Eastern Conference Finals Preview

Eastern Conference Finals (Best of Seven)

#3 Kalamazoo Wings vs. #5 Florida Everblades
Series Matchup Sheet

Kalamazoo and Florida meet in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the second consecutive year. Last year, the K-Wings defeated the Everblades 3 games to 1 in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on their way to capturing the conference title.

Last season, Kalamazoo defeated Wheeling 4 games to 2 in the Eastern Conference Finals before falling to Alaska in five games in the Kelly Cup Finals. The K-Wings have won the North Division regular-season title in each of their three seasons in the ECHL, and return seven players from last year’s Kelly Cup finalist.

Florida is making its fourth appearance in the Conference Finals. The Everblades captured the Eastern Conference title in 2004 and the American Conference title in 2005, and lost in seven games in the 2007 American Conference Finals. Florida has advanced to the postseason in each of its 14 seasons.

The two teams met five times during the 2011-12 regular season, with Kalamazoo going 2-2-1 against the Everblades while Florida was 3-0-2 against the K-Wings. Trent Daavettila led Kalamazoo in the season series with six points (2g-4a) while goaltender Maxime Clermont was 1-0-1 with a 2.62 goals-against average and a save percentage of .901. Florida was led in the head-to-head series by Rylan Galiardi, who registered nine points (4g-5a), and by David Rutherford, who tallied six goals. Pat Nagle was 2-0-0 in two appearances against the K-Wings with a 2.00 goals-against average and a save percentage of .953.

Kalamazoo opened the 2012 Kelly Cup Playoffs with a 3 games to 1 win over Wheeling in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, and followed that up with a 4 games to 1 victory against South Carolina in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Nick Sirota leads all players in the postseason with seven goals, and his 11 points are tied for the playoff lead with two others, including Daavettila. Riley Gill’s seven wins are tops among goaltenders in the playoffs, while he is fifth with a 1.90 goals-against average. The K-Wings lead all playoff teams in goals per game (3.67) and power-play percentage (34.5 percent), while ranking second on the penalty kill (92.6 percent) and fourth in goals-against per game (2.11).

Florida is 7-1 through two rounds, sweeping Greenville 3 games to 0 in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals and defeating Elmira 4 games to 1 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Cedric Lalonde-McNicoll is tied for first in the postseason with eight assists and 11 points, while Sebastien Piche is tied for third among defensemen with six points (1g-5a). Nagle and John Muse have shared the goaltending duties, and both rank among the top goaltenders in the playoff with Nagle tied for second with a 1.36 goals-against average and Muse checking in sixth with a 1.94 goals-against average. The Everblades are second with 3.38 goals per game in the playoffs and are third with 1.75 goals-against per game.

Game 1 – Friday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Kalamazoo
Game 2 – Saturday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Kalamazoo
Game 3 – Wednesday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Florida
Game 4 – Thursday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Florida
Game 5 – Saturday, May 5 at 7 p.m. ET at Florida (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Tuesday, May 8 at 7 p.m. ET at Kalamazoo (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, May 9 at 7 p.m. ET at Kalamazoo (If Necessary)