Today’s Match Vs. the Jr. Blades has Signiant effect on the playoff race. The Eels sit is 2ndplace having played 35 games. With 46 points. The Tampa Juniors have played 34 games and have 53 points. Seven points separate the two teams. However, the Juniors have played one more game than the Eels. The two squads play one another 3 more times for a potential 6-point spread. The Eels need to win all of their remaining games and need DME and or the Florida Junior Blades to win one over the Tampa Juniors. Last week one would have thought this would be impossible as DME was struggling but on Friday, DME lost to Tampa 2-1 in a shootout. That was incredible. So today we keep our fingers crossed and hope to get some help from our cross-state rivals DME who host Tampa’s Elite, game time 11:30 am.
The Eels Elite can’t control what is out of their hands however. They need to take care of business at home today and not take for granted a win over the Jr Blades. The Eels know the Jr Blades will come out hard and bring everything to the table so to speak. They have suffered 3 straight losses to the Eels over the past two weekends. They have dropped 4 of their last 4 games one to the hands of the Hampton Road Whalers. They have lost 11 out of their last 12. That spells hungry. That spells want. They are a proud organization who wants this win badly. They have a solid coaching staff and no doubt they have set out a strategy to defeat us in the Eels home rink. They are hoping they catch the Eels complacent. This is why the Eels have to be focused determined and equally hungry. The Eels have to put aside any selfishness or individual play and come out the way our coaches have train them from August to today. Anyone who has played for Coach Frank knows the two words he hates is complacency and entitlement. He constantly echoes “you need to come to work every day. Out work your opponent and assume nothing. You earn your wins by winning every shift and every period.”
The eye should be on the big picture. No doubt the Eels coaching of Head Coach Alex Sanchez and assistant Coach Frankie Scarpaci has sent this message loud and clear. “Play our game our system and do all of the little things. No cheating for offense and play the way they have been playing. An aggressive fore-check an equally determined denying back check and a plethora of pucks to the net. Smart and disciplined hockey.”
Regardless of what happens between DME and Tampa and for the standings for that matter, this Eels Elite team is determined and poised to take on any comers in the playoffs. This is an outstanding bunch of guys and we are proud of the ensemble we have put together this season. Coach Frank