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Preview of 2022 Kelly Cup Finals

Thursday, June 2nd
2022 Kelly Cup Finals logo flanked by Toledo Walleye and Florida Everblades logos
Toledo, Florida to open 2022 Kelly Cup Finals on Friday

Series Matchup Sheet // 2022 Kelly Cup Playoffs Bracket // Playoff LeadersDownload the 2022 Kelly Cup Finals Media GuideThe battle to determine the national “AA” hockey champion begins Friday when the Western Conference champion Toledo Walleye host the Eastern Conference champion Florida Everblades in Game 1 of the 2022 Kelly Cup Finals at 7:35 p.m. ET at Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio.Celebrating its 34th Season in 2021-22, the ECHL is the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League and is the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.The Kelly Cup trophy is named for Patrick J. Kelly, who presents it each year to the postseason champion. Kelly was one of the founding fathers of the ECHL and was the second inductee into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2008. Kelly served as Commissioner for the league’s first eight seasons and was named Commissioner Emeritus in 1996, a title that he continues to hold. Kelly, who celebrates his 69th season in professional hockey in 2021-22, coached 1,900 career games and had 935 wins. Kelly coached in the Eastern Hockey League, the Southern Hockey League and the National Hockey League where he was the only coach to ever lead the Colorado Rockies to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.Game 2 will be Saturday at 7:35 p.m. ET at Toledo before the series shifts to Hertz Arena in Estero, Florida, where the Everblades will host Game 3 on Wednesday, June 8 at 7:30 p.m. ET and Game 4 on Friday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Game 5, if necessary, would be at 7:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 11. The series would return to Toledo, if necessary, for Game 6 on Tuesday, June 14 at 7:35 p.m. ET and Game 7 on Thursday, June 16 at 7:35 p.m. ET.The ECHL is the primary development league for the AHL and the NHL. The ECHL and the AHL are the only two minor professional hockey leagues that are recognized in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL and the National Hockey League Players' Association. The CBA states that any player on an NHL entry-level contract designated for assignment to a minor league must report if assigned to a team in the ECHL or the AHL. A player on an NHL entry-level contract assigned to a minor professional league other than the ECHL or the AHL is not required to report and can request reassignment to a team in the ECHL or the AHL. Toledo is the ECHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings while Florida is the ECHL affiliate of the Nashville Predators.How they got here Toledo captured the Brabham Cup as ECHL regular-season champions with a league-best .708 points percentage and won its fifth regular-season division title since 2014-15. The Walleye defeated Cincinnati 4 games to 3 in the Central Division Semifinals and Wheeling 4 games to 0 in the Central Division Finals before dispatching Utah 4 games to 1 in the Western Conference Finals. Florida captured the South Division title with a .653 points percentage, marking its sixth division title in the last eight seasons. The Everblades defeated Greenville 4 games to 2 in the South Division Semifinals and Jacksonville 4 games to 0 in the South Division Finals before eliminating 2019 Kelly Cup champion Newfoundland 4 games to 1 in the Eastern Conference Finals. Division champions meeting in Kelly Cup Finals Both Toledo and Florida won division titles in the 2021-22 season, marking the first time since the 2018 Kelly Cup Finals when Colorado met Florida that both Finals participants won their regular-season division championship. It is just the third time in the last 13 Kelly Cup Finals that both participants captured regular-season division titles. Walleye reach Finals for second consecutive postseason Toledo is appearing in the Kelly Cup Finals in its second consecutive postseason appearance. The Walleye fell to Newfoundland in six games in 2019. The 2020 Kelly Cup Playoffs were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic while Toledo elected a Pandemic Voluntary Suspension during the 2020-21 season. While the Walleye are seeking their first Kelly Cup championship, the Toledo Storm captured back-to-back Riley Cup titles in 1993 and 1994. Everblades appearing in Kelly Cup Finals for fifth time The Florida Everblades are appearing in the Kelly Cup Finals for the fifth time in team history, which is the second most in ECHL history, trailing only South Carolina’s six appearances. Florida captured the Kelly Cup title with a 4 games to 1 win over Las Vegas in 2012, while also previously reaching the Finals in 2004, 2005 and 2018. Two teams on a roll Both Toledo and Florida have put together impressive runs through the first three rounds of the 2022 Kelly Cup Playoffs. After trailing Cincinnati 3 games to 2 in the Central Division Semifinals, Toledo has won 10 of its last 11 games, with its only loss coming to Utah in overtime in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. The Walleye have outscored their opponents 49-26 over their last 11 games, scoring five goals in a game six times over that span. Since falling in double overtime at Greenville in Game 5 of the South Division Semifinals, Florida has gone 9-1 in its last 10 postseason games. The Everblades have posted four shutouts over that span, allowing a total of 16 goals in the 10 games. Working overtimeThe 2022 Kelly Cup Playoffs have seen 16 overtime games through three rounds. The record for overtime games in a single postseason is 26, which was set in the 2008 Kelly Cup Playoffs. Toledo is 2-2 in games that have gone beyond regulation in the postseason while Florida is 5-1. The Walleye defeated Cincinnati 3-2 in Game 1 of the Central Division Semifinals and Utah 5-4 in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals while dropping a 6-5 decision to the Cyclones in Game 3 of the Central Division Semifinals and a 5-4 decision to the Grizzlies in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. The Everblades have at least one overtime win in each of their three series, winning a pair of games against Greenville in the South Division Semifinals and against Newfoundland in the Eastern Conference Finals along with an overtime win at Jacksonville in Game 4 of the South Division Finals. The Everblades fell in double overtime at Greenville in Game 5 of the South Division Semifinals. Florida’s five overtime wins are tied for the third most in a single postseason in ECHL history. Colorado holds the top two spots in league history, winning seven overtime games in 2018 and winning six times in the extra session in 2017. Scoring leaders on both sidesToledo is led in the playoffs by Brandon Hawkins, who ranks third in the playoffs with 13 goals and 26 points. TJ Hensick is fourth among players in the playoffs with 10 goals and is sixth with 24 points. John Albert is tied for the playoff lead with four game-winning goals. John McCarron paces Florida through three rounds with 14 points (3g-11a). McCarron has recorded 83 career points in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, and enters the Finals tied for fifth on the ECHL career postseason points list. Alex Aleardi and Matteo Gennaro share the team lead with six goals each. Stefan Leblanc is tied for second in the playoffs with four power-play goals and is tied for second among defensemen with five goals while ranking fourth among blueliners with 13 points. Between the pipesBilly Christopoulos has played every minute in the postseason for Toledo, ranking second in minutes played (994) and saves (423) while ranking fifth with a 2.42 goals-against average.For Florida, Cam Johnson  has seen every minute of action since Game 3 of the South Division Semifinals against Greenville. Johnson has recorded four shutouts, tied for the second most in a single postseason in ECHL history, and ranks second in the postseason with a 1.89 goals-against average and is tied for fourth with a .926 save percentage. Behind the BenchesTwo of the most successful coaches in recent ECHL history meet behind the benches in the 2022 Kelly Cup Finals. Toledo’s Dan Watson has won 40-plus games in each of his four full seasons behind the bench, including three seasons of at least 49 victories. Watson, who is 232-106-30 in the regular season and 41-26 in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, has served as a coach in the ECHL All-Star Classic on three occasions (2017, 2019 and 2022) and received the John Brophy Award as ECHL Coach of the Year in 2017-18. Florida’s Brad Ralph enters the Kelly Cup Finals as the ECHL’s all-time leader in career playoff wins with 59, and ranks third with 103 games coached, trailing all-time leader Matt Thomas by five games. In his ECHL tenure with Idaho and Florida, Ralph has an overall record of 408-166-57 for a .692 career winning percentage, which ranks sixth in ECHL history while he ranks eighth all-time in regular-season wins. This season, he led the Everblades to their sixth division title in eight seasons, and he eclipsed the 40-win mark for the ninth time in his coaching career.Name already on Kelly Cup  Two players on Toledo have previously had their name engraved on the Kelly Cup with Brandon Hawkins and Randy Gazzola both capturing an ECHL title with Fort Wayne in 2021. Florida’s Kyle Neuber had his name engraved on the Kelly Cup as part of Allen’s 2016 championship team. Players returning to Finals In addition to the three players who have previously won a Kelly Cup title, Toledo’s Matt Berry was on Florida’s roster during the 2018 Finals, but not did appear in a game during the Finals series; Blake Hillman was with South Carolina in the 2021 Finals while Gazzola, Head Coach Dan Watson and Assistant Coach Alden Hirschfeld were all with the Walleye in 2019. Additionally, Mitchell Heard participated in the 2018 Kelly Cup Finals with Florida. For the Everblades, John McCarron participated in the 2016 Kelly Cup Finals with Wheeling and the 2018 Finals with Florida, while Neuber and Head Coach Brad Ralph were both with the Everblades in 2018. FloHockey broadcasts Kelly Cup Finals For the 18th year in a row every game of the Kelly Cup Finals will be available online, through FloHockey.2022 Kelly Cup Finals ScheduleGame 1 – Friday, June 3 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Huntington Center in Toledo, OhioGame 2 – Saturday, June 4 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Huntington Center in Toledo, OhioGame 3 – Wednesday, June 8 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Hertz Arena in Estero, FloridaGame 4 – Friday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Hertz Arena in Estero, FloridaGame 5 – Saturday, June 11 at 7:00 p.m. ET at Hertz Arena in Estero, Florida *Game 6 – Tuesday, June 14 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio *Game 7 – Thursday, June 16 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio *  * – If Necessary Kelly Cup Champions2021 – Fort Wayne defeated South Carolina, 3 games to 12020 – Playoffs were canceled due to COVID-192019 – Newfoundland defeated Toledo, 4 games to 22018 – Colorado defeated Florida, 4 games to 32017 – Colorado defeated South Carolina, 4 games to 02016 – Allen defeated Wheeling, 4 games to 22015 – Allen defeated South Carolina, 4 games to 32014 – Alaska defeated Cincinnati, 4 games to 22013 – Reading defeated Stockton, 4 games to 12012 – Florida defeated Las Vegas, 4 games to 12011 – Alaska defeated Kalamazoo, 4 games to 12010 – Cincinnati defeated Idaho, 4 games to 12009 – South Carolina defeated Alaska, 4 games to 32008 – Cincinnati defeated Las Vegas, 4 games to 22007 – Idaho defeated Dayton, 4 games to 12006 – Alaska defeated Gwinnett, 4 games to 12005 – Trenton defeated Florida, 4 games to 22004 – Idaho defeated Florida, 4 games to 12003 – Atlantic City defeated Columbia, 4 games to 12002 – Greenville defeated Dayton, 4 games to 02001 – South Carolina defeated Trenton, 4 games to 12000 – Peoria defeated Louisiana, 4 games to 21999 – Mississippi defeated Richmond, 4 games to 31998 – Hampton Roads defeated Pensacola, 4 games to 21997 – South Carolina defeated Louisiana, 4 games to 1Riley Cup Champions1996 – Charlotte defeated Jacksonville, 4 games to 01995 – Richmond defeated Greensboro, 4 games to 11994 – Toledo defeated Raleigh, 4 games to 11993 – Toledo defeated Wheeling, 4 games to 21992 – Hampton Roads defeated Louisville, 4 games to 01991 – Hampton Roads defeated Greensboro, 4 games to 11990 – Greensboro defeated Winston-Salem, 4 games to 11989 – Carolina defeated Johnstown, 4 games to 3

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