Elite Eels Advance to Nationals with 5-1 Victory over Jr. Blades
By: Nick Roesch
Estero, FL: The Florida Eels Elite team scored 5 goals all from different players to complete the best-of-3 divisional playoff series sweep over the Florida Jr. Blades on Sunday night inside Hertz Arena.
The Eels scored the only goal of the 1st period after Jake Court cruised into the attacking zone by himself and stuffed the puck over the left leg of Jr. Blades goalie Cole Garver at the 7:45 marker of regulation.
The Eels doubled their lead 8:38 into the 2nd with a shorthanded tally from Georgy Samodelkin. The 1st year defenseman from Moskva, Russia went coast to coast and split a pair of defenders in the endzone to close out the individual effort.
Just 3 minutes and 44 seconds later, TJ Zebley would get in on the scoring fun after tipping in a wrist shot from Jake Court at the low slot to make it a 3-0 Eels edge. Team captain Gage Dill also picked up an assist after setting up Jake Court at the center of the blue line.
With 6:17 to spare in the middle portion of regulation, Trevor Voyda skated to the near hashmark in the Eels offensive end and rifled the disc under the left arm of Garver and in. Voyda executed the unassisted scoring play perfectly, beating out a pair of defensemen on his back. The Eels would head into the 2nd intermission with a 4-0 lead.
Once the 3rd period got underway, it took the Eels 6 minutes and 49 seconds to score what would eventually be their final goal of the game. Gage Dill received a
feed in the neutral zone from Jake Court, who was standing back behind the Eels net. From there, Dill formed a breakaway and fired a shot through the five-hole to increase the lead to 5 goals. From here, the Eels made a change in net, substituting Nahuel Veyan for Tom Steere, who started the evening between the pipes.
With victory imminent for the Eels, the Jr. Blades broke the shutout courtesy of Erik Peavey. After receiving a rink-wide feed from Kalib Carlyle, the Jr. Blades’ topscorer beat out Veyan in the split position from the far end of the goal line.
The Eels finished the game with a 5-1 victory after throwing 43 shots on goal. Eels starting netminder Tom Steere stopped all 19 shots that came his way, while Nahuel Veyan stopped 4 out of 5 attempts faced.
As a result of the win, the Florida Eels Elite team will join the Premier Eels in the USPHL Nationals, which will take place March 9-12 at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts. The official round robin schedule is expected to be released later this week.