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In less than a month, 16 teams will begin their quest for Mr. Kelly’s chalice. Between now and then, there is still much to sort out. We will keep you updated with who have clinched playoff berths, division titles and has home-ice cinched up for the opening round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

Before we start, 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.

For those new to hockey and not sure of how the magic numbers work, they 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.

Eastern Conference:

NORTH DIVISION

  • The top three teams in the division are separated by four points.
  • Wheeling is four points back of Reading with 69 points, but the Nailers have an eight-point lead on the Worcester Railers. (Worcester also has three games in-hand on the Nailers, which could come in huge in the coming weeks.)
  • Brampton’s tragic number is nine and they could be eliminated from playoff contention this week.

SOUTH DIVISION

  • Florida and South Carolina have already clinched playoff berths
  • Orlando’s magic number to clinch a playoff berth is seven, while Atlanta’s is 14. The Solar Bears could clinch a playoff berth this week.
  • Norfolk and Jacksonville continue to lurk behind the Gladiators in the race for fourth, both sitting more than six points behind Atlanta.

Western Conference

CENTRAL DIVISION

  • Toledo became the first Western Conference team to punch their ticket to the playoffs with an 8-0 win over the Quad City Mallards Friday night. With another perfect week and a regulation loss at any time by the Fort Wayne Komets, the Walleye will be the first team this year to clinch a division title.
  • With a loss Sunday afternoon to Kalamazoo, the Fort Wayne Komets could not clinch a playoff berth. With a Kalamazoo loss in regulation Tuesday and a win by the Komets over Reading Wednesday, the K’s will punch their ticket to the playoffs.
  • Cincinnati’s magic number for clinching a playoff berth is 16. They cannot clinch a spot this week.
  • Despite having the same number of points and one fewer win than the Kansas City Mavericks, the Kalamazoo Wings hold the fourth spot in the division thanks to having more ROW (non-shootout wins) than the Mavericks. The Wings hold an edge in that department 29-to-27.
  • Quad City will be eliminated from playoff contention with their next loss or a win Tuesday by the Kalamazoo Wings.

MOUNTAIN DIVISION

  • Colorado clinched a playoff berth for the 15th straight year (CHL & ECHL combined) Sunday afternoon with a 6-1 win over the Rapid City Rush. The Eagles’ magic number for clinching the Mountain Division title is at 13.
  • Idaho’s magic number is eight and there is a chance the Steelheads’ can clinch a playoff berth this weekend.
  • Wichita’s magic number for clinching a playoff berth is 15
  • Allen moved into the fourth spot in the Mountain Division over the weekend. They currently sit four points behind Wichita (WIC leads 70-66 but Allen has two games in-hand,) and one point ahead of the Oilers and also with two games in-hand.

Current Playoff Bracket

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

Best Record in Last 10 Games:

Toledo Walleye: 8-1-1-0
Orlando Solar Bears: 8-2-0-0
South Carolina Stingrays: 7-2-1-0
Florida Everblades: 7-2-1-0
Fort Wayne Komets: 7-3-0-0
Cincinnati Cyclones: 7-3-0-0
Colorado Eagles: 7-3-0-0

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

Florida was the first ECHL team to clinch a playoff berth on February 27 with a 6-3 win over the Jacksonville Icemen. As we have seen in the last several years, clinching first does not equate to a deep playoff run, with only one team 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 ???

The Race for the Brabham Cup

The race for the Brabham Cup is currently a two-horse race between the Florida Everblades and Toledo Walleye, who are separated by one mere point in the standings (Florida 88, Toledo 89). But, the Colorado Eagles are lurking in third, three points behind Toledo with 86 on the campaign.

Here is a look at the standings through action on Sunday:

TEAM RECORD GAMES REMAINING
Toledo Walleye 42-15-3-2 (89 pts) 10 (4H, 6A)
Florida Everblades 41-12-2-4 (88 pts) 13 (9H, 4A)
Colorado Eagles 40-16-4-2 (86 pts) 10 (5H, 5A)
Fort Wayne Komets 41-16-2-1 (85 pts) 13 (5H, 8A)
South Carolina Stingrays 39-13-6-1 (85 pts) 13 (5H, 8A)

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

There is still a lot to be decided in the final 28 days of the ECHL regular season. We will be here to break it all down for you as it happens!

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