Pro Hockey News

Saturday, May 6, 2023

ECHL: Florida Everblades Defeat Jacksonville Icemen 5-2

(SportsDay photo by Nancy DeLander Beecher)
By Mike Bonts

JACKSONVILLE ( - The Florida Everblades won the opening game of the Best-of-Seven ECHL Southern Division finals over the Jacksonville Icemen 5-2 at Veterans Memorial Arena.

Florida's Blake Winiecki scored two twice giving him four goals in the playoffs. The Everblades eliminated the Icemen last season in the division finals on their way to capturing the ECHL championship.

Joe Pendenza, who sealed the division semifinal series against South Carolina with an overtime goal in game six, scored his fourth goal of the playoffs with 1:44 to go in the second period. Pendenza led the Everblades with five goals and nine points in 11 games in the season series against Jacksonville,

With only three penalties called in the first period and none in the second. But in the third Jacksonville's Travis Howe was called for roughing. Then Ben Hawerchuk was whistled for cross checking. But the Icemen staved off  the 5 on 3 advantage. 

After Florida's leading scorer Sean Josling (5) made it 3-1 in the final two minutes of the second, the Icemen's Derek Lodermeier immediately responded with his fourth tally of the playoffs.

The visitors relied on veteran John McCarron (1) for an early one goal advantage. 

Winiecki added to the Florida lead in the second period.Winiecki picked up an assist on McCarron's goal.

Jacksonville made it 2-1 on Christopher Brown's second goal of the playoffs. 

Jacksonville's Olof Lindbom made 25 saves. Cam Johnson stopped 16 shots for the Everblades.

The clubs meet again Sunday in Jacksonville at 5 p.m. before heading to Estero for three games.

The winner of the Florida-Jacksonville series will advance to meet the winner of the Reading-Newfoundland series in the Eastern Conference Finals, with the recipient earning the E.A. “Bud” Gingher Memorial Trophy and a spot in the 2023 Kelly Cup Finals.