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Blades in a slump

November 2, 2009
By RYAN RYLES, Special to the Breeze

After dropping consecutive games to the South Carolina Stingrays - each by a score of 3-2 - Friday and Saturday, the Florida Everblades are wondering where their offense has gone.

Through eight games this season, the usually potent Everblades have yet to emerge offensively. Excluding their two preseason games, the Blades have scored more than three goals just once. They averaged 2.33 goals in their three games against the visiting Stingrays.

"We are squeezing sawdust out of our sticks right now," said coach Malcolm Cameron of the lack of offense during Saturday's loss.

Article Photos

A.J. Thelen of the Florida Everblades throws his body around during Saturday’s ECHL game against the South Carolina Stingrays at Germain Arena. The Stingrays won 3-2, dropping the Blades to 3-4-1 on the season.

It's certainly not for a lack of effort.

As usual, the Everblades out shot their opponent - 103-82 over the three games last week. They generated 14 quality scoring chances to South Carolina's five Saturday night, but the pucks aren't finding the net.

One of the more notable players struggling is team captain Kevin Baker. After scoring a team record 47 times last year, Baker has just four assists this season.

A nagging injury has held him back.

"I'm just doing what I can," he said. "I can't play the way I'm used to playing but I'm the leader of this team so I have to do what I can."

Baker's injury aside, the entire team seems to be in a scoring slump.

Last year, it seemed as if the Everblades held the top three spots in every major offensive category. This season, no Everblade players can be found among any of the scoring leaders.

"I tell the guys to try and relax," said Cameron. "Just keep it simple. I keep telling them that it's going to take work and a little bit of luck to get us out of the slump."

"You can see that guys are frustrated," said Earnie Hartlieb, who has five points. "Our goal scorers are having a little trouble scoring goals, but it's going to come. You don't like to start off the season like we have -with guys in slumps - but we have confidence it will come around."

The lack of scoring has put them in another unusual place - third in their division with a 3-4-1 record.

The Everblades hit the road this week for three games at the Charlotte Checkers, beginning Wednesday.



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