The USPHL Southeast Showcase Eels Recap, By Eels contributing writer Joe Munroe
The Florida Eels Premier team faced off against the Hampton Roads Whalers on Friday night winning 1-0. Although the 1st and 2nd periods remained scoreless, Left Winger Adam Gaudet came in the clutch, scoring the winning goal at the 16:36 mark of the 3rd period, Assisted Collin Patterson (1), Easton Moore (4). Eels starting goaltender, Alexandre Caron didn’t allow any goals shutting out the Whalers. He had 26 saves on the night with another incredible performance. This was a solid win for the Eels Premier team. The Whalers are one of the top teams in the Southeast Division with a long and storied history with multiple National Championships in their past. Seeing the way they play we expect them to once again be a national contender.
The Eels Premier team had their work cut out for them this entire weekend. They had faced a double header on Saturday. Their first match was against one of the most physical teams in Junior hockey: The Richmond Generals. This team is not only physical they are stacked with very talented players. This was a up and down battle between both clubs. Both fore-checked hard and both equally smothered one another. It was a thrilling game for Eels fans The Eels had a total of 36 shots. Eels rookie goalie Duncan Rolleman had 29 saves allowing only 1 goal. Again, in the first period there wasn’t any scoring from either team. The second period the Richmond Generals scored to make it 1-0. The Eels mounted a comeback in the 3rd period tying it 1-1, leading to a shootout. The two teams played 3 on 3 for 5 minutes and it remained tied. The teams went into a shootout. Richmond scored and the Eels had to settle for a OTL and one point.
Several hours later the Eels Premier team put that game behind them, as they completed their double header of the weekend; handling business against the Charlotte Rush. This was the game everyone was waiting for. A repeat of last season’s Nationals where the Rush were victorious. This was the Eels redemption. The game the Eels were to avenge their loss. HockeyTV was burning up. So many Eels alumni were tuned in. Folks you could see it from the way the Eels players left their hotel; the manner in which they entered the rink. It was in their eyes. They wore it on their faces. Folks in the building witnessed first hand the Eels warm up. These guys were professional in every way. The intensity determination and fortitude was immersed all arlund them. From the players to the coaching staff.
The Eels unleased 39 shots on the Rush netminder David Battisti. He was the goalie who won it all for the Rush at Nationals. That was key for the Eels. On the otherhand the Eels kept
the Charlotte Rush to only 21 shots on their goalie Alexandre Caron. And Caron did what he does best: He slammed shut the door for the second time this weekend shutting out the Rush. And that is why he is coined “Alexander the Great” He challenged each and every shot. Blanking their snipers. Turning away the wristers, back door attempts and slappers. He simply dominated.
But as Caron often echoes, it was his teammates who did the job and that they did. It was all Eels on the scoresheet with Damon Kiyaesaw (1) scoring in the 1st period, assisting on the goal was Taurin Haddon-Harris (5), and Kayden Budgell (2). The 2nd period was followed up with another dominant period by the Eels. Cade Rosansky scored his 2nd goal of the season, assisting on the goal was Mark Phillips (1), and Oliver Karlstrom (2). It wasn’t long after in with 3rd period (1:36 minute Kayde Budgell scored his third goal of the season, assisting Taurin Haddon-Harris (6), and Damon Kiyawasew (3).
On Sunday faced their remaining opponent for the weekend showcase. The Potomac Patriots. This Patriots team has to be one of the most improved teams in the Southeast Division. They have done an outstanding job in the off season recruiting new players. But the Eels fire power and defensive system proved to smothering and they over thawed any hopes of a Patriot win. Over the Eels. The Eels defeated the Potomad Patriots 3-1 with a total of 27 shots on net. Goaltender Duncan Rolleman allowed only 1 goal on 14 saves, that goes to show you how strong our defense was all game. You could see after the 3 tough games earlier in the showcase the Eels were a bit tired but they did not waver on their mission or goal nor did they let up for a single second. The Eels continued their scoring with Collin Patterson scoring his 3rd goal of the season, assisting Easton Moore (5), and Adam Gaudet (3). Eric Hambling and Collin Patterson led the way in the second period with Hambling scoring his 1st goal of the season and Patterson getting his 3rd assist. Moreover we witnessed another dominant 3rd period by Damon Kiyawasew with his 2nd goal on the season, assisting on the goal was Taurin Haddon-Harris (7).
The Eels elite team also performed at a high level going 2-2 over the weekend. The Elite team won an impressive game over the very strong Hampton Road Whalers 2-1. This kicked things off quite well for the young guns. The Whalers have always been one of the USPHL’s most competitive programs and for the Eels to garner a solid win here was phenomenal. It wasn’t just the win, it was the way we played.
The Eels Elite faced a double header on Saturday like their Premier brothers and they too had to face off vs the Richmond Generals and the Charlotte Rush. Although the Elite team sustained 2 losses to those teams, the boys never quit. These two teams win the Nationals two seasons in a row in the Elite Conference. They had 75% returnees. For our guys it was “Baptism By Fire” It went a long way towards their player development as players and as a team. We are building our team shift by shift period by period game by game player by player. It is still very much a learning process. Indeed, it showed when we took on the Potomac Patriots in game 4 of the Showcase. We had scoring form 8 different players. A shutout on the weekend. In fact, in all 4 games the Elite scoring was pretty much a balanced attack by multiple players.
We want to say great job overall for both the Premier and Elite squads.