The defending champs. The Steinbrenner Warriors were the lone “Warriors” to win a major championship this year thanks to The Toronto Raptors. Steinbrenner finished the year 17-2-3 which is wild but the fact they did it in the toughest, yes, the TOUGHEST division in the league is what was the most impressive thing all year. They were at the top of the leaderboard in nearly every statistical category last year and folks, the numbers paint an accurate picture. 3rd in PK. 4th in PP. 3rd in goals-per-game. 1st in goals allowed. They gave up 1.67 goals a game last year. HOW IS THAT A THING. Here’s something to consider though. They graduated 9 seniors last year. That isn’t something that isn’t easy to replace. But luckily for the Warriors, they have Weinstock and Strate to not only replace some of the scoring but be the leaders of the team. Then you look at the blue line with Bonavita, Prasanna, and Preast. Guys that won the league, won the state and represented our league at the national level at such a young age. Anything short of a repeating all three of those things will be considered a disappointing season IMO.
Land O’ Lakes
If you haven’t heard, we have a new squad in this league. The Gators of Land O’ Lakes are looking forward to their inaugural season in the LHSHL. This team is comprised of some old faces who have played or coached in the league in previous years and of course some new faces. We’re all going to find out what this team is made of soon. They have been placed in the most competitive div. in the league.
Best of luck to LOL in their first year and Welcome to the LHSHL
The Eagles finished 14-6-2 last season with 30 points. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. This is the toughest division in the league. 30 points will get you second place in the Bradley Division where in others it will get you first place with a first-round bye. Two seasons ago East Lake was in the cup final and last year they were bounced in the first round by River Ridge. The Eagles have a tough task this year in replacing not just the goals or points, but the captaincy of Demitri Samarkos. The same goes for his twin brother Anthony who carried the way in net for the past few years. But I will say this. Jackson Gentry only let in 12 goals last year. He went 5-1 last year in net with 2 SO and an .870 SV%. EL finished 5th in scoring last year and 3rd in PP. The defense held tight all year by only giving up three goals a game. This was a VERY good team last year and I look forward to seeing what they have in store for this year. It’s also great when you have 16 freshmen on your roster. The second-largest freshmen class in the league.
The Knights of the River Ridge had an impressive showing in 18-19. 12-7-3 with 27 points which gets you third place in the division and got them a matchup previously mentioned against East Lake. People thought River Ridge was going to get run clocked by East Lake. That was simply untrue. I learned one thing from watching River Ridge and the entire Bradley Division. The game isn’t over until the clock hits triple zeros. Easily the most exciting place on a Friday night was TBSA. When you have a coach that wears a cowboy hat routinely, you always have a chance to win. RR had statistically the worst PP in the league last year and was 4th in PK so that evens it out a bit. Ultimately, they advanced to the playoffs and the second round which in my personal record book means the Knights had a valiant campaign in 18-19 only to have their season ended by the champs, Steinbrenner. They graduated some key players from all three positions last year, but I have a feeling they will be back in the dance after their 22 games are over.
For the first time in a long time, Mitchell found themselves outside looking in when the regular season ended. 7-13-2 was how they finished. I said at the time and I am saying it now. Mitchell was the best team to not to make the dance last year. Why you might ask? ..drum roll, please.. BECAUSE THIS IS THE TOUGHEST DIVISION IN THE LEAGUE. 17 points were what they finished with and in other divisions that will get you in the playoffs but not this one. Even though they finished middle of the table in almost every statistical category, they still had a solid year. There were games when the Mustang’s offense was tape to tape passing all over the ice, tearing teams apart and there were games where they came out flat. It happens. The biggest issue I see from last year that will need to be addressed this year is the goal differential. Not the easiest fix to make but if you want to make the playoffs, you have got to stop your opponent from scoring.
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