The Florida Everblades return from their four-game division road trip this Saturday, and when they do they should return as still the South Division leaders after soundly defeating the South Carolina Stingrays this past Saturday, 4-1, in a battle for first place of both the division and the conference.
"It was really good the way we came out and played hard (against South Carolina)," said Coach Greg Poss of the road trip's biggest win, "Yea, that was a good win, and getting (Kristers) Gudlevskis
Lead by Matthew Pistilli, who leads the league in goals scored (11) and is 2nd overall in points (24); Brandon MacLean (18 points); the two-way play of team Capt. Mathieu Roy, and Gudlevskis, third in save percentage (92.4) and goals against average (1.82), the Blades are 10-2-1-1 to start their season. It marks the best start in franchise history and has Florida tied for first place overall in the ECHL.
Poss doesn't like to set goals for his team - "We just play one game at a time" - but with so much success so early, in a league where it's common place for a a third of the roster to change over every two weeks, success usually comes in weekly increments, not month long endeavors.
"We've got a lot of two- way defensemen so we don't have to rely on a couple of lines for scoring," explained Poss on part of Florida's consistently winning ways to start the year, "We always have someone who steps up to score goals.
"But, most importantly, we had most of our players here during training camp, where as in past years we had only a few of the guys at the beginning, and would get 10-15 guys as the year went on I think this is generated an early high level of team chemistry."
That chemistry was tested early in last week's road trip with call-ups for Jordan Henry, Mike Cornell and Carl Nielsen. Henry was a leader at the blue line, as was Cornell. Despite the call-ups, the Blades still managed shut out the Gwinnet Gladiators, 3-0, on Friday, before defeating South Carolina Saturday.