blue line, they should come out on top.

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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