National Conference Has Two Kelly Cup Playoffs Spots Left
National Conference Has Two Kelly Cup Playoffs Spots Left
Tuesday, Apr. 1st, 2008
The battle for the last two spots in the Kelly Cup Playoffs has come down to the last week of the regular season between Bakersfield, Phoenix and Stockton.
The Condors have 57 points (24-36-9), which gives them a two-point lead over Stockton (26-39-3) and Phoenix (23-37-9). Bakersfield has reached the postseason each of the last three years while the Thunder and RoadRunners are both trying to make their second straight postseason appearance.
Bakersfield hosts Utah on Monday and plays at Phoenix on Thursday and at Las Vegas on Friday. The Condors have won their last two games with Utah and are 3-3-0 in the season series with the Grizzlies while it won its last meeting with Las Vegas to improve to 1-2-0 on the road and 3-5-1 overall this year against the Wranglers.
The RoadRunners host Las Vegas on Tuesday and Bakersfield on Thursday before playing at Las Vegas on Saturday. Phoenix won the last meeting to improve to 2-1-0 at home and 4-3-0 overall against Bakersfield while the RoadRunners are 1-8-1 against Las Vegas.
Stockton plays at Fresno on Tuesday before visiting Utah on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The Thunder won the last meeting to improve to 4-5-0 this season against Fresno while they are 1-1-1 at Utah and 1-4-1 overall this year against the Grizzlies.
Victoria leads the West Division with 87 points (40-22-7) which is one point ahead of Idaho (38-22-10) and two points in front of Alaska (40-24-5). Victoria is in the postseason for the second straight season while Idaho and Alaska have never missed the Kelly Cup Playoffs since joining the ECHL as expansion teams in 2003-04. The Steelheads won the Kelly Cup in 2004 and 2007 while Alaska won the title in 2006 and reached the conference finals in 2005 and 2007.
The winner of the division will be seeded second for the Kelly Cup Playoffs as none of the three can finish higher than Las Vegas which has clinched the conference with 102 points (45-12-12). The remaining six teams are seeded third through eighth in order of points. Teams are not re-seeded in the National Conference and all series will be best-of-seven games.
Victoria hosts Alaska on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday while Idaho hosts Fresno on Friday and Saturday. Victoria won the last meeting to improve to 4-3-2 against the Aces, including 1-0-2 at home. Alaska is 2-0-1 on the road and 5-4-0 overall this year against the Salmon Kings. Fresno is 3-0-0 at Idaho and 6-0-0 overall this season against the Steelheads.
North Division Set For Kelly Cup Playoffs
The field in the North Division for the Kelly Cup Playoffs is set as Johnstown and Dayton have clinched the final two berths. Johnstown has 73 points (34-30-5) and can clinch fourth place with one point while Dayton has 67 points (28-30-11) and is in fifth place.
The Chiefs are in the postseason for the third straight year for the first time since advancing in 2000, 2001 and 2002 while the Bombers are making back-to-back Kelly Cup Playoffs appearances for the first time since 2001 and 2002.
Cincinnati is 53-11-5 and with 111 points has clinched the division title to secure home ice throughout the division playoffs. The winner of the best-of-three series between Dayton and Johnstown will advance to meet Cincinnati in a best-of-seven Division Semifinals series.
The other Division Semifinals will be between Elmira and Reading. Elmira has 87 points (40-22-7) and can clinch second place with one point while Reading has 83 points (38-25-7) and is in third place. The winners advance to the best-of-seven Division Finals with the winner advancing to the American Conference Finals to meet the winner of the South Division in a best-of-seven series.
Elmira, which is in its first season in the ECHL, will host Trenton on Wednesday and Wheeling on Saturday while traveling to Trenton on Friday. Reading, which is in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the fourth time in the last five years, hosts Johnstown on Wednesday and Cincinnati on Friday.
South Division Tightens Up With Two Teams Tied For Second
Texas is 52-7-11 and with 115 points has clinched the South Division and home ice throughout the division playoffs. The next seven teams will be seeded second through eighth in order of points. Teams will be re-seeded according to the same criteria in the Division Semifinals and the Division Finals. The South Division playoff series will all be best-of-five games.
South Carolina (44-22-3) and Gwinnett (43-21-5) are tied for second place with 91 points. The Stingrays, however, would be seeded second because they have more wins.
South Carolina, which is in the postseason for an ECHL record 14th time in 15 seasons, visits Augusta on Tuesday and Saturday and Charlotte on Friday. The Stingrays have won the last two meetings to improve to 5-3-0 in the season series with Augusta while they are 5-3-1 overall and 2-1-1 on the road against Charlotte this year.
In the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the fifth time in five seasons since moving to Georgia, the Gladiators host Charlotte on Tuesday and Saturday and plays at Columbia on Friday. Gwinnett is 2-0-0 at home and 4-2-1 overall against the Checkers this season and is 4-0-0 on the road and 7-0-1 overall against the Inferno this year.
Florida is in fourth place with 80 points (36-25-8) and needs one point to clinch home ice for the first round. The Everblades host Pensacola on Tuesday and Texas on Friday and Saturday. Florida is 3-1-0 at home and 6-1-3 overall this season against the Ice Pilots and is 0-1-2 at home and 1-5-2 overall against the Wildcatters this year.
Charlotte (33-28-7) and Columbia (31-28-11) are tied for fifth place with 73 points while Augusta is in seventh place with 69 points (32-33-5).
Charlotte plays at Gwinnett on Tuesday and Saturday and hosts Columbia on Thursday and South Carolina on Friday. The Checkers, who are 2-1-1 at home and 4-3-2 overall against South Carolina this season, are in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the fourth straight year which is the most consecutive appearances since they advanced to the postseason in each of their first five seasons from 1994-98.
Columbia, which returns to the postseason for the first time since 2005, visits Charlotte on Thursday and hosts Gwinnett on Friday. The Inferno has won the last two meetings with Charlotte to improve to 4-3-2 overall in the season series.
Augusta is in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the third season in a row which ties the record for consecutive appearances set by the Lynx in their first three seasons.
Returning after missing two seasons because of Hurricane Katrina, Mississippi is making its fifth straight Kelly Cup Playoffs appearance having reached the conference finals in 2002 and 2003. The Sea Wolves will face Texas in the first round.
How Does The ECHL Break Ties?
If Two Teams Tie
1. Wins, regular season
2. Points, head-to-head
3. Wins, head-to-head
4. Goal differential, head-to-head
5. Winning percentage, division (if tied teams are from same division; if not, skip to 6)
6. Winning percentage, conference
7. Goals for, regular season
8. Goals against, regular season
9. Coin toss
If Three or More Teams Tie
Note: When two teams remain after third or other teams are eliminated during any step below, the tiebreaker reverts to Step 1 of the two-team format.
1. Wins, regular season
2. Winning percentage, games between the teams
3. Goal differential, games between the teams
4. Winning percentage, division
5. Winning percentage, conference
6. Goals for, regular season
7. Goals against, regular season
8. Coin toss
Gladiators’ Stoesz Breaks Penalty Minutes Record
Myles Stoesz of Gwinnett set the ECHL record for most penalty minutes in a game when he was assessed 63 penalty minutes on Mar. 28 at Florida.
Stoesz broke the record of 62 penalty minutes set by Greg Capson of Greensboro on Feb. 23, 1993 and tied by Ron Majic of Hampton Roads on Feb. 24, 1995.
Brett Angel of Phoenix was assessed 57 penalty minutes on Feb. 16 at Idaho which ties him for the fourth-most penalty minutes with Jason Hamilton of Greenville, who had 57 penalty minutes on Nov. 27, 1998.
Gwinnett’s Kowalski, Johnstown’s Nie Look For 30 Wins
In each of the last 14 ECHL seasons there has been a goaltender who has won 30 games and 43 times in league history there has been a 30-game winner.
Craig Kowalski of Gwinnett leads the ECHL with 29 wins and Ryan Nie of Johnstown is second with 28 wins.
Gwinnett hosts Charlotte on Tuesday and Saturday and visits Columbia on Friday while Johnstown plays at Reading on Wednesday and at Dayton on Saturday while hosting Wheeling on Friday.
Nie, who leads the league with 48 games and 2,764 minutes, has broken the Chiefs record of 25 wins set by Stan "Smokey" Reddick in 1991-92 and tied by Frederic Deschenes in 2001-02.
Kowalski, who is third in the league with a goals-against average of 2.29 and a save percentage of .923, needs three wins to tie the Gladiators record held by Sean Fields, who won 32 games in 2005-06.
Cyclones’ Desharnais Reaches 100 Points
Cincinnati rookie David Desharnais became the 62nd player in ECHL history to reach 100 points when he registered an assist on Mar. 30 at Reading.
It is the first time since 2001-02 and 2002-03 that the ECHL has had back-to-back seasons with a 100-point scorer as Brad Schell of Gwinnett led the league in 2006-07 with 85 assists and 110 points.
Desharnais, who has a league-leading 73 assists, has three games remaining as the Cyclones will play at Dayton on Tuesday, at Reading on Friday and at Trenton on Saturday. He has already broken the team record of 75 points by Sheldon Gorski in 1997-98 and Matt Noga in 2002-03 and the club mark of 51 assists by Noga in 2002-03.
Desharnais set the ECHL record with an assist in 20 consecutive games from Jan. 5-Feb. 9 and he had the fourth-longest scoring streak in league history with 27 games from Dec. 31, 2007-Mar. 12, 2008.
Cincinnati Has Record-Setting Crowd To Help Increase Attendance
A record-setting crowd in Cincinnati combined with the largest crowd of the year in Augusta and sellouts in Alaska, Florida and Stockton helped the ECHL increase its attendance for the eighth week in a row.
The league has surpassed 3.5 million fans for the 13th consecutive season, and with an average of 4,126 per game is on pace to exceed 3.7 million fans.
Cincinnati had a sellout crowd of 9,615 for its last home game on Mar. 28, breaking the team record of 7,584 on Nov. 29, 2002. The Cyclones have raised their average attendance by 36.8 percent from a year ago, which is the largest increase of the nine teams that have raised their average. Victoria has raised its average by 11.9 percent while Augusta is up 10.4 percent after having 5,452 on Mar. 29 and Mississippi is up by 9.6 percent.
Alaska had its second sellout of the season with a team record tying 6,451 on Mar. 29. It is the 20th regular season sellout for the Aces and the seventh time that they have had a crowd of 6,451 in the regular season.
Florida had its fifth sellout of the year with 7,284 on Mar. 29 to increase its average to 5,965 per game. The Everblades, who have three home games remaining, led the league in attendance for five straight years from 2000-05 and have not averaged less than 6,200 in their nine seasons.
Stockton had its fourth sellout of the season and the 12th in three seasons with 9,737 on Mar. 29 to finish first in the league with 239,337 fans and an average of 6,648 per game. The Thunder are the first team other than Florida to lead the ECHL in attendance three years in a row since Louisiana from 1995-99.
Bakersfield had more than 18,700 fans for three games to raise its average to 5,629 which is fifth in the league while Reading drew over 18,400 for three games to raise its average to 5,450 which is sixth. Texas had their second-largest crowd of the year with 4,270 on Mar. 29.
There have been 45 sellouts this season, which is the most in the last five seasons and the fourth time in the last five years that there have been at least 40 sellouts. Elmira leads the league with 13 sellouts followed by Charlotte with 11 sellouts, Idaho with eight sellouts and Florida with five sellouts.
Seven teams have set the record for their largest crowd while Alaska has tied its record for the 10th time. The teams that set records for crowds are Bakersfield (8,895 on Nov. 24, 2007), Charlotte (12,256 on Feb. 23), Cincinnati (9,615 on Mar. 28, 2008), Elmira (4,187 on Nov. 9, 2007), Idaho (5,631 on Jan. 16), Johnstown (4,238 on Nov. 30, 2007) and South Carolina (10,565 on Jan. 19).
Texas Leads Cincinnati By Four In Brabham Cup Race
Entering the final week of the regular season, Texas has 115 points (52-7-11) and a four-point lead over Cincinnati (53-11-5) in the race for the Brabham Cup. The Wildcatters have the second-highest point total in ECHL history while the Cyclones have the fifth-most points ever. The league record is 116 points by Louisiana in 2001-02 while the third-highest is 113 points by Alaska in 2005-06 and the fourth-highest is 112 by Las Vegas in 2005-06.
Cincinnati has tied the ECHL record for second-most wins set by Florida in 1999-2000 and tied by Alaska and Las Vegas in 2005-06. Texas has the sixth-most wins in league history. The ECHL record for wins is 56 by Louisiana in 2001-02.
Texas has 26 road wins tying the ECHL record set by Louisiana in 2001-02. Cincinnati has 24 road wins which is one shy of the record for third-most road wins held by Florida (1999-2000 and 2005-06), Trenton (2000-01), Pensacola (2004-05) and Las Vegas (2005-06). The Cyclones have 29 home wins which ties the league record for fourth-most home wins held by Pee Dee (1998-99), Toledo (2002-03) and Gwinnett (2005-06).
Texas has two games remaining and will play at Florida on Friday and Saturday. The Wildcatters have won the last seven meetings with the Everblades and are 3-0-0 with two overtime wins at Florida and 7-0-1 overall in the season series.
Cincinnati has three games remaining and will play at Dayton on Tuesday, at Reading on Friday and at Trenton on Saturday. The Cyclones are 3-1-1 at Dayton and 7-3-1 overall in the season series with the Bombers, and have won the last four meetings with Reading to improve to 3-1-0 on the road and 7-1-1 overall in the season series with the Royals. Cincinnati is 4-0-0 at Trenton and 7-2-0 overall in the season series with the Devils.
Three times in ECHL history a team has won 50 games, but did not win the Brabham Cup: Gwinnett and Las Vegas in 2005-06 and Wheeling in 2003-04.
The Brabham Cup is named in recognition of Henry Brabham, who founded the ECHL in 1988-89 with five teams in four states. Brabham, who was the first inductee into the ECHL Hall of Fame, owned three of the original five teams, including the legendary Johnstown Chiefs who are celebrating their 20th season in 2007-08. The dedication of the Virginia businessman was crucial to the league surviving to span from coast-to-coast while advancing 350 players and countless coaches, on-ice officials and front office personnel to the National Hockey League.
Las Vegas has 102 points (45-12-12) and is the first team in ECHL history to surpass 100 points three seasons in a row. The Wranglers won the Brabham Cup in 2006-07 with 106 points after finishing second in 2005-06 with 112 points. The only other teams to score 100 points in back-to-back seasons are Alaska and Trenton. Trenton won the Brabham Cup in 2000-01 with 104 points and finished second in 2001-02 with 104 points while Alaska finished second in 2006-07 with 105 points after finishing first in 2005-06 with 113 points.
Texas has seven regulation losses while Cincinnati has 11 and Las Vegas has 12. The ECHL record for fewest losses is 11 by Richmond (1995-96) while the second-fewest losses is 12 by Alaska (2005-06) and Las Vegas (2006-07) and the fourth-fewest is 13 by Knoxville (1990-91), San Diego (2003-04) and Las Vegas (2005-06).
Texas had three home losses, which is one shy of the league record of two home losses by Louisiana (2001-02). Cincinnati had four home losses, which ties the record for third-fewest losses. The Cyclones are the ninth team to have four home losses and the first since Gwinnett and Alaska in 2005-06.
Texas has four road losses which is one less than the league record for fewest road losses by Las Vegas which had five road losses in 2006-07. Las Vegas and Cincinnati each have seven road losses tying the record for fourth-fewest road losses set by Peoria (2003-04) and tied by Bakersfield (2006-07).
The Cyclones set the ECHL record with 17 wins in a row from Jan. 16-29, breaking the record of 14 games by Knoxville from Dec. 28, 1993-Jan. 29, 1994 and Louisiana from Nov. 23-Dec. 22, 2001, and had an ECHL season high and team record 14-game home winning streak from Jan. 5-Mar. 12.
Most Points, Season
1. Louisiana 116 2001-02
2. Texas 115 2007-08
3. Alaska 113 2005-06
4. Las Vegas 112 2005-06
5. Cincinnati 111 2007-08
Most Wins, Season
1. Louisiana 56 2001-02 Won Brabham Cup
2. Cincinnati 53 2007-08 TBD
Alaska 53 2005-06 Won Brabham Cup
Las Vegas 53 2005-06
Florida 53 1999-2000 Won Brabham Cup
6. Texas 52 2007-08 TBD
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