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GAME PREVIEW: Florida Jr. Blades Vs Tampa Bay Juniors

Friday, September 18, 2020, 10:43AM

ESTERO, FL - Florida Jr. Blades Hockey is officially back today with the Premier and Elite teams taking on the Tampa Bay Juniors at the Advent Health Center. Elite will be playing first in the HockeyTV game of the week at 6:00pm followed by Premier at 8:30pm.


 The I75 rivals will be facing off to begin the USPHL season. Last year the Tampa Bay Juniors Premier team finished 2nd in the Florida Division with a record of 21-20-2. The Tampa Bay Juniors boast a high-flying offense with tons of firepower. Forward Stanley Lucas led the offensive charge last year with 31 goals and 34 assists for 65 points. It will be imperative that the Florida Jr. Blades play smart and limit turnovers in the neutral zone to keep the Tampa offense from any odd man rushes.

 Entering this game, there will be a lot of eyes on the Florida Jr. Blades after bringing in a completely new coaching staff to try to improve from last years 16-23-3 season. The new staff has been emphasizing hard work and relentlessness in practice and it will be interesting to see how that will translate come puck drop. The biggest question mark for the Jr. Blades is who will replace the offensive output they saw last year from forward Blake Tosto. Will it be scoring by committee this year or will there be a player who steps up to fill those shoes? One player to watch will be forward Andrew Frost who scored 12 goals and 18 assists for 30 points on Elite last season. Will he be able to produce at the same rate on the Premier level now?


 Last year, the Tampa Bay Junior Elite team went 25-16-3 as the second-best team in the Florida Division. Tampa was able to be the second-best team thanks to a high-powered offense boasting three forwards scoring over 40 points. The Elite team for the Florida Jr. Blades will have to look to keep their top forwards in check if they want to win.

 As for the Jr. Blades Elite team, last year was one to forget. The Jr. Blades were an undisciplined team that would take itself out of games by being on the penalty kill a vast majority of the game. This led to an unimpressive 9-29-4 season that had them missing the playoffs in last place. With the addition of new coaches Rob Weingartner and Brian Jacque and their emphasis on hard work and discipline fans can expect an improvement over last season. The question will be though, how much will this Elite team improve?

 Follow along on our website and our social media platforms for constant updates on the Florida Jr. Blades 2020-2021 USPHL season