The Florida Eels Elite team is very excited to head to West Palm Beach this Sunday to take on the Palm Beach Typhoon. It is amazing that the two organizations have not yet met this season. The Eels are coming off a 3-game road trip against the Atlanta Mad Hatters where the Elite team went 2-1-1. They took 5 of 6 points on the table. It is extremely difficult to defeat the same team twice in one weekend and almost impossible for a 3-game sweep. So, they took the 5 points. However, this is a tough squad that demands the very best of themselves and holds its bar very high. It is never acceptable for them to accept a lost.
The guys were nursing quite a few players with the flu and missed several players with injuries as well as advancing two of its top goal scores to the Premier team in the game it lost in a shootout. But those factors are never an excuse as these voids are openings and opportunities for other players to step up and do the job, show the coaches what they can contribute and earn top minutes on the squad. Yes, we did find some guys who stepped up this past weekend and opened up the eyes of the coaches. We saw players like: Adamo Di Ri, Gustavs Valpeteris, Lorenzo Marchetta, Maxim Schanck, Sean Burke, Bailey Kaiser, Nate Haas and Jachym Cermak stepped up as team leaders. Then there were others who played major roles this past weekend in Atlanta, such as: Reid Wilson, Anderson Libby, Jackson Carnes, Marc Ghafari, Grady Duden, and Raphael LaRose. These guys were clear difference makers.
Well, this weekend against Palm Beach and next week against the Jr Blades, we will see who the hungriest players will be and who will forge forward to be key guys for the club. We talk about elevating your game to the Next Level, well there isn’t a better chance than now. There is so much at stake here. The Eels are battling in the standings against Tampa. The Eels have played 14 games. Won 11 and ties 1 for 23 points. Tampa has played 2 more games than the Eels with 16 games. They have 10 wins and 1 tie for 21 points. Atlanta is in 3rdwith 16 points and Palm Beach with 12 points. The fact that the Eels have played 2 fewer games is a factor only relevant if the Eels win both of those games. Well this Sunday we have a chance to win one and next week vs the Blades we have a chance to win the 2nd game in hand. That is a total of 4 points on the swing. The season believe it or not is almost ½ played after next week. A 5 point lead is considerable when you look at who we have to play at the showcases. The Rush, Hurricanes, Potomac etc. It is rough sailing for the remainder of the season.
But, the true exercise here is to remember these are all training games. Training games for the playoffs and National run. The toughest teams advance. The most disciplined players make the difference. Those guys who come every day and who are the most dedicated are the difference makers in the long run. If you treat every game as though it is THE playoff game then it will become second nature at playoffs. Teams that try to “turn it on” at playoffs play outside their comfort zone. That is why we insist that we fore-check that much harder and smother our opponents to create puck relevel, that is why we demand equally tenacity on the back check to suffocate our opponents and deny zone entry or strip them of the puck in the defensive zone, That is why we expect a sustained and relentless attack on their goalie. Guys for the Eels it is a team effort yes but each member of the team playing on any given day must perform. It is when we stall we falter. The players know what is before them. They understand that opportunities resonate at practices and off ice. We expect all the guys to make that big push forward this week vs Palm Beach and next week vs the Jr Blades.