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A Weekend for the Florida Cup

10/27/2022, 11:00am EDT
By Nick Simonelli

Fort Myers, FL - The Tampa Bay Juniors over the weekend traveled to Fort Myers in hopes of winning the Florida Cup. Tampa Bay got the chance to play the Florida Junior Everblades as well as the Florida Junior Eels. Even though both elite and premier groups from Tampa Bay grabbed bids for the championship contests neither team was able to bring home hardware.

Elite’s Semi Final Contest

The Tampa Bay Juniors elite group started off their weekend with a game against the Florida Junior Everblades. The winner of this game would advance to the Florida cup championship at the elite level.

A fast start for Tampa Bay proved to be exactly what the team needed to cruise past the Blades.  The Juniors ended their first contest of the weekend with a 5-2 win over the Blades. Tyler Macindoe who’s been one of TBJ’s best players as of late got the boys going early with the first  goal of the game. Two goals thus followed in the first period by Daniel Cullen and Frederick Bonebrake who was able to get his first one of the season.

The first period told most of the tale in this game as the score was 3-0 after 20 minutes. Four minutes into the second period Ari Blatt was able to notch another goal on the board for Tampa Bay. The Blades got one of their own but coming right back was Tampa Bay as Brendan Sickles then extended the lead for Tampa to 5-1 at the end of the second. The third proved to be no story at all as the only goal was scored by the Everblades.

Tampa Bay’s Florida Cup Championship

Tampa Bay advanced to the championship against the very talented Florida Junior Eels. The Florida Junior Eels looked to be a much better team on paper, but the Juniors were able to stick with them. Sadly, the Juniors came up just short as they fell in the Florida Cup Championship 5-4.

Once again, the first period showed to be a big one for Tampa Bay. Even though the Eels had gotten the early lead, the juniors came storming back in the first with two goals of their own.

Tyler Macindoe kept up his scoring fest with notching the game at one a piece. Later in the period Daniel Cullen scored yet another goal himself. The first period ended 2-1 in favor of Tampa Bay.

The Juniors blew a tire in the second period giving up three goals and only retaining one of their own. TBJ took a total of four penalties in the second period which was tough for the team. The Eels who are normally efficient on the powerplay cashed in on two of the four powerplays they had which gave them the lead at the end of the second 4-3.

With a battle brewing in the third period TBJ was able to tie the game up at four from a shorthanded goal by Carter Trussler. Even though the fight continued throughout the third, a powerplay goal by the Eels put them up with under four minutes left. A last-minute push by TBJ wasn’t enough and the elite squad fell in the championship game.

Premier’s Semi Final Battle

Tampa Bay’s first game of the weekend on the premier side was also against the Florida Junior Everblades. The winner of this game would go on to play the Florida Junior Eels for the Florida Cup premier Championship.

The Juniors first period against the Blades was one to note. Even though TBJ led only 1-0 at the end of the first the two teams battled and showed that they weren’t going to give any space in the offensive or neutral zones. Regardless, the only goal did come on the powerplay for the Juniors by Ty Neckar.

A second period bout between the teams was way different then the first. What looked to be a low scoring game turned into a TBJ bull rush. The premier group was able to add to their lead going from 1-0 to 4-0 by the end of the second period. Three guys who were still looking for their first goals of the season were able to get on the board. Dawid Wawrzkiewicz, Tyler Cullen, and Artur Prymakou all produced big goals which ultimately put the Juniors too far out of reach.

Tampa Bay was unable to get a goal on the board in the third period, but their lead proved to be too big anyways. The Blades did their best by scoring two goals in the third, but their comeback opportunity was cut short by TBJ. The final score was 4-2 as TBJ sailed to the finals.

Premier’s Florida Cup Championship

An opportunity now laid in the balance for the Tampa Bay Juniors Premier team. a contest against the Florida Junior Eels for the Florida Cup.

Two of Florida’s finest Junior clubs battled hard in the first period. The two teams were almost identical in shots, and each had a couple decent opportunities. TBJ was unable to get one, but the Eels did which put them up 1-0 after the first 20 minutes.

The second period was a much different period for both teams. While the Eels kept the pressure on, the Juniors seemed to not have an answer. The Eels added to their lead with three more goals.

At the end of the second period the score was now 4-0. A last period effort from Tampa Bay wasn’t enough to get them on the board. The Eels would add another goal to make the game 5-0 at the final buzzer. Tampa Bay did all they could at the offensive end, but the Eels goaltending proved to be too good for Tampa Bay in the Florida Cup Championship.

Takeaways

Looking back at the weekend games for both elite and premier one thing that stood out was that both teams really fought hard. Even though neither team left Fort Myers with a trophy you can see both teams didn’t lay down against either opponent they played. The premier final game wasn’t as close as people were expecting, but the guys pushed till the very last second. Another thing to be said was the team play from both levels. Everyone on both teams was able to get involved which was good to see.

Ultimately the weekend was a huge success for either team, but both groups will look to regroup against the Eels in particular this coming Friday as they face off once again.

 

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