The Florida Eels are very excited as both teams are positioned to make the playoffs and poised to make a strong run for the quest to the USPHL Beantown League finals.
The Eels Elite team and USP3 team are doing extremely well this season. Currently the Eels Elite team is 2nd place in the Southern Conference on a slight margin behind the Hampton Road Whalers. In fact by season end it is quite possible to see the Eels on top with winning percentage. The teams play an unbalanced schedule so winning percentage is the final barometer determining the final standings. In the USP3 the Southern Conference is actually divided into Piedmont and Florida Divisions. The Florida Eels clearly are leading the division by a strong margin.
GM Scarpaci assembled a strong veteran team in his Elite squad. Many returning players who developed 3 plus years from his USP3 team and 1 and 2 years on the Elite squad. 17 of 23 players are 1995 DOB. Guys who have been with us for a while such as Alex Sanchez, Jonathan Carlson, Josh Delezeene, Jordan Court, Brian Dennerlein, Kade Brannon, Collin Whitt, Clayton Boyd, Zac Boyle Jeff O’ Dea, Brandon Hotaling, Brandon Halversen, and John Shanley to name a few. This is their final Harrah so to speak. This is their time to put it altogether for the league championship. The USP3 team has also a staple of solid veteran players such as Andrea Stankevich, Brian Kozek, Brian Miller, Alec Parr, John Drummond, Kristers Seps, Kyle Salminen, Max Gruzdev, Michael Kohler, Nolan Greene who mixed with some very exciting young rookies such as Ayodele Adeniye , CJ Antonelli, Gavin Medina, Kellen Crowther, and Nick Kotz who have developed phenomenal chemistry with the older mentors.. These guys are playing quite well and have climbed to the top of their podium in the Florida Division.
The Eels front office has been as busy as his coaches and players in his maneuvering to further position his teams to make a major push forward. The biggest move on the Elite squad was acquiring Richard Doherty. He is a fast mobile defensemen who can generate quite a bit of offense. Moreover his defensive skills are very strong. He is veteran player having played in the NA3HL and the WSHL. He is very smart in all 3 zones. He will step in and significantly add depth and power to their already deep team. The Eels also added some muscle up front with the moving up of Brad and Zack Leminin. Brad is a 1995 stands as a man at 6’” 7” and Zack a towering young man as well only a 1998 is 6’8”. Their presence will bolster a team with so much offensive power up front to fuel a Air Force Jet fighting plane. GM Scarpaci commented he now has filled a few holes that places his Elite team ready for any challenge. They have the goaltending, the defense and the forwards. Coach Bloomingburg has all the weapons in his arsenal. It is now about perfect execution. The players are ready for the assault so to speak. They will hit the ice full throttle. One
mission. One goal.
GM Scarpaci was even more active with respect to his Eels USP3 team. We were looking to add some depth to the lines and saying it happened is the understatement of the year. The first move was bringing back Rajen Munning who left to play in Canada. Munning wanted back. He saw quickly the development model of the Eels was not existing we he went and GM Scarpaci brought him back. He has given a nice spark to the Eels offense. The next big move was making a trade for Darren Aikens from the Kalkaska Rhinos. Darren is an extremely gifted playmaker. He is a veteran player with a high hockey IQ. He fits the Eels work ethic. Then the Eels picked up Sam Marolda from the first place the New York Aviators of the NA3HL. Sam was scouted in Chiacgo nd Wisconsin at two different showcases by the Eels for 2 years. He played for us in the post season Sr. Chowder Cup in Boston. He has speed and grit and plays our high tempo fore-check. He knows the boys on the team as well. We knew chemistry was right. Next we picked up Jaret Hetmanski from the NA3HL. He became a free agent and we previously scouted Jaret as well. We knew he would add to our depth chart. He could play forward and defense. The Eels only had 5 defenseman so Jaret would find a home here developing very well with the Eels rich veteran defensive crew of Andrea Stankevich, Brian Kozek, Alec Parr John Drummond and Ayodele Adeniye.
The Eels then acquired Chase Horn and Brown from Daytona and bundled them for a blockbuster trade with Kalkaska that brought Robert Cerepak to the Eels. Cerepak was the leading scorer on the Rhinos. He also was amongst the leading scorers in the entire Midwest League. He comes with a great pedigree. Ceremak played 4 years with Lawrenceville Prep School in NJ, one year Post Graduate with the Gunnery Prep School, One year in the USPHL Premier Division before going to the Rhinos. He was captain at Lawrenceville and with the Rhinos. He not only brings scoring power as he averaged 2 points per game with the Rhinos, and one point per game in Prep school, he bring tremendous leadership skills.
These moves undoubtedly have moved the Eels USP3 team to a new elevation in the playoff run. The players are backed by two solid goaltenders. Nolan Greene and Nick Kotz. The USP3 team players are playing extremely well and the cohesiveness is incredible. Watching them is like watching surgery. It is done with precision and every move has a purpose. They are not robotic. . There is too much skill and natural talent for that. They are very exciting and creative but always mindful that discipline controls.
In conclusion both squads plan to be in Boston in March. There is no talk of going home early. They are not arrogant. They take one game at a time. One period at a time. One shift at a time. But they have confidence. Not arrogance. I have not seen a more hungry bunch of boys in my organization says the Eels GM Scarpaci. Both teams want it It is a nice mixture. In this sport the mental side is very important. They believe in the Eels our system and their faith. . Both teams are not letting up. The coaches have them ready. They are working 3+ hours each day on and off the ice. They are studying videos and breaking opponents down planning each game.
This ought to be a great set of playoffs.
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