The Eels Elite players came out a blazon. No doubt all cylinders were firing for these guys. All year long General Manager Frank Scarpaci has been instructing his coaching staff that player development is key here. I am not concerned about taking first place or second place. When that is the primary focus, we see coaches and teams tend to focus their attention on 6 forwards and maybe 4 defensemen, and perhaps one goalie. Here we are looking for Elite team to develop young men to advance to our Premier team and perhaps the NCDC. The ultimate prize is for the players to move on and play college hockey. The Elite division for our Eels organization is precisely that.: Player Development.
Indeed, this year alone we have moved up 12+ players up and down to the Premier level. Even more when you consider the practices. It is with this attention you enhance players skill set, confidence and determination. In fact, in years past the Eels typically have moved up 12+ players per year form its second team and 100% of those young men went on to become impact players on our top team and eventually advanced to the Next Level – that being college. The Eels are extremely proud of its player development model We don’t just give lip service. We put our words into action.
Coach Sears, echoed, last night the Eels Elite team put much of what they have been working on all season to work for them. It was noticeably present the passing was tape to tape, the skating was faster and the decision making was so impressive. The goaltending was spectacular and we saw similar results in the previous two games and one of our goalies Jeremy Hamerquist earned a shutout in Saturday’s win over the Daytona Racers. This team is now poised and ready to get to the Next Level in the season.
The Eels Elite team came to play commented the HockeyTV announcer. This was also echoed by the game announcer and so many people in the building. In fact, the Eels fans came out to see this very special rivalry. The Eels had over 150 people in attendance. The crowd was loud and very engaged. It made it fun. Fun for all the players families and the community.
The Eels Elite team defeated the Jr. Blades for the first time this year. The 2 clubs have 2 more games this season. In fact, the last two remaining regular season games are against the Eels and Jr. Blades. The way the standings and seeding are, there is no doubt those two remaining games will have a major consequence in the seeding. We saw last night level of competition was phenomenal. We even had the drama of a Jr. Blades’ penalty shot and the responding save by the Eels goalie denying the Jr. Blades top scorer. The players on each team drove to the net with heart and determination. The hitting was hard but clean. The rivalry was alive but professional and respectful.
The Eels managed to get on the score board first and then opened things up with a 2-0 lead. But as we saw last night, the Jr Blades did not quit and they came back with a vengeance scoring once and twice to tie the game. Ah a familiar scenario between the two clubs. The game could go into OT. The Eels coaches called a time out and refocused their players and opened things up to a 3-2 game and then sealed the game with its 4th goal winning 4-2.
This game was very exciting game for both teams. It was the precepts of playoff hockey. The Eels have about a dozen games remaining and they intend to heighten their performances in each of the remaining games preparing for the playoffs. They will do what the Eels always do however, and that is take each shift, each period and each game very serious. They will elevate their practices with that same goal in mind. One Mission: Win the first round of the Florida Division playoffs in Tampa. Then Get to Boston for the USPHL’s Nationals. You see the Eels got snowed out of the USPHL Main Showcase. So, the players and coaches want their chance to be showcased and garner visibility and get exposed in their quest for the League title.