USPHL Elite National Championships Presented By GMU Sport Team Preview: Florida Eels
By The Dan K Show / USPHL.com , 03/16/22, 8:45PM EDT
They say “defense wins championships,” and the Florida Eels Elite side brings plenty of defense with them to the USPHL National Championships Presented by GMU Sport.
This season, the Eels have won via the shutout 13 different times with netminders Jacob Mork and Matthew Shoer leading the way – and boy did they ever, finishing 1-2 in every major goaltending category in the Elite. Not surprisingly, the Eels also finished with the No. 1 overall seed in the entire USPHL Elite postseason.
Owner/GM Frank Scarpaci discussed the youth amongst his Elite roster with the team boasting 18 rookies this season. With this youthful exuberance comes speed, skill and a surprising ability to avoid taking penalties, a problem that plagues many young squads.
“We have a young team, so we preach to the boys all the time about not getting too excited,” said Scarpaci. “We will be working on the penalty kill and power play leading up to Nationals. As we all know, games against good teams are usually decided on special teams.”
You would think leading into the USPHL National Championships that the Eels would be all business, but Frank Scarpaci and his staff believe in keeping the boys loose and having fun even this time of year.
“Team dinners, volleyball, board games, movie nights – whatever we can do to not overly tax our guys leading up to Nationals, we are going to do,” Scarpaci added.
After a dominating season for the Florida Eels Elite which leaves them on the precipice of a Championship run, the organization was sure to remind us of the true victory to be had in Junior Hockey.
“Our DNA is in the 300+ advancements for our players in our existence. That is why we exist, that is why we have our program,” said Frank Scarpaci. “The Eels are sure to continue that advancement success with both their squads at the Elite and Premier advancing to Nationals.”
As an organization that has seen a multitude of players from Ukraine take the ice in the Eels Green, Black and Yellow, Frank Scarpaci and his entire organization wanted to ensure they made their support for all in Ukraine known.
“The team, the players, the coaches, everyone reaches out to our former players back in the Ukraine at home every chance they get,” said Scarpaci. “This won’t win us hockey games, but there are more important things going on in the world and this team gets it.”
Regular Season: 36-8-0-0, 72 points
Round Robin Schedule
All Games At Cyclones Arena, Hudson, N.H.
All Times EST
Game 1: Thursday, March 24, vs. Rockets Hockey Club, 10:30 a.m.
Game 2: Friday, March 25, vs. Richmond Generals, 8 a.m.
Game 3: Saturday, March 26, vs. Islanders Hockey Club, 10:30 a.m.
• The Eels earned 12 more points as the home team than on the road (42-30), though they also played two more home games than road.
• The Eels outscored their opponents by better than a 2:1 ratio overall (200-92) as well as in their first and third period totals.
• Florida was third in goals for (4.65), second in goals against (2.14), and first in shots on goal for (40.14).
• Florida had the wins in games when they were tied after the first period with 13 (they were 13-1-0-0 in that situation). Their 31 wins when outshooting opponents were first outright.
• Florida had the best record in two-goal decisions of any Elite team (9-1-0-0).
• The Eels went to the penalty box for only three minors for a league-low 3.00 minutes per game in the pre-Nationals postseason.
• Florida was also the only team to not allow a single goal in the playoffs as of yet. Both Mork and Schoer each have one shutout.
• Florida was tied with the WBS Knights for most goals in any of the three periods, with 12 total in their two playoff games.
• The Eels also out-shot the Atlanta Mad Hatters with a 40-10 total in the second periods of their games.
• The Eels’ Jake Dominique takes a five-game assist streak, with seven helpers in that stretch, into the playoffs.
• Florida’s goaltenders were 1-2 in every major category. In goals-against average, Matthew Schoer and Jacob Mork had marks of 1.25 and 1.79. Their .958 and .941 save percentages were also the league’s two best, along with their shutout totals of six and five, respectively. Mork was the leader in wins at 17.
• Braeden Bzovey was third in power play goals with seven. He and Atlanta’s Matthew Whelton are two of only five defensemen in the league with a shootout goal.
• Kaleb Harrop has 8-7-15 over his last 10 total regular season and playoff games.
• Noah Trathen, who had six points in two games after posting 15 points in 10 regular season games, leads the Eels in postseason scoring.
• Due to their two shutouts against Atlanta, Mork and Schoer are leading the Elite postseason with 1.000 save percentages and 0.00 goals against average.