This weekend, Saturday night at 8:30 pm at the Fort Myers Skatium. This game is critical for both teams. Only one game will be played between these two teams this weekend. This game will have enormous implications in the standings and the EJHL South playoff seeding.
First, Tampa is fighting to stay alive and feverishly trying to secure a playoff spot. Tampa's overall record is 8-21-2. 18 points. The Eels on the other hand is the hottest team in the EJHL South. They are 20-10-1 with an impressive 41 points. The Eels are just one point behind Hampton Roads who occupy second place. The Eels are hell bent on over taking Hampton for second place.
The Eels know full well that Atlanta will be taking on Hampton this weekend. Tampa knows East Coast will be battling Potomac this weekend. Those two teams along with Tampa are all fighting for the last playoff spot.
The Eels are hoping all of the stars will be aligned this weekend. But they cannot sit back and wait for other teams to do their job for them. Accordingly we expect Tampa to come out hard and bring their A game. Indeed, Tampa always plays the Eels strong and this has been a healthy rivalry from the days the Tampa franchise was hosted out of Jacksonville Florida. The Eels can't and wont take Tampa for granted. They are ever mindful, it was just a few years ago that Tampa eliminated the Eels from an opportunity to go to Nationals.
The Eels are 13-4 at home. The Eels have been drawing a nice home crowd at their games with a plus 300 and several games over 600 folks in attendance. Tampa is only 4-11 on the road. The Eels special teams are very impressive with a 25% on the power play and 85% on the PK.
The Eels have all 25 players engaged and fortunately healthy. The Eels are very hungry and focused. The Eels know Tampa has some very talented players, an experienced coach who played pro hockey and will have his players very determined to win and try to gain entry into the playoffs. The Eel older boys are generating quite a bit of interest from NCAA college coaches. Yet despite the garnering of interest and recruitment, the boys have stayed the course and maintain their focus. We have not allowed the hype to crate distractions. The Eels remain steadfast and players are resolved towards their mission: Win the playoffs and then win Nationals. One shift, one period, one game at a time.
This should prove to be an excellent game with all of the trappings of a good old fashion barnburner,