Before the dust could even gather on the Florida Everblades' 2018 Eastern Conference Championship banner the Blades started their defense of that championship Friday night inside Hertz Arena.

Opposing the Blades in the Eastern Conference Finals is one of the ECHL's newest franchises, the Newfoundland Growlers.

The last time these two teams met was 208 days prior to Friday when the season started.

“Certainly with special teams I think there’s a big feeling out process in that department. We were ready for their style of play. So I don’t think that was a big shock for us," said Everblades head coach Brad Ralph.

The Blades and Growlers would remain scoreless through two periods of play.

“We’ve defended it well. I thought we did for 50 minutes tonight," said Ralph. "But I thought it would be a higher scoring affair based on the numbers heading into the series.”

Florida lead Newfoundland in shots on goal throughout the night, but unfortunately for the Blades, it would be the Growlers' Georgio Estaphan that scored the game's first tally with just over six minutes to play.

An empty netter minutes later would give Newfoundland a 2-0 win and a (1-0) series lead.

“We needed to find a way tonight and we didn’t. I thought it was a lost opportunity," said Ralph.

Game two of the series is set for Saturday night, meaning the Blades will have to have a short memory.

"You can’t sit and sulk about it in the playoffs," said forward Blake WIniecki. "You can’t get too down about it. We are going to have to move on and come to the rink (tomorrow) and have some good vibes.”

The last time Florida fell down (1-0) in a playoff series at home was actually this year's South Division Finals. After losing the first game to Orlando, though, the Blades went on to win the next four games and advance to play Newfoundland.

The puck for game two drops at 7:00pm Saturday night at Hertz Arena.