The Elite team though only going 1-3 over the last debut in Norfolk/Chesapeake VA competed very well. The teams we faced are filled with older vets who played with one another for several years. The guys are learning our systems and coming together.
The team as a “team” now has the cohesion. We have 16-17 new guys this year and GM Scarpaci just made some major moves with key additions, which will undoubtedly bolster our lineup and add considerable depth to the squad. Recent acquisitions are Mendell Dubuisson, Jean-Simon Robidoux, Maulta Helt, Jace Lis D'Alessandro and the welcome return from injured Brian Kozek and the moving up of top USP3 forward Caden Tchop will have a major positive effect on the Elite team. From a defensive perspective we just matched some of the top teams in the league. Our forward additions adds size and power up front. The boys are very hungry and expected to explode. We saw this vs. the Potomac Patriots and will no doubt come alive.
It is easy when you are winning. That never tests the Will and Character of Players. It is learning to over come adversity is what test the true make-up of the players and teams. As a reminder look at the two teams who competed in the Stanley Cup this past season. The Penguins and Sharks. People forget that in the beginning of the season the Sharks lost quite a few games and were declared dead. The hockey analysts all wrote the Penguins off as well. But the two teams over came adversity. As Coach Scarpaci echoed, “you can’t win until you learned what loosing feels like. You learn twice as much from your losses than your wins. We have the personnel and these guys have the talent and heart. Just watch how we take off.”
We look forward to the game vs. the Palm Beach Hawks this Saturday at home. The boys have been on the road for 8-9 days over the past 2 weeks. That is a very tough and grueling schedule. No doubt it had an impact on them.
The younger USP3 squad has won 3 out of their 4 games at both showcases. Moreover they won 6 of their last 7 games. In the past 7 games we only allowed 11 goals for a 1.57 GAA. Both goalies earned 2 shutouts and both against the Junior Bruins. The wins at the last showcases included big wins against the Islanders Hockey Club who are in first placein the Northern Conference and the Carolina Eagles who were in first place in the entire Southern Conference.
The boys are doing very well. A reminder that 16 of these players NEVER played juniors before. That is 16 rookies. Now that is impressive. The team is in 4th place behind 3 teams of stacked veteran players. After 8 games in 14 days on the road-wow that is impressive. The team is young and hungry; they are a determined and dedicated group of players who are learning tremendously in such a short time span. Playing juniors is not like playing midgets. The training requires so much more and the commitment is tremendous.. The games are so much faster and the decision-making is so different to what they ever were accustomed. 90% of the boys live away from home and that of itself has a toll on them. Look at the past 2 weeks and the bus travel involved.
The Eels players on both the Elite and USP3 teams handled this adversity very well. We are training them for the Next Level and college hockey. But the key here is that they have to learn to handle all of this on their own. Without their parents involved. When they get to college no player can have parental involvement. It would be a “death null.” The boys need to find it with in them and with their coaches to improve their skills, learn the systems, and earn their ice time and we are very proud of our guys. Their attitude is so positive. That is so key to success. To sacrifice for the team. Not one player looks to his minutes, his line, his stats ….That is what makes guys champions.
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