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WICHITA, Kan. – Welcome to the final weekend of the 2017-18 ECHL regular season! As we enter the final three days of the campaign, there are still five playoff positions and two division titles up for grabs.

Congratulations to the Florida Everblades, who clinched the Brabham Cup championship Thursday night with a 5-1 win over the Jacksonville Icemen. This is the third regular-season points championship for the Everblades (2000, ’09) and is the second time in franchise history the ‘Blades have won more than 50 games in a regular season (1999-00, 53 wins).  With the win, the Everblades will have home-ice throughout the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs, as long as they play.

I’ll have more on the success of Brabham Cup winners in the playoffs a little later.

Before we start our breakdowns, a huge thanks to our statistician Joe Alsman for providing the stats for this piece. Joe provides our team with a wealth of statistical information during the season, and it’s great to have him as part of Team Sin Bin.

Magic numbers represent the number of “points” needed to clinch. Of which these can be garnered in any combination. The ultimate is a win by a team in front combined with a regulation loss by a team behind. That gains four points for the team ahead. Combinations of wins/losses can result in 4, 3, 2, 1, or no points gained.

Win – Regulation Loss: 4 point gain
Win – OT/SO Loss: 3 point gain
Win – Win: 2 point gain
OT/SO Loss – Regulation Loss: 1 point gain
Anything else is 0 points gained.

Let’s get it going!

Eastern Conference

NORTH DIVISION

Teams who have clinched: Manchester Monarchs, Adirondack Thunder, Reading Royals

  • Manchester maintains a one-point lead on the Adirondack Thunder in the race for the North Division crown. Their magic number to clinch the division is three and they can clinch the division with a win tonight over the Adirondack Thunder.
  • Adirondack’s magic number for clinching home-ice in the first round is three, too. They can sew that up with a win and a Reading loss in regulation.
  • Reading’s magic number for clinching the third seed is one. They can get that accomplished by a win in regulation or by taking their game against Norfolk to overtime.
  • Worcester can clinch their first-ever Kelly Cup Playoff berth tonight if Wheeling loses in regulation.

SOUTH DIVISION

Teams who have clinched: Florida Everblades, South Carolina Stingrays, Orlando Solar Bears, Atlanta Gladiators

  • Florida clinched the South Division title Tuesday night with a win in overtime over the Stingrays, which means the matchups in the South Division Semis are as follows:

#1 seed Florida Everblades vs. #4 seed Atlanta Gladiators
#2 seed South Carolina Stingrays vs. #3 seed Orlando Solar Bears

Western Conference

CENTRAL DIVISION

Teams who have clinched: Toledo Walleye, Fort Wayne Komets

  • Toledo has wrapped up the Central Division title and will have home-ice throughout the Western Conference playoffs.
  • Fort Wayne will be the two-seed and have home-ice in the opening round.
  • Cincinnati will clinch a playoff berth tonight with a win, if Kalamazoo loses in regulation OR if the Cyclones lose in an overtime or shootout and Kalamazoo loses in any fashion
  • Indy now holds the fourth-seed, but by one point over the Kalamazoo Wings. Their magic number for clinching their first-ever playoff berth is five.
    • It is likely the battle for the final playoff spot comes down to the Wings/Fuel game Sunday afternoon in Indianapolis.
  • For the Kansas City Mavericks to make the playoffs, they will need both Kalamazoo and Indy to go winless up to Sunday, then for the Wings to win. Indy is allowed one overtime loss, while Kalamazoo cannot go past 60 minutes. BUT, if Kalamazoo gets a point Friday or Saturday the Mavs will be eliminated. (H/T to Mavericks Communications Director Brandon Weiss for that info)

MOUNTAIN DIVISION

Teams who have clinched: Colorado Eagles, Idaho Steelheads

  • Colorado has clinched the Mountain Division title
  • Colorado and Idaho will have home-ice in the opening round of the playoffs.
  • Wichita can clinch their first-ever Kelly Cup Playoff berth with a win over the Eagles, if Tulsa loses in regulation OR if Wichita loses in an overtime/shootout and Tulsa loses in any fashion
    • Wichita’s magic number for clinching third over Allen is at four. They can clinch it with a win tonight and an Allen loss in regulation.
  • Allen can punch their playoff ticket with a win over Idaho, if Tulsa loses in regulation OR if Allen loses in an overtime/shootout and Tulsa loses in any fashion.

Teams Eliminated:

Brampton Beast
Greenville Swamp Rabbits
Norfolk Admirals
Jacksonville Icemen
Quad City Mallards
Utah Grizzlies
Rapid City Rush

Current Playoff Bracket

Here is the bracket for the Kelly Cup Playoffs, if they were to start today:

Does Clinching the Brabham Cup Mean Kelly Cup Playoff Success?

As we mentioned above, the Florida Everblades won the regular-season points championship last night in emphatic fashion over the Jacksonville Icemen.

The importance of winning the Brabham Cup is that it gives the winner home-ice advantage throughout every round of the playoffs for as long as they are in.

Looking back to 2006-07, the winners of the Brabham Cup have gone on to win the Kelly Cup three times.

YEAR TEAM PLAYOFF RESULT
2006-07 Las Vegas Wranglers Lost in Conference Semis to Idaho
2007-08 Cincinnati Cyclones WON KELLY CUP
2008-09 Florida Everblades Lost in South Division Finals to SC
2009-10 Idaho Steelheads Lost in Kelly Cup Finals to Cincinnati
2010-11 Alaska Aces WON KELLY CUP
2011-12 Alaska Aces Lost in Conference Finals to Las Vegas
2012-13 Alaska Aces Lost in Conference Semis to Stockton
2013-14 Alaska Aces WON KELLY CUP
2014-15 Toledo Walleye Lost in Conference Finals to SC
2015-16 Missouri Mavericks Lost in Conference Semis to Allen
2016-17 Toledo Walleye Lost in Conference Finals to Colorado
2017-18 Florida Everblades ???

It looks to be an action-packed weekend full of thrilling hockey as the push to the playoffs reaches its conclusion. We’ll be there to tell you all about it!

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