Estero, Fla.–The Florida Jr. Blades (34-1-0-1) continued to roll with two victories over the Tampa Bay Juniors (17-18-0-2). The Jr. Blades earned four points with a 13-2 victory at the Ellenton Ice Rink and a 20-3 win at Germain Arena. Those four points clinched the division win for the Jr. Blades-the winningest team in the Empire Junior Hockey league with a .958 win percentage.
The home-and-home series began on Tampa’s ice. The resulting contest which ended 13-2 in favor of the Jr. Blades saw 10 different Junior Blades score.
“To build a strong team your recruitment process has to be strong,” says head coach/GM Tad O’Had. “We’ve recruited talented players and provided them with an environment for success.”
Recruit Marcus Ortiz joined the team midseason after playing with Odessa of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) and has made a huge impact. Ortiz’s Saturday hat trick brought his season total to 20 goals and 16 assists in 21 games.
On Sunday the series returned to Germain Arena where the Jr. Blades are 19-0-0-0. The Blades scored a season high 20 goals and out-shot the Tampa Bay Juniors 78-28. Tampa’s Aaron Wise, while splitting time with goaltending partner Kyle Gertz, absorbed the loss.
The Blades doubled their season average three first-period tallies with six unanswered goals. The offense continued to baffle Tampa net-minders as the team recored an additional seven goals in the second and third periods for a final score of 20-3.
Florida natives Troy Degler (3g,4a) and Eryn Siracusa (1g,6a) both recorded seven points in the contest. Several other Junior Blades also had multipoint efforts: J.P. Larmoyeux (6), Marcus Ortiz (5), Joshua Koerner (5), D.J. Thomas (5), Ty Lasker (5), Chaise Howard (3), James Hyatt (3), Kristian Avellanet (3), Ross Kovacs (2), Bobby Ruddle (2) and Josh Stanclift (2).
“The truly remarkable thing about our team isn’t how good we’ve been, it’s how good we can be” says associate coach Jake Laime. “We’re built to be contenders and look forward to the playoffs.”