Eastern Conference Finals Preview
Eastern Conference Finals (Best of Seven)Newfoundland Growlers vs. Florida EverbladesSeries Matchup SheetFor the second consecutive season and the third time in the last four postseasons, the Newfoundland Growlers and Florida Everblades meet with a spot in the Kelly Cup Finals on the line. Newfoundland defeated Florida 4 games to 1 in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals while the Everblades prevailed in five games last season. Newfoundland, which won the Kelly Cup title in 2019, is 8-1 all-time in Kelly Cup Playoffs series. The Growlers have reached this point with a pair of five-game victories over Adirondack and Reading. The Growlers rank second among playoff teams with 4.80 goals per game and have scored five or more goals in six of their 10 postseason contests. Newfoundland is 5-1 on the road in the playoffs, winning each of its last five road games, and has outscored its opponents 32-17 over those six road games. Pavel Gogolev (5g-8a) and Isaac Johnson (4g-9a) lead Newfoundland in the playoffs with 13 points each, which is tied for fourth overall in the playoffs. Jonny Tychonick is tied for first among rookies, and leads all defensemen in the postseason, with 12 points (0g-12a) while Keenan Suthers is tied for second among first-year players with five goals. Dryden McKay is 8-1 in the playoffs and ranks eighth with a 2.34 goals-against average and is tied for eighth with a .914 save percentage. Florida is appearing in the Conference Finals for the eighth time in team history. The Everblades have advanced to the Kelly Cup Finals five times (2004, 2005, 2012, 2018 and 2022), capturing the Kelly Cup title in 2012 and 2022. Florida defeated both South Carolina and Jacksonville in six games en route to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Everblades have also enjoyed success on the road in the 2023 Kelly Cup Playoffs, posting a 5-1 record, including four straight wins. Tyler Irvine and Sean Josling share the team lead, and are tied for second overall in the playoffs, with seven goals while Joe Pendenza has recorded a team-best 12 points (5g-7a). Cam Johnson, the 2022 recipient of the June M. Kelly Playoffs Most Valuable Player Award, has picked up where he left off last season with an 8-4 record and two shutouts. He is tied for fourth with a 2.11 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage. The winner of the Eastern Conference Finals receives the E.A. “Bud” Gingher Memorial Trophy. The trophy is named in recognition of E.A. “Bud” Gingher, who was Chairman of the ECHL Board of Governors from 1992-95. Gingher, who passed away in 2002, co-founded the Dayton Bombers in 1991 and owned the team for seven seasons, serving as President and Governor until selling the team in 1998. Gingher was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2010.Game 1 - Friday, May 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET at FloridaGame 2 - Saturday, May 20 at 7 p.m. ET at FloridaGame 3 - Monday, May 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET at FloridaGame 4 - Thursday, May 25 at 7 p.m. NT at NewfoundlandGame 5 - Sunday, May 28 at 4 p.m. NT at Newfoundland (If Necessary)Game 6 - Tuesday, May 30 at 7 p.m. NT at Newfoundland (If Necessary)Game 7 - Wednesday, May 31 at 7 p.m. NT at Newfoundland (If Necessary)
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