Jacksonville Sports Day

ECHL: Preview of Division Finals of 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs

After meeting twice in the regular season, Allen and Colorado collide in the Mountain Division Finals looking to advance to the Western Conference Finals.

Mountain Division Finals (Best of Seven)
#1 Allen Americans vs. #2 Colorado Eagles
The two-time defending Kelly Cup champion Americans are looking to become the first team in the ECHL’s 29-year history to reach the Finals in three consecutive seasons. After ending the regular season with a 20-1-2 record over their final 23 games, Allen defeated Utah 4 games to 1 in the Mountain Division Semifinals. Greger Hanson (2g-5a) and Chad Costello (0g-7a) led the Americans in the opening round with seven points each while ECHL Goaltender of the Year Riley Gill went 3-1 with a 2.15 goals-against average and a save percentage of .928.

Colorado, which defeated Idaho 4 games to 1 in the division semifinals, is appearing in the second round of the playoffs for the first time since joining the ECHL in 2011-12. Alex Belzile led the Eagles with five goals, and he shared the team lead in points with ECHL Defenseman of the Year Matt Register (3g-6a) with nine points each. Lukas Hafner posted a 4-0 record in the series against Idaho.

The Eagles won both of the regular-season matchups between the teams, 4-3 at Colorado on Nov. 9 and 5-4 at Allen on Dec. 14. Ryan Harrison led Colorado in the season series with five points (0g-5a) while Hanson (3g-1a) and Costello (2g-2a) paced Allen with four points each.

Central Division Finals (Best of Seven)

#1 Toledo Walleye vs. #2 Fort Wayne Komets
For the second time in three years, Toledo and Fort Wayne square off in the second round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs. The Walleye defeated the Komets 4 games to 3 in the 2015 North Division Finals.

Toledo advanced to the division finals after outlasting Kalamazoo 4 games to 3 in the Central Division Semifinals. It was the fifth consecutive series for the Walleye that has gone all seven games. Kyle Bonis led Toledo in the series with six goals and shared the team lead in points with Tyson Spink (4g-7a) with 11 points each. Bonis and Spink share the playoff lead in points, and Bonis is also tied for the league lead in goals after one round.

Fort Wayne is the only team to have reached the second round of the playoffs in each of the last four seasons. The Komets eliminated Quad City 4 games to 1 in the Central Division Semifinals. Shawn Szydlowski led Fort Wayne in the opening round with eight points (1g-7a) while Pat Nagle went 4-1 with a 2.25 goals-against average and a save percentage of .912.

The Walleye went 5-1-0 against Fort Wayne in the regular season while the Komets were 1-3-2 against Toledo. All-ECHL Second Team selection Shane Berschbach led Toledo in the season series with 10 points (1g-9a) while fellow Second Team selection Jake Paterson posted a 4-1-0 record and a 2.18 goals-against average. Fort Wayne was led by Garrett Thompson, who posted three goals, and Mike Embach who recorded six points (1g-5a).

South Division Finals (Best of Seven)
#1 Florida Everblades vs. #3 South Carolina Stingrays
Two long-time rivals meet in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the sixth time, looking to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. South Carolina has won the last two postseason meetings against the Everblades, winning both the 2009 and 2015 South Division Finals 4 games to 2. Florida got the best of the Stingrays in their first three playoff meetings, winning 1 game to 0 in the 2002 Southeast Division Wild Card, 3 games to 0 in the 2004 Southern Division Finals and 3 games to 1 in the 2005 American Conference Quarterfinals.

Florida became just the sixth team in ECHL history to rally from a 3 games to 1 deficit and win a best-of-seven series in the South Division Semifinals against Orlando. The Everblades outscored the Solar Bears 18-9 over the final three games of the series. Brendan O’Donnell is the playoff leader after one round with seven goals, while his 11 points are tied for the league lead. Anthony Peters went 4-0 in five appearances with a 3.08 goals-against average and a save percentage of .904.

South Carolina also mounted a rally in the first round, winning the final four games against Greenville by a combined score of 20-3 after dropping the first two games. Rob Flick is tied for second in the playoffs with six goals and is tied for seventh with nine points. Parker Milner posted two shutouts in the opening-round series against Greenville and is fifth among playoff goaltenders with a 2.17 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage.

During the regular season, Florida went 5-3-2 against the Stingrays while South Carolina 5-5-0 against the Everblades. O’Donnell led Florida in the season series with five goals while Matt Berryhad a team-leading 11 points (3g-8a). Flick posted a team-high five goals, and was tied for the lead in points with Kelly Zajac (1g-6a) and Olivier Archambault (3g-4a) with seven points each.

North Division Finals (Best of Seven)

#3 Brampton Beast vs. #4 Manchester Monarchs
Both Brampton and Manchester are making their first-ever appearances in the second round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

The Beast defeated Reading 4 games to 2 in the opening round. The two teams combined for just 21 goals in the series, setting a new ECHL postseason record for fewest combined goals scored in a six-game series. Jordan Henry posted a team-best seven points (2g-5a) against Reading while Brandon MacLean had three goals. Zachary Fucale leads all goaltenders in the playoffs with a 1.20 goals-against average and a .959 save percentage.

Manchester defeated North Division regular-season champion Adirondack 4 games to 2 in the division semifinals. Matt Leitner (3g-4a) and Quentin Shore (2g-5a) led the Monarchs in the first round with seven points each while Sam Brittain went 4-2 with a 2.34 goals-against average and a save percentage of .921.

Brampton went 2-1-0 against the Monarchs in the regular season with Manchester posting a 1-1-1 record in the head-to-head series. David Pacan led the Beast with three goals while Chris Leveille had a team-best five points (2g-3a). Manchester was led by David Kolomatis, who posted five points (0g-5a).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *