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Unbeaten Blades return home

November 1, 2013
By RYAN RYLES - Special to the Breeze , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Being undefeated the first two weeks of any hockey season is impressive.

Upon their return to Germain Arena Friday night to face the Orlando Solar Bears, the Florida Everblades come home as just that - 6-0 and, sound the redundant alarm, undefeated to start their 2013-14 run at a second Kelly Cup.

"(The road trip) has been good," Blades coach Greg Poss understated after his team's play over their five game trip, four of which came in a first-ever California swing through Ontario and Bakersfield. "The games were all competitive. We learned to win a lot of different ways. Most of the games were close, but, despite the wins, we are only looking at the next game."

Poss is smart to be cautious. The regular ECHL hockey season is 72 games long - a marathon that leads to a sprint and to an eventual champion. As with most teams at this level of pro sports, consistency of play is the great battle when looking to win the Kelly Cup.

As expected, the Blades' only problem has been consistency, and yet all they do is keep winning. They've given up big leads, having to win in overtimes or shootouts, as in both contests with the Ontario Reign, and they've dominated, winning 6-2 against Bakersfield, and 5-3 over their 2012 Kelly Cup foe Las Vegas on the strength of a three-goal second period.

"That will be something we deal with all year," Poss said. "But I really couldn't ask for a better start. Despite the third period of our second game against Ontario, I'm really pleased with the way our guys handled themselves on this trip. Ontario is a good team, they played hard both games. I was really pleased by how our guys responded in having to go to overtime one night, and then a shootout. Ontario was very good."

Inconsistent or not, all that matters is the W/L column, and right now Florida doesn't have an L yet.

Leading the way are Matthew Pistilli (first on the team and second in the league with five goals and nine total points). Brandon Maclean has a four-game point streak. Goaltender Jesse Deckert is tied for first in the league with three wins to his credit, including the shootout at the Reign.

Florida has a good chance of making it a 7-0 start to the season when the face Orlando Friday night, a team they dominated for their season-opening win of the year 4 1/2 weeks ago.



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