By: Joseph Munroe *Contributing Writer for the Eels
This Friday the Florida Eels Premier team faces off against The Tampa Bay Juniors at Advent Health Center Ice in Tampa, FL. The Eels’ last game was on Oct. 20 against the Florida Jr. Blades in which a game the Eels won 4-3. The Premier Team has been red hot and hasn’t lost a game in regulation at 8-0-0-1, the only game they lost was a shootout in extras. But this weekend they turn their focus to a division rival, the Tampa Bay Juniors who are in fact on a 2-0 run. The Juniors look to end the Eels hot streak this weekend.
This will be the first time these two teams are facing off since last year, in which Tampa took a slight lead 4-3 in their season series. However, the Eels have a 2-0 winning streak against the Juniors.
Eels’ phenomenon Taurin Haddon-Harris has 59 career points and is 10 away from cracking into the all-time top 20 scorers. Goaltender Alex Caron has been dominant this season with a 5-0 record and has a GAA of 1.60. Caron won his last start against the Jr. Blades in which he tied the Eels’ record for regular season wins in the USPHL Premier (since 2017). The prior record was held by Jakub Kostelny with 21 wins from the 2019-2020 season. Caron can become the team’s all-time winningest goaltender in the Premier Division this weekend.
The door is open for the Eels to take sole first place in the Florida Division with two dominant goalies and a great attack. All four lines present a great attack with stars on each line. Tauron Haddon-Harris leads the way with 14 points, 5 goals, and 9 assists. Kayde Budgell is not far behind him with 11 points, 7 goals, and 4 assists.
The Eels understand that they must take advantage of having a home-ice advantage this weekend against the first place Juniors. Although the Tampa Bay Juniors have played more games than the Eels, they have a better record than Tampa coming in at 8-0 with 17 points. The Juniors are holding a close first-place lead, but after this weekend that could easily change.
This weekend the Florida Eels Elite team faces off against the Tampa Bay Juniors kicking off a two-game set with the Juniors starting Friday night and ending on Sunday. The Eels’ have been on a roll this season coming in at 4-0 winning streak and 7-2-1 on the season.
These games are crucial for the Eels to make a statement with only 14 points. Although they are in second place and the Juniors are in first keep in mind the elite team has played 6 fewer games than the Juniors have. Left-winger Andrew Ward leads the team with 12 points along with Defenseman Braeden Bzovey coming in with 11 points.
Goalie Jacob Mork is undefeated this season and has a GAA of 1.47. He has been lights out this season and looks to shut out the Juniors when they come to town this weekend. He leads the league in GAA and has 132 saves on the season.
Both teams are looking to make a statement against their in-state rival this weekend. The teams must take advantage of home ice and show why they are the best team in the state of Florida. “It won’t be an easy task, but we are ready for the challenge,” said Frank Scarpaci Eels General Manager.