Your Lightning Cup runner ups. The Admirals lit up the league last year as they are prone to doing. They had a league-high 38 points. They finished the regular season 19-3. They outscored their opponents 140-37 which is unheard of. They are returning quite a bit of their players too. Players that won the cup in 17-18’ and now know what it feels like to be on the losing side of things when the lights shine brightest at Amalie Arena. They scored 6.32 goals per game last year and only gave up 1.67 to their opponents. There isn’t much you can do when they start clicking on offense and the same goes for defense considering they only ALLOWED 271 shots all season. Opposing teams were only averaging 13 shots on them. They also had eight shutouts on the year. That is absolutely wild. I know Workman is a brick wall in the net but c’ mon folks, shoot the puck. Their special teams were at the top of the table which isn’t hard to believe. I really can’t seem to find any flaws in this team. From the top to the bottom this group is strong and if you paid any attention to the JV season last year, they will be strong for the next few years too.
The Durant Cougars had a solid season last year. 13-7-2 gets you second place in the division. Their season was ended in a heartbreaking yet thrilling OT game in the playoffs. The Cougars scored the sixth-most goals last year proving they were able to hang with the best of teams in this league. Averaging nearly four goals per game while only conceding only 2.48 goals per game, making them one of the toughest defenses in the entire league. It also really helps when you have a reliable player in between the pipes. Durant had four S/O’s last year, tied for second in the league. Their special teams were phenomenal too. They were 8th in PP and their kill was 2nd best in the league at 90.3%. Durant was a VERY good team last season. Yes, they graduated some big players and leaders. Here's what I see when I look at this roster. They have 10 Juniors. Largest Junior class in the league. 9 Sophomores and 8 Freshmen. Coach Com is not going to have to worry about players for quite a while. All you gotta do is put yourself in the same position as last year and go from there. I have a strong feeling they will find themselves playing meaningful hockey once the regular season has ended.
Last year West Manatee had a rough start. They went 2-5 in their first seven games but once October came around, they only lost twice more on the season. They finished 11-7-4 and 3rd in the division. You can make the argument, and I am going to. Outside of Jesuit, West Manatee was the best, the second half of the season team in the league. In their seven losses, only one was against a team that didn’t make the playoffs. If you go back and listen to the playoff preview podcast we had, I predicted this team was going to battle with Durant in their matchup and I called it was going to go to OT. They played the game of their lives in their playoff matchup against East Manatee. They were a few minutes and a few different bounces of the puck away from advancing but ultimately were eliminated. West Manatee has elite players at every position. There is simply no argument there. They are in a position to lead the league in several categories. They did not graduate that many bodies last year and almost all of their players are returning. If all goes well and they get off to a better start to the season than they did last year, this could be the year that WEST Manatee finishes top of the Modin Division.
The wolves of Newsome went 9-9-4 last year, good for 22 points. 4th in the division and just below the line to qualify for the playoffs. They graduated a player last year who I think was the best defender in the league. But players are not something Newsome has to worry about FOR A LONG TIME. This team has almost 60 players registered. SIXTY. With 19 freshmen hahaha. That is just awesome. With the roster they have, Newsome will have not one, but two JV teams this year. Combined, this hockey club will play 66 games this upcoming year. They will develop tremendously. Newsome had a strong PP last year, 5th in the league. A point of emphasis for Newsome this year has to be minimizing the penalty minutes. They averaged just over 13 penalty minutes last year PER GAME. The Wolves had some tight games last year that they fell in late. You have to assume that with less time in the box, this team would have not been on the outside looking in when it came time for the playoffs.
The Bulls did not have a season to brag about last year but have no fear. The Modin Division is tough. That’s safe to say. But here’s what I look at, the roster. I ready to go on record and say that this year and for the next (possibly two) year, Bloomingdale will be the toughest team to score on in the league. They have arguably a top 3-5 goaltender in the league and then you look at the D. Easily the most depth at the blueline on any roster. Yes, this team is young. But they had more wins last year than some playoff teams. There are certain things in life that simply cannot teach. One is height, that’s obvious. The other is chemistry. These kids have played together for a very long time and they have 2-3 years left to end their high school careers on a positive note. I have a feeling it will happen. Just like Newsome, they have a massive roster. Over forty players and will have two JV teams as well. This is going to be a make or break year for this hockey club. They have an opportunity to develop tremendously. It can’t be wasted. I know everyone thinks either of the Manatee teams will run away with the division but look at the 2019 season in the NHL. The team nobody thought would win, won.
Tag(s): Home LHSHL Western Conference Lecavalier Division Palm Harbor Seminole Berkeley Plant Bradley Division Mitchell Steinbrenner East Lake River Ridge Eastern Conference Andreychuk Division Freedom Jesuit Wiregrass Jenkins Modin Division Bloomingdale Durant West Manatee Newsome Manatee Palm Harbor Seminole Berkeley Plant Mitchell Steinbrenner East Lake River Ridge