Admirals (25-35-6-1) at Florida (45-13-2-4)
The Everblades have been victorious in four of the first five meetings between the teams this season. Saturday concludes the six-game season series, as well as the second three-game set between the teams. In November with the Everblades in Norfolk, Florida claimed the first and second games of the set before falling in game three to the Admirals. Norfolk heads into Saturday’s game still searching for the first win in Estero since returning to the ECHL.
Stephen MacAulay, who has goals in each of the first two games of the weekend, leads all skaters with nine points (5g, 4a) in the five-game series. Joe Cox and Mitchell Heard are tied for second with six points each. Cox is one of four Blades in addition to MacAulay who have scored more than once in the season series. Darik Angeli, Kenton Helgesen, and Patrick D’Amico are all tied for the Admirals lead with three points in the season series. No active Admiral has more than a single goal against the Everblades this season.
Scouting the Everblades:
With a playoff spot already clinched, the first place Everblades are attempting to seal up home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. Florida is five points ahead of South Carolina with eight games remaining in the regular season.
Florida, winners of nine of their last ten, has been led lately by Mitchell Heard. The forward heads into Saturday’s game riding an 11-game point streak during which he has tallied 22 points. The current streak has propelled the forward into the team lead for points (62). Stephen MacAulay, who leads the Everblades in points against Norfolk, is second on the team with 60 points (27g, 33a). Goaltenders Callum Booth (17-6-1-2, 2.45 GAA, .910 SV%), and Martin Ouellette (28-5-1-2, 2.11 GAA, .920 SV%) have split time in the Everblades cage this season. Both goaltenders have also seen multiple games against the Admirals.
After a victory for Atlanta on Friday night the Admirals are now ten points back from the Gladiators with five games remaining in the regular season. Norfolk remains tied with Jacksonville in the South Division standings for fifth place. Third place Orlando can clinch a playoff spot on Saturday night with any sort of Jacksonville loss.
Rookie standout Grant Besse signed a PTO with the Cleveland Monsters on Saturday morning. This is the second time this season that Besse has been called up to the AHL. The forward was previously called up in late December, but did not play a game while with the Tucson Roadrunners. Besse currently ranks second on the team in points (62), and first in goals (30). The Plymouth, MN native leads all ECHL rookies in points, and goals and ranks ninth among all ECHL skaters in points.
Making an Impact:
On Friday night forward TJ Moore netted his second goal of the season in just his fifth game. Moore, who joined the Admirals after completing his college career at Holy Cross. During his college career at Holy Cross the forward recorded 106 points (47g, 59a) in 133 games. Moore is the 30th player to score a goal while in an Admirals uniform this season.
After Saturday night’s game the Admirals will play three of the final four games of the season at home. Norfolk will host the Kalamazoo Wings next weekend, March 30 and 31, before wrapping up the season with a home-and-home series beginning at the Scope and concluding in Reading on April 6 and 7.