JACKSONVILLE, Fla – The Jacksonville Icemen and Florida Everblades faced off for Game 1 of the South Division Finals in the Kelly Cup playoffs Saturday night. In a rematch of the 2022 South Division Finals in which the Everblades swept the series in four games, the Icemen hoped that having the home advantage to begin this year’s series would give them an edge in the first game. This wasn’t the case, with Florida taking a 5-2 victory.
Jacksonville struggled to record any shots on the net for the first five minutes of play, as Florida came out controlling the game. Halfway through the first period, Jacksonville had a few minutes in which they dominated the play, with Derek Lodermeier nearly scoring on Cam Johnson, who would somehow make the save while already lying on his back. John McCarron put Florida up 1-0 on a rebound shot from Blake Winiecki at the 16:51 mark. Florida outshot Jacksonville 15-7 in the period.
Jacksonville had some good offense in the second period but gave up too many defensive chances, which Florida would capitalize on. Blake Winiecki put Florida up 2-0 in less than six minutes into the second, but Jacksonville answered back less than a minute later on a goal from Christopher Brown. The final four minutes of the second period would see three more goals. Sean Josling and Joe Pendenza would score for Florida, with a goal in between from Jacksonville’s Derek Lodermeier, to end the period with Florida up 4-2.
Blake Winiecki netted his second of the night in the third period, earning himself the No.1 star of the game with two goals and an assist. The Everblades only had three shots on goal during the period, happy to just go on the defense with holding a three-goal lead. Jacksonville would only have five shots on goal, with Florida outshooting Jacksonville 30-19 in the game. The two teams will meet for Game 2 in Jacksonville Sunday at 5 p.m.
Check out this photo gallery from Field Pass Hockey’s Andrew Fielder for highlights from the game.
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