We can count the remaining weekends of the ECHL regular season on one hand…with just four weekends left before the 2016-17 campaign comes to a close.
Two teams can punch their ticket to the Kelly Cup Playoffs tonight, while one more is close to joining the field of 16.
Let’s get into our conference breakdowns of where this week’s action left the race for the playoffs.
In the Eastern Conference:
- Florida can become their first eastern conference team to clinch a playoff berth with a win AND a Cincinnati loss
- Cincinnati, Orlando & South Carolina are all separated by three points in the race for spots 3-5 in the south division.
- Orlando may end up being the odd team out, playing playoff-bound teams the rest of the way, including Florida five times.
- Cincinnati plays just two games against South Division teams the remainder of the season and have just three more home games. This season on the road, the Cyclones have a 12-18-0-0 record.
- South Carolina has the “easiest” schedule remaining, playing Atlanta and Indy (two non-playoff teams) a combined six times.
- In the North Division, four teams (Reading, Brampton, Manchester, Adirondack) are separated by four points.
- Wheeling plays at Adirondack in a crucial two-game set starting tonight. The Nailers are six points back of the Thunder for the final playoff spot in the division and should they lose these two games, it will likely mean the playoff field is set in the division.
- Norfolk and Elmira have been eliminated from playoff contention in the Eastern Conference.
In the Western Conference:
- Colorado will become the third western conference team to clinch a playoff berth with either a win, OT/SO loss or if Missouri loses
- Allen’s magic number to clinch a playoff berth is down to five and the earliest they can clinch a playoff berth is tomorrow night.
- Idaho appears destined for the third seed in the division semifinal round, as they hold an eight-point lead over the Alaska Aces.
- Speaking of Alaska, they have a four-point cushion on the Utah Grizzlies and a five-point lead on the Missouri Mavericks in the race for the fourth playoff position.
- In the Central Division, Quad City holds a two-point lead over the Kalamazoo Wings for third place in the division.
- The Mallards magic number for clinching a playoff berth is eight, while the Wings’ magic number is 10.
- Indy and Wichita have been eliminated from playoff contention, while Rapid City’s “tragic number” is down to 5.
Here is how the bracket shakes out if the playoffs started today. Teams who have clinched berths are represented by an “X” next to their seeding.
The Race for the Brabham Cup:
Four teams remain in contention for the ECHL regular season championship. Here is a look at the standings entering action on Friday:
|Toledo Walleye||44-14-2-1 (91 pts)||11 (8H, 3A)|
|Colorado Eagles||41-15-2-3 (89 pts)||11 (3H, 8A)|
|Florida Everblades||40-15-2-3 (85 pts)||12 (5H, 7A)|
|Allen Americans||39-17-3-2 (83 pts)||11 (8H, 3A)|
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.
Stay with thesinbin.net as we keep you updated on the playoff races in the ECHL & around minor pro hockey!