Chase for Kelly Cup 2018: R. 1 – Florida Everblades vs. Atlanta Gladiators

Chase for Kelly Cup 2018: R. 1 – Florida Everblades vs. Atlanta Gladiators The Chase for the Kelly Cup begins with a Round 1 matchup between the Florida Everblades and the Atlanta Gladiators. Florida had the top record in the ECHL, earning 112 points and was one of only two teams that had at least 50 wins this season. Atlanta enters the post-season as the team with the least amount of points (69) of any club in the playoffs.

Game 1 – Monday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Florida
Game 2 – Tuesday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Florida
Game 3 – Thursday, April 19 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Atlanta
Game 4 – Friday, April 20 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Atlanta
Game 5 – Sunday, April 22 at 2:05 p.m. ET at Atlanta (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Tuesday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Florida (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Florida (If Necessary)

Statistics Comparison (Numbers in Parenthesis are ranking in the ECHL)

Florida Everblades:

Overall Record: 53-13-2-4 (1)
Home Record: 27-6-1-2 (2)
Away Record: 26-7-1-2 (1)
Last 10 Games: 10-0-0-0
Goals Scored: 261 (3)
Goals Allowed: 171 (3)
Power Play: 17.1% (14)
Penalty Killing: 86.2 (4)

Atlanta Gladiators:

Overall Record: 32-35-2-3 (21)
Home Record: 13-18-2-3 (26)
Away Record: 19-17-0-0 (9)
Last 10 Games: 4-4-1-1
Goals Scored: 205 (21)
Goals Allowed: 229 (14)
Power Play: 13.8% (24)
Penalty Killing: 83.2% (16)

Everblades Players to Watch:

Mitchell Heard: 63 games, 25 goals, 42 assists, 67 points; Stephen MacAulay: 66 games, 28 goals, 37 assists, 65 points; John McCarron: 66 games, 29 goals, 34 assists, 63 points

Martin Ouellette: 42 games, 33-5-1-2, 4 ShO, 2.02 GAA, .921 save percentage; Callum Booth: 28 games, 19-6-1-2, 1 ShO, 2.41 GAA, .911 save percentage

Gladiators Players to Watch:

Phil Lane: 62 games, 32 goals, 25 assists, 57 points; Lindsay Sparks: 56 games, 16 goals, 41 assists, 57 points; Derek Nesbitt: 71 games, 15 goals, 22 assists, 37 points

Dan Vladar: 41 games, 17-18-1-1, 2.96 GAA, .911 save percentage

Analysis:

The Everblades finished with the top record in the ECHL for a reason. This is a team that has three solid scoring lines, and 10 different players on the team scored at least 12 goals this season. Few teams can match up with that kind of depth, which makes Florida a real threat to go all the way. They have an outstanding duo in goal, which allowed the third least amount of goals this season. There really are no weaknesses to this team.

Atlanta has some scorers, which should challenge Florida and help to keep the Gladiators in games. They even play fairly solid on defense, but they are just no match for this Everblades team. There’s a reason why they finished 43 points behind.

Chase for Kelly Cup 2018: R. 1 – Florida Everblades vs. Atlanta GladiatorsWho Will Win:

It’s been a great run for Atlanta, but they are facing the hottest team in the league and arguably the very best. Plus, Florida already proved during the regular season that Atlanta is no match for them, sweeping the season series 10-0-0-0. Look for that to move to 14. The Everblades sweep.

By Robert Pannier

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