JACKSONVILLE, Florida — While football teams across the state of Florida struggled in the month of October, one professional franchise in Jacksonville is probably a bit sad to see the calendar flip to November: the Jacksonville Icemen.
The second-year ECHL franchise is off to a 5-0 start to the 2018-2019 season. The Icemen's 22 goals through 5 games is the best percentage in the entire league, as is the mere, nine goals they've surrendered.
But that's still not enough.
"You know, honestly, that's the biggest thing: keeping that level of commitment and hard work," head coach Jason Christie said after practice Thursday. "Things have been well but players kinda forget how they got it to five-and-oh. Its done now. Its over with. You gotta keep working."
Christie also noted that the biggest key to the team's success so far has been veteran leadership.
"Coming into this year, we had returning players. I think that was the biggest thing [as compared to last season]," second-year Iceman Wacey Rabbit noted. "They led the charge and [decided] what our work ethic was gonna be. Everything just followed through."
After picking up their first road win of the season Sunday, the Icemen are home November 2-3 against the Florida Everblades. The Everblades are the defending conference runner-up's after making it all the way to the ECHL Championship a season ago.
"With them they got a good squad every year. Year in and year out. So we have to make sure we're ready to go," Christie said, "it's a good test for us. We've played well the first five games but with Florida coming in, we get to go right to the top and be ready to play."
The puck drops Friday at Veterans Memorial Arena at 7:30 p.m. It will be a 7 p.m. start time on Saturday.