Ellbogen burning for 2014 repeat

One of the more impressive displays in local hockey this year came from the Cayman Hot Sauce Flames.

After years of mediocrity, the Flames rose up and dominated the 2013 fall national inline hockey league, culminating their season with a Cherry Cup finals victory. At the heart of Cayman Hot Sauce’s success was a juggernaut offense featuring Evan Ellbogen. The Montreal native said next year sets up well for a repeat.

“Winning the Cherry Cup my first season in the league was a lot of fun and means a lot,” Ellbogen said. “The players on my team are a great group of guys, and I think that’s what made the difference this season. Everyone played their part from the start of the season to game two of the finals.

“I think we have a strong chance to repeat next season. Right now, we are taking the much-needed rest and trying to enjoy the holidays. When we come back, we will have the same core players as well as a new addition to our team.”

Ellbogen won the scoring title with 41 goals as the Flames were a league-best 9-2-1. In the finals, Cayman Hot Sauce swept the Deloitte Sharks – the 2012 champions – who were also second in the regular season at 8-2-3. There were a number of talents on display for both squads, such as Flames goalie Jeremy Olynik and teammates Chris Anton and Jason Windsor, with Deloitte featuring Joe Jewitt, Tim Courtis and goalie Scott Hughes.

Ellbogen said while he garnered much of the focus for his scoring exploits, a number of players contributed to the 2013 triumph.

“I think our team was so successful because we are very well balanced. We have some young players like Jagger Hope, who really stepped up this season with his strong play, as well as more veteran players like Norm Klein and Gordon Mattison, who exceeded their expectations. Jeremy was a wall in net for us this season. That’s what gave us the opportunity to win the championship this year.

“As for my success this season, I brought a new style of play to the team and added some scoring. There are many players that helped me achieve my scoring title like Mike Bowden – who moves the puck so well – and Rob Seward who is always in the right spot.”