2 OCT | BY FRANK SCARPACI
This Weekend The Florida Eels Premier and Elite Teams Square off in a Home and Away Series vs the Tampa Bay Juniors
The Eels take on their west coast of Florida rivals the Tampa Bay Juniors. These two teams have battled for over 12 years for Florida junior hockey supremacy. They competed hard each year during the regular season and in playoffs. Tampa plays now in Wesley Chapel and previously in Ellenton Florida and before that in Jacksonville Florida. The Eels originally played in Ellenton 12+ seasons ago and then moved to Fort Myers. These two teams have Signiant history. The games are always very competitive and spirited.
Last season both Eels teams advanced to the USPHL Nationals hosted in Boston Mass. In a surprise upset the Jr. Blades defeated Tampa’s Premier team in the Florida Division playoffs. The Juniors were edged out after both teams went 1-1. However, the Tampa Juniors Elite team advanced to the USPHL Nationals in Boston and performed incredibly well.
This is the first outing between the two organizations this season. The Eels did get an opportunity to see the two Tampa teams while at the USPHL Southern Showcase. The Eels coaches and players took the opportunity to size up their divisional opponents. Once again, the Juniors looked strong and we will not take them for granted. In the standings both of the Eels are in 1st place in the Florida Division. At the Showcase last weekend, the Eels fared much better than Tampa. But it is so early in the season. Indeed, the standings do not directly affect the results of the upcoming games. Standings if you will be yesterday’s news so to speak.
The Eels and the Juniors have a short week and consequently less time to practice and prepare. Both teams arrived home early Tuesday morning with minimum rest. The Eels are putting forth everything Wednesday Thursday and Friday. The coaches nor players are taking Tampa for granted. They are a solid organization and we will bring forth a full effort this Friday and Sunday. We saw from our own guys they are quick and can be very aggressive on the fore-check. The Eels also stress that the back checking is key to our system. Defense first!!!
Friday the games are away in Wesley Chapel (Tampa) and Sunday back at home in Fort Myers at the Skatium.
Friday, the Premier Team plays first 6:15 pm and the Elite at 8:30 pm. Then back at home on Sunday the Elite team plays first at 10:15 am and the Premier plays at 1:00 pm
Please join us at the games or if you cannot make it tune in on HockeyTV