Florida Everblades

ECHL Game Night: 10-7-11

Chicago Express 4 @ Florida Everblades 1

LW Alex Hutchings: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM (holding)
Last Season’s Totals: 51 GP, 13-13-26, -9, 41 PIM
G Pat Nagle: Did not play (backup)

The Florida Everblades made history Friday night, but not the way they wanted. The 'Blades dropped their season opener 4-1 to the Chicago Express, who was playing their inaugural game. Florida will now enter the Express record books as Chicago's first victim. The Express had four goals on Carolina prospect John Muse before the end of the second period. Lightning prospect Pat Nagle is supposed to get the nod Saturday. The Everblades got their first goal of the season in the third period by former Windsor Spitfire Justin Shugg, a Carolina Hurricanes draft pick. Norfolk Admirals property Philip-Michael Devos, the reigning QMJHL scoring champ, did not register a point for Florida. The teams play again Saturday night.

Admirals Send 3 to Everblades

The Tampa Bay Lightning reassigned forward Alex Hutchings and goaltender Pat Nagle to the ECHL's Florida Everblades today. In addition, the Lightning's to affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals, assigned forward Philip-Michael Devos to the Everblades. These moves were announced today by Admirals General Manager Julien BriseBois.

Hutchings (pictured) spent most of last season with the Everblades after nearly hitting 50 goals his final year of junior hockey with OHL Barrie. In his first year pro, Hutchings had 13 goals and 26 points in 51 ECHL games. He added three points in four playoff games with Florida, and was scoreless in his only appearance with the Admirals.

Tokarski's Return, Janus' Rise Creates Competition in Norfolk

He's back.

Dustin Tokarski spent the first weekend of the Tampa Bay Lightning's 2011 training camp in a nice new Lightning cap and standard-issue Lightning shorts and t-shirt, standing at the glass watching his teammates make their impressions on Lightning management. An abdominal injury kept Tokarski out of the Coral Springs rookie tournament, and now the highly competitive start of training camp.

Things started looking up for the former Memorial Cup MVP Wednesday as the Tampa Tribune reported the two MRIs done on Tokarski revealed no damage. He was back on the ice Wednesday morning.

And just in time.

Rookie Camp Roster Announced

(Tampa Bay Lightning press release) The Tampa Bay Lightning will open their 2011 Rookie Camp with fitness testing and physicals at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum on Friday, September 9, the team announced today. The prospects will hit the ice in Brandon the following day, Saturday, September 10.

For the first time in franchise history the Lightning prospects will travel to the Saveology.com Iceplex in Coral Springs, Florida for a three-team rookie tournament which begins Sunday, September 11. The tournament will also feature prospects from the Florida Panthers and
Nashville Predators. The camp and tournament schedule is as follows:

ECHL Playoffs Game Night: 4/9/11

Kelly Cup Playoffs – Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

No.6 Florida Everblades 3 @ No.3 Kalamazoo Wings 5
Kalamazoo wins best of five series 3-1

LW Alex Hutchings: 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 5 SOG
Season Totals: 51 GP, 13-13-26, -9, 41 PIM
Playoff Totals: 4 GP, 1-2-3, -2, 6 PIM

Florida’s season came to an end Saturday with a 5-3 loss to Kalamazoo. The K-Wings won the series three games to one. The ‘Blades fought back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game 3-3 midway through the third period, but Kalamazoo scored the game winner less than two minutes later then added an empty net goal. Hutchings’ first pro season comes to an end with a solid postseason showing where he finished second on the team in points. The former Barrie Colt will go into next year hoping to earn a spot on AHL Norfolk’s roster.

ECHL Playoffs Game Night: 4/8/11

Kelly Cup Playoffs – Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

No.6 Florida Everblades 3 @ No.3 Kalamazoo Wings 4
Kalamazoo leads best of five series 2-1

LW Alex Hutchings: 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season Totals: 51 GP, 13-13-26, -9, 41 PIM
Playoff Totals: 3 GP, 0-2-2, -2, 6 PIM

Florida put up a good fight on the road, but a goal by former Vermont Catamount Brady Leisenring at the 8 minute mark of the third period put Kalamazoo up 4-3 for the game and eventually 2-1 in the series. Leisenring has played in three leagues (CHL, ECHL, AHL) this season. The ‘Blades will need a win Saturday in Michigan to stay alive. Lightning prospect Alex Hutchings notched his second point of the playoffs in the loss. Mike Zacharias stopped 30 shots in the loss and had an assist.

ECHL Playoffs Game Night: 4/6/11

Kelly Cup Playoffs – Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

No.3 Kalamazoo Wings 4 @ No.6 Florida Everblades 1
Best of five series tied 1-1

LW Alex Hutchings: 0-0-0, -2, 6 PIM (unsportsmanlike conduct, slashing, tripping), 2 SOG
Season Totals: 51 GP, 13-13-26, -9, 41 PIM
Playoff Totals: 2 GP, 0-1-1, -1, 6 PIM

The K-Wings scored three times in the first period en route to a 4-1 Game 2 win over the Florida Everblades. Florida now travels to Michigan for the next three games of the series and has to win two of them to keep their season alive. Alex Hutchings did not register a point Wednesday, but spent some time in the box feeling shame. Goaltender Bobby Goepfert was pulled in the second period down 4-0. Game 3 is Friday.

ECHL Playoffs Game Night: 4/5/11

Kelly Cup Playoffs – Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

No.3 Kalamazoo K-Wings 1 @ No.6 Florida Everblades 2
Florida leads best of five series 1-0

LW Alex Hutchings: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season Totals: 51 GP, 13-13-26, -9, 41 PIM
Playoff Totals: 1 GP, 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM

The ‘Blades received stellar goaltending from Bobby Goepfert to defeat Kalamazoo 2-1 and take Game 1 of their opening round playoff series with the K-Wings. Goepfert stopped 31 of 32 shots for First Star honors. Lightning prospect Alex Hutchings had an assist in his first professional playoff game. Game 2 is Wednesday in southwest Florida. Games 3-5 will be played in Michigan.

ECHL Game Night: 4/2/11

South Carolina Stingrays 2 @ Florida Everblades 1 (SO)
LW Alex Hutchings: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM (slashing), 1 SOG
Season totals: 51 GP, 13-13-26, -9, 41 PIM

The ‘Blades got at least a point out of their final game of the season, but with Wheeling getting a win and South Carolina getting both points, Florida fell back to sixth in the East. They will face No.3 Kalamazoo in the playoffs starting on Tuesday. The ‘Blades were in fourth after the first game of their three game series with South Carolina this week. Hutchings finished his first pro regular season with 13 goals and 26 points. It’s a little disappointing considering he was a 47 goal scorer for Barrie of the OHL last year and had over 80 points. Not everyone can make a smooth transition to the pro game, but Hutchings’ hockey sense and speed were thought to be enough to make more of an impact at the ECHL level.

ECHL Game Night: 4/1/11

South Carolina Stingrays 5 @ Florida Everblades 4
LW Alex Hutchings: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM (cross-checking), 0 SOG
Season totals: 49 GP, 13-13-28, -9, 37 PIM

One game after the ‘Blades pulled ahead of South Carolina and Wheeling for fourth in the East, they fell behind again with a loss Friday to the Stingrays. Florida was down 2-0 and 5-2 in the game before mounting a comeback that fell short. They pulled within one goal with just under five minutes to go, but couldn’t get the equalizer. The ‘Blades are tied with the Stingrays for fifth at the moment, one point behind fourth place Wheeling. Florida has one more victory than South Carolina. All have one game left. South Carolina and Florida will play the final game of their regular seasons Saturday against each other in the Sunshine State. Goaltender Jaroslav Janus was recalled to AHL Norfolk Thursday.

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