Jacksonville Sports Day

ICEMEN RECAP: Jacksonville Drops Final Two Games; ECHL Playoffs Begin Thursday

FILE PHOTO By NANCY BEECHER/Florida Sports Wire

ORLANDO – Orlando skated to a 5-2 win over the Jacksonville Icemen Sunday afternoon before 9,049 at the Amway Center in the ECHL regular season finale for both clubs. The Icemen will now face the Florida Everblades in the first round of the Kelly Cup playoffs beginning Thursday in Estero, Fla.

Kris Newbery and Garet Hunt scored for Jacksonville. Orlando scored on two power play goals to take a 2-1 lead and never trailed. The game saw 26 minutes in penalties.

Angus Redmond made 32 saves for the Icemen. Connor Ingram made 30 saves for the Solar Bears.

Playoff schedule:

#1 Florida Everblades (50-16-6) vs. #4 Jacksonville Icemen (36-32-4)
Game 1 – Thursday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Florida
Game 2 – Saturday, April 13 at 7 p.m. ET at Florida
Game 3 – Thursday, April 18 at 7 p.m. ET at Jacksonville
Game 4 – Friday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Jacksonville
Game 5 – Saturday, April 20 at 7 p.m. ET at Jacksonville (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Monday, April 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Florida (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Florida (If Necessary)

On Saturday Alex Tonge recorded a goal and two assists to pace the Everblades to a 3-1 victory at Hertz Arena.

Florida opened the scoring at 11:31 of the opening period. Justin Auger skated down the right wing circle and centered a pass to the top of the crease. Michael Neville crashed the net and batted the puck which then clipped off the glove of Jacksonville goaltender Angus Redmond and into the net for the goal.

In the second period, Florida extended its lead to 2-0 on a shorthanded goal. Justin Wade led a 2-on-2 shorthanded rush into the Icemen end. Wade dropped a pass back to Alex Tonge who cut sharply to the left circle and snapped a shot past the glove of Redmond for the tally.

The Icemen countered less than two minutes later. Dajon Mingo received a pass at the right circle and immediately dished it to Alexis D’Aoust in the high slot. D’Aoust dropped down to one knee as he stepped into a shot and beat goaltender Evan Wininger high into the corner of the net to pull the Icemen within one.

In the third, the Icemen came out with some relentless pressure and put the Everblades on their heels for about a six-minute span. However, Jacksonville could not net the equalizer. Florida would eventually emerge with the puck and break into the offensive zone. An innocent wrist shot from the right wing by Tonge was tipped and redirected into the net by Mitch Vandergunst for a goal to put Florida in front by a 3-1 count.

COX HONORED: The ECHL on Monday announced that Florida Everblades’ forward Joe Cox is the recipient of the AMI Graphics Plus Performer of the Year award after finishing the season with a plus-minus rating of +46. Myles Powell of Cincinnati finished second with a plus-minus rating of +45, followed by Cincinnati’s Arvin Atwal at +44, and Logan Roe of Florida and Jesse Schultz of Cincinnati at +39. Cox, who was named to the All-ECHL Second Team last week, posted an even or better rating in 46 of his 55 games this season while tallying 61 points (27g-34a). A native of Chelsea, Michigan, Cox has 115 points (49g-66a) in 130 career ECHL games with the Everblades.

HOCKEY NOTES: Florida Panthers President of Hockey Operations & General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that Bob Boughner has been relieved of his duties as head coach, along with Assistant Coach Paul McFarland. “We made a tough decision today and have relieved Bob Boughner of his duties as head coach,” said Tallon. “We didn’t meet expectations this season and share responsibility for that fact. After careful evaluation, we have determined that this is a necessary first step for our young team and we will seek to identify a transformative, experienced head coach with Stanley Cup pedigree to lead our team going forward. We’re grateful to Bob, Paul and their families for their hard work and their dedication to the Panthers organization and we wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.”

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