USPHL Premier Playoffs: Florida Division Preview
By Jim DenHollander/, 02/28/20, 1:15PM EST


Florida Eels (32-9-2-1) vs. Florida Junior Blades (16-23-3-2)

The Eels have not just dominated the Florida Division this season, they have been among the best teams in the league once again and enjoyed a great deal of success at the Showcase events theyattended.

A 6-4 record down the season’s home stretch might not sound like a world-beating number but consider the fact the Eels turned in some solid and competitive games despite having clinched the division crown and playing against teams that were probably a little more desperate for the two points.

Watch for the Eels to turn up the intensity level again once the playoff puck is dropped.

Last season the Eels finished with 59 points so this year has seen an eight-point improvement from a team that was already best in the division. The Eels advanced to the National Championship tournament last season and this time around it will look to improve on a 1-1-1 showing in a tough pool.

The Junior Blades clinched the fourth and final playoff spot in the five-team Florida Division with a few games to spare, but also entertained thoughts of climbing as high as second until the last couple weeks. A 5-5 run down the stretch clinched the playoff spot but didn’t allow for any other movement.

But last season’s playoff adventure dictates not counting this team out.

Last year, the Blades picked up just 23 regular season points – 11 fewer than this season, but they saved the best for last, earning a playoff upset to get into the National Championship tournament, where they went undefeated, including a 2-2 tie with the regular season champion Metro Jets and wins against two other teams. But ultimately math kept them out of the semifinal round.

The Eels vs. Blades rivalry might be the oldest in the Premier league and no matter where they are in the standings, the games between these two teams are always fierce and usually close.

This past season the teams made the short trip to play each other eight times and seven went to the Eels. Games were closer in the first half of the season, the Eels capturing all but one, including two overtime wins while the Blades also picked up a one-goal edge. They played four more times since Valentines Day and the Eels took care of business in all four by three or more goals.

Tampa Bay Juniors (21-20-2-1) vs. Charleston Colonials (21-21-2)

An impressive run to the finish line including a couple wins against the first place Eels helped the Tampa Bay Juniors take second in the division with a one-point margin on the Charleston Colonials who ran into some tough competition down the stretch, including some crossover matches with Southeast Division teams.

The 7-3-0-0 record for the Juniors down the stretch was best in the division, both the Eels and Colonials close behind though at 6-4. Snatching second place from the Colonials is impressive and means the Juniors will have home team advantage in theirNational Championship qualifier playoff but the advantage is trimmed a bit as all games will be played at the Skatium in Fort Myers.

Last season the Juniors wrapped up league play with 35 points – good enough then for second place in the group even with 13fewer points than this season. The team learned not to underestimate an opponent though, upset in the Best of Three playoff by the Blades, despite a 10-goal win for the Juniors in the middle game.

The Colonials are an expansion team in the Southeast Division so there is no playoff history to go by.

The Juniors and Colonials squared off four times this past season. The first two at Charleston Oct. 19-20 went to the Juniors while the Colonials took both at Tampa Jan. 11-12, the second game a 5-4 overtime triumph.

Playoff Schedule— All four teams from the Florida Division will gather at the Skatium in Fort Myers this weekend for playoffs which will advance two teams to the National Championship tournament. Schedule for the Playoffs is listed below.


3 p.m. – Florida Junior Blades @ Florida Eels

6 p.m. – Charleston Colonials @ Tampa Bay Juniors


3 p.m. – Charleston Colonials @ Tampa Bay Juniors

6 p.m. – Florida Junior Blades @ Florida Eels

Monday (If necessary)

3 p.m. – Florida Junior Blades @ Florida Eels

6 p.m. – Charleston Colonials @ Tampa Bay Juniors

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