We are three weeks from the end of the regular season and the races for playoff spots are very tight.
Before we get into the races in each division, here is a look at the teams that have already clinched berths in the 2015 Kelly Cup Playoffs:
- Toledo Walleye (North)
- Fort Wayne Komets (North)
- Florida Everblades (East)
- Allen Americans (Central)
- Idaho Steelheads (Pacific)
The Reading Royals would become the 6th team to clinch a berth in the playoffs if Elmira loses in regulation tonight. The Jackals host the Wheeling Nailers.
Allen would lock up the Central Division title tonight with a win or a loss by Tulsa.
Now, onto those division races.
In the North, the race is for the fourth spot. Wheeling currently holds the spot with 62 points, Cincinnati (60pts) and Indy (59pts) are within three points. Wheeling also holds a game-in-hand on Cincinnati and two games-in-hand on Indy. Wheeling and Cincinnati play each other next Sunday, while Indy and Cincinnati play on April 3rd. Both those matchups could play a pivotal role in deciding who gets the final spot.
The Orlando Solar Bears currently hold the fourth playoff position in the East division. At the start of play Saturday, two teams are chasing the Solar Bears; the Greenville Road Warriors and Elmira Jackals. The Solar Bears and Road Warriors play only one more time (March 26 @Greenville,) while Elmira will not play Greenville and Orlando the rest of the regular season.
The tightest race in the entire ECHL resides in the Central Division, where four teams are fighting for the remaining three spots. Rapid City (69 pts,) Quad City (69 pts,) Tulsa (68 pts) and Wichita (68 pts) are the teams jockeying for position. Given the CHL’s scheduling adopted this season by the ECHL during the consolidation, these teams will face each other numerous times down the stretch. Sufficed to say, this race will come down to the final day of the season.
Finally, the race in the Pacific division is down to the Utah Grizzlies and defending Kelly Cup champion, Alaska Aces. Utah currently holds a 5-point lead, but the Aces hold two games-in-hand. The Aces and Grizzlies will play two more times, on April 3rd and 4th at Maverik Center.
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