The 16-team field for the Kelly Cup playoffs grew by one last night, with Kalamazoo punching their ticket with a 5-3 win over the hapless Norfolk Admirals.

Maybe tonight will be the night we finally get our first Eastern Conference entrant into the field.

Let’s get into it!

Eastern Conference:

SOUTH:

  • The Florida Everblades can become the first Eastern Conference team to clinch a playoff berth with a win, loss in OT or shootout or if Cincinnati loses to Fort Wayne.
  • Florida’s magic number for clinching the South Division title is 4 (Greenville).
  • Positions 2-5 in the South remain separated by four points. Here is a look at the standings, the games remaining and schedule for the weekend for the teams involved:
TEAM RECORD GAMES REMAINING THIS WEEKEND
2 Greenville Swamp Rabbits 36-24-4-1 (77 pts) 7 (5H, 2A) Hm v. INDY Sat
3 Orlando Solar Bears 33-23-6-3 (75 pts) 7 (2H, 5A) @BRM Sun
4 Cincinnati Cyclones 35-26-4-0 (74 pts) 7 (3H, 4A) @FW Sat
5 South Carolina Stingrays 35-26-3-1 (73 pts) 8 (7H, 1A) Hm v. ATL Sat, Hm v. INDY Sun
  • Greenville & South Carolina have the schedule advantage, with most of their remaining schedule (5 games & 7 games respectively) played at home.
  • Orlando plays Florida three more times the rest of the season. The Solar Bears have a 3-7-1-0 record against the Everblades this season.
  • Cincinnati plays just two games (at Greenville) in the south division the rest of the year.

NORTH: 

  • Four teams are separated by three points. The Wheeling Nailers sit four points behind Reading for the fourth and final playoff spot.
TEAM RECORD GAMES REMAINING THIS WEEKEND
1 Brampton Beast 36-21-3-5 (80 pts) 7 (4H, 3A) Hm v. ORL Sun
2 Adirondack Thunder 35-20-6-4 (80 pts) 7 (4H, 3A) @REA Sat
3 Reading Royals 36-24-3-2 (77 pts) 7 (4H, 3A) Hm v. ADK Sat
4 Manchester Monarchs 33-21-7-4 (77 pts) 7 (2H, 5A) @ELM Sat, Sun
5 Wheeling Nailers 32-23-8-0 (72 pts) 6 (4H, 2A) Hm v. IDA Sat
  • Wheeling blew a huge opportunity to narrow the gap between fifth and fourth last night, giving up a late third period goal to the Idaho Steelheads.
  • Brampton’s magic number to clinch their first-ever Kelly Cup playoff berth is 4.
  • Adirondack’s magic number to clinch a playoff berth is 4.
  • Reading’s magic number to clinch a playoff berth is 7.
  • Manchester’s magic number currently stands at 7.
  • Norfolk, Elmira, and Atlanta have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Western Conference:

  • Colorado, Allen, Toledo, Fort Wayne, Quad City and Kalamazoo have all clinched playoff berths.

CENTRAL: 

  • Toledo’s magic number for clinching the Central Division title is 5 (Fort Wayne).
  • Wichita, Tulsa, and Indy have been eliminated from playoff contention

MOUNTAIN: 

  • Colorado’s magic number for clinching their second straight division title is 9 (Allen).
  • Allen now appears to be destined for the second seed in the Mountain Division, their magic number for clinching the #2 seed is 5.
  • Idaho’s magic number for clinching a playoff berth sits at 3. The Steelheads can clinch a playoff berth tonight with a win & a regulation loss by the Missouri Mavericks.
  • Missouri beat Wichita last night, while Rapid City beat Alaska. That means the spread between the Mavs & Aces is down to two points. Same two matchups will happen tonight.
  • Rapid City will be eliminated from playoff contention with Alaska’s next point.

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:

The race for the ECHL regular season championship is tight between the Colorado Eagles and Toledo Walleye. Here is a look at the standings entering action on Saturday:

TEAM RECORD GAMES REMAINING
Toledo Walleye 47-14-2-1 (97 pts) 8 (5H, 3A)
Colorado Eagles 45-16-2-3 (95 pts) 6 (1H, 5A)
Allen Americans 42-17-4-2 (90 pts) 7 (5H, 2A)
Florida Everblades 41-18-2-3 (87 pts) 8 (4H, 4A)

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 ??? ???

Stay with thesinbin.net as we update you on all the playoff races across minor pro hockey!