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Race for the Kelly Cup Playoffs…Stuck on Pause

WICHITA, Kan. – For the first time ever, the race for the Kelly Cup Playoffs are stuck on pause, thanks to the COVID-19 health emergency.
There remains a lot of uncertainty on if/when the ECHL will resume play, whether the season will pick up at the point of the pause, and the ramifications it will have on the upcoming playoffs.
For those new to hockey, a team clinches a playoff spot when their points total surpasses the possible points total (or equals it if they have already clinched the ROW tiebreaker) of the team with the highest possible total outside the playoff picture.
Here is the breakdown of the playoff field at the time play was suspended on Thursday:

North Division

  • Newfoundland and Reading have clinched playoff berths
  • Newfoundland has a five-point lead on Reading for the North Division lead
  • Brampton is third in the division and with a three-point lead on Maine for the final playoff spot. The Beast’s magic number for clinching a playoff berth is three.
  • Maine currently occupies the fourth playoff spot in the North Division. Their magic number for clinching their first-ever playoff berth is seven.
  • Adirondack’s tragic number is at seven
  • Worcester has been eliminated from playoff contention

South Division

  • South Carolina and Florida have clinched playoff berths and remain tied for the lead at the top of the division
  • Greenville occupies the third-seed currently and has a one-point lead on Atlanta in the race for the final playoff spot.
  • Atlanta has a two-point lead on Orlando for the final playoff spot.
  • Jacksonville currently sits seven points out of fourth
  • Norfolk has been eliminated from playoff contention

Central Division

  • Cincinnati has clinched a playoff berth and has a five-point lead on Toledo for the Central Division lead
  • Toledo’s magic number for clinching a playoff berth is at one. The Walleye could clinch a berth with their next standings point
  • Fort Wayne currently holds the third playoff spot
  • Indy holds the fourth playoff spot and has a 10-point lead on Kalamazoo in the race for fourth

Mountain Division

  • Allen has clinched a playoff berth
  • Idaho and Utah are deadlocked in the race for the two-seed in the division. The magic number for both the Steelheads and Grizzlies to clinch a playoff berth is at nine
  • Tulsa has a two-point lead on Rapid City for the final playoff spot
  • Rapid City has three games-in-hand on Tulsa and are two points behind the Oilers for the final playoff spot
  • Wichita is 10 points behind Tulsa for the fourth playoff spot
  • Kansas City’s tragic number is at nine

Here’s what the Kelly Cup Playoff bracket looks like when the season was paused:

Teams With Best Record in Last 10 Games:

Atlanta Gladiators: 8-0-1-1
Florida Everblades: 8-1-1-0
Idaho Steelheads: 8-2-2-0
Toledo Walleye: 8-2-2-0
Cincinnati Cyclones: 7-3-0-0
Fort Wayne Komets: 7-3-0-0

Does Clinching a Playoff Berth First Mean a Long Playoff Run?

South Carolina was the first ECHL team to clinch a playoff berth on February 23, thanks to a 6-5 win in Worcester. As we have seen in the last several years, clinching first does not equate to a deep playoff run, with only two teams making it to the Kelly Cup Finals:

YEAR TEAM RESULT
2008 Texas Wildcatters Lost in South Div. Finals
2009 Florida Everblades Lost in South Div. Finals
2010 Idaho Steelheads Lost in Kelly Cup Finals
2011 Las Vegas Wranglers Lost in West Conf QF
2012 Alaska Aces Lost in West Conf Finals
2013 Ontario Reign Lost in West Conf Semis
2014 Reading Royals Lost in East Conf QF
2015 Toledo Walleye
Fort Wayne Komets
TOL lost in East Conf Finals
FW lost in North Div Finals
2016 Missouri Mavericks Lost in Central Div Finals
2017 Toledo Walleye Lost in Western Conf Finals
2018 Florida Everblades Lost in Kelly Cup Finals
2019 Cincinnati Cyclones Lost in Central Div Finals
2020 South Carolina Stingrays ???

Race for the Brabham Cup

The race for the Brabham Cup, and home-ice throughout the 2020 Kelly Cup Playoffs, is a three-horse race between the South Carolina Stingrays, Florida Everblades, and Allen Americans, who are separated by four points in the standings (South Carolina and Florida 92 pts each, Allen 88).
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 Lost in Kelly Cup Finals to Colorado
2018-19 Cincinnati Cyclones Lost in Central Division Final to Toledo
2019-20 ??? ???

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