Florida wins E.A. "Bud" Gingher Trophy as Eastern Conference champions

The Florida Everblades claimed the E.A. "Bud" Gingher Trophy as Eastern Conference champions on Saturday with a 3-2 win over the Adirondack Thunder in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Florida wins the series 4 games to 1, and awaits the winner of the Western Conference Finals between the Colorado Eagles and Fort Wayne Komets in the 2018 Kelly Cup Finals.

The Everblades raced out to a 3-0 first-period lead in Game 5 on goals from Matt Mackenzie, Michael Kirkpatrick and Mitchell Heard. Mike Szmatula got the Thunder on the board 2:39 into the final period and Colton White added a power-play tally at 12:03 to cut Florida's lead to one but that was as close as Adirondack got.

Kirkpatrick led Florida in the series with eight points (3g-5a) while Martin Ouellette went 4-1 with a 2.46 goals-against average and a save percentage of .922. Adirondack was led by Ryan Schmelzer who had four goals and eight points.

This marks the fourth time the Everblades have advanced to the Kelly Cup Finals in team history. Florida fell to Idaho in 2004 and Trenton in 2005 before defeating Las Vegas 4 games to 1 in 2012.

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 2009.

Gingher Trophy Champions

2018    Florida Everblades

2017    South Carolina Stingrays       

2016    Wheeling Nailers        

2015    South Carolina Stingrays       

2014    Cincinnati Cyclones   

2013    Reading Royals          

2012    Florida Everblades     

2011    Kalamazoo Wings      

2010    Cincinnati Cyclones   

2009    South Carolina Stingrays       

2008    Cincinnati Cyclones   

2007    Dayton Bombers        

2006    Gwinnett Gladiators  

2005    Florida Everblades     

2004    Florida Everblades     

2003    Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies       

2002    Dayton Bombers        

2001    Trenton Titans

2000    Peoria Rivermen         

1999    Richmond Renegades

1998    Hampton Roads Admirals