The Eels Juniors were extremely busy this weekend with both
teams going in different venues. The EJHL South team had a home and away series
against Palm Beach. This was a key weekend for both Florida Teams. Palm Beach
was trying to gain some traction as they sat in 4th place with 28
points behind the Eels with 35 points who occupied third place. Palm Beach had
been hurting of late coming into the weekend with a 7 game loosing streak.
The Eels on the other hand are playing their best hockey of
the season. They returned back from the EJHL Winter Showcase with 2 wins out of
3 and were pretty impressive defeating their AJHL Rivals the Philadelphia Jr.
Flyers and the NJ Rockets. Those convincing wins opened the eyes of many of the
northern counter parts and more importantly Northeast College coaches.
Well, Friday night the teams played to a nice crowd at the Fort Myers Skatium (300) folks in attendance. The Eels open went on fire with 46 brazen shots on net, they poured on the speed, throttled a tenacious fore-check and relentless back check. The Eels lit the lamp 5 times: Scoring for the Eels was Osuna, Prince 2 goals, Filler and Brannon. Assisting for the Eels was Colatarci, Filler (2) Stone, John, and Wink. Hunter Fernandez earned another bog win allowing only 1 goal.
The Eels then traveled south to West Palm Beach for their away game. After coming off a three hour bus trip the Eels started off slow but then turned things up a notch with another 46 cannons at their net. The Eels proved too much for the Hawks finishing 2-1 with Filler having another great game scoring with less than a minute to go to seal the win. The first goal for the Eels was driven by League All Star and Eel leading defenseman Brien Thompson (10) on the year. In net for the Eels was Teke Murphy with a great 1 goal against stellar performance.
The Eels EJHL South team is showing superb poise and focus all over the ice. The coaching staff has the boys very focused. They are showing everyone in the league and up north how dangerous they can be. GM Scarpaci is very excited about the absolute dedication and determination each and every player is demonstrating on and off the ice. With so much depth on this team, the boys are competing day in and day out for roster spots. Right now the number one mission is to get to play offs and win. Nationals is our goal. Trust me we are not going there to participate. We know very well the covenanted prize.
On the Empire side, the Eels fell short in the win column vs. the cross-town Jr B rivals the Jr Blades.
The Empire Team had been working over time to prepare for its second home and away series vs. the cross town Jr. B Blades. The Eels are 10th overall in the Empire Jr. B league with 20 wins. That is 4-fold increase from last season. We have a .633 winning percentage.
The Eels' Empire players are a much younger squad than the Jr. Blades with only one team in their program and they generally go with a much older roster.
The Eels Empire team is much younger with team with 4 1996 players, and 16 1995 4 1994's and only 2 1993s players whereas the Blades have 9 1993s and 6 1994's and 5 1995s. Despite the Eels youth, the Eels have some of the most talented players in the Empire league. A tremendous group of boys, who are very hungry, determined and very focused. They know how to win.
These guys have unparallel determination and grit. All blue collar here. No superstars. All team. No individuals.
In game won the Eels Empire team came very close with a 3-goal come back in the 3rd period. A controversial reversal of goal by the referee and a questionable high stick goal against the Eels was the turning point. That two-goal differential was unfortunately the death null. A 5-4 score would have been 5-4 for the Eels. In the end the Eels pulled their goalie and the final was 6-4. This was a very impressive game for the Eels as the Jr Blades enjoyed a 4 game shout out before this series.
Game two was another hard fought battle but the score was a little more disappointing. 5-1. But the effort demonstrated by the Young Eels team was nothing short of impressive.
The Jr. Blades clearly won. They were a bit stronger this weekend. Indeed, the Blades are the top team in the entire Empire League. They have 60 points and 30 wins. That is more than the league all time top performers such as the NH Monarchs at 54, the Jr Bruins at 53, the South Shore Kings at 51 and the Fredrick Freeze at 44.
To appreciate the Eels Empire team one has to remember they defeated this year, Northern Power Houses: The Fredrick Freeze # 2 in the Western Conference, The Springfield Picks, The Valley Warriors, The Salem Ice Dogs and the Atlanta Knights.