ECHL playoffs: When you do the math, it all adds up to 2-0 series lead for Everblades

Florida Everblades defenseman and Fort Myers native Logan Roe handles the puck in the Atlanta Gladiators' zone during Game 2 of the teams' first-round ECHL playoff series. KIMI SMITH/SPECIAL TO CSI

BY MATT ROTHMAN
SPECIAL TO CSI

ESTERO — If Logan Roe gets the chance to bring the Kelly Cup home, he won’t have to travel very far.

Born and raised in Fort Myers, Roe has helped the Florida Everblades get out to a 2-0 lead over the Atlanta Gladiators in the teams’ first-round ECHL playoff series. The 6-foot-4 defenseman had an assist Tuesday night as Florida pulled out a 3-2 win in Game 2 at Germain Arena.

The series shifts to Atlanta for Game 3 on Thursday night.

“Growing up I came and watched the team,” said Roe, who boasted the ECHL’s best plus/minus this season (43). “I got to see them win the Kelly Cup and pretty much my whole family is here. My grandparents and girlfriend come to every home game, and it’s great to play basically in my backyard. I got a great cheering section.”

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In Game 2, Roe was a plus once again as he was on the ice for two Everblades goals. 

“I try not to focus on (the plus/minus) too much,” said Roe, who’s in his third season with Florida and is the longest tenured Everblade on the roster. “I hate being scored on and I love being on the ice when we are trying to score. It was a tight (ECHL plus/minus) race at the end, so I was aware of it then, but I try not to think about it too much.”

Roe and the Everblades have been plus pretty much all season, having amassed a league-best 112 points to win the ECHL’s Brabham Cup. Here is how they scale on a plus/minus ranking at this early stage of the postseason:

 

PLUSES

Goaltending continues to be outstanding: Florida’s Martin Ouellette has given up just three goals in two games.

Gladiators outscored 7-1 at even strength: The Everblades have given up one shorthanded goal. The other goal came with Atlanta pulling their goalie while down by two.

Penalty kill has been superb: Despite giving up that shorthanded goal in Game 1, Florida has killed off five penalties and is 10 for 11 in the playoffs.

Finish each period strong: The Everblades’ first goal in Game 2 came with 1:04 left in the opening period. They scored their second goal with 36 seconds left in the second period and added their insurance tally with 2:06 left in the third.

 

MINUSES

Power play needs improvement: The Everblades are scoreless in 13 tries with the man advantage. They had six opportunities in Game 1 and did not convert, then had seven more in Game 2.

Maintain composure: Atlanta has lost all 12 meetings with Florida this regular season and postseason and are trying to entice the Everblades into dumb penalties. With as many penalties as the Gladiators are taking thus far, Florida must stay disciplined. Atlanta wants to drop the gloves, especially after Eric Shand suffered a head injury following a hard hit Tuesday night.

Potential for overconfidence: While they have won all 12 games against the Gladiators this season, perhaps the more impressive streak is the Everblades’ 19 straight wins in Atlanta. However, the Gladiators have 13 new players on the roster, and that streak probably means little to them.