Jacksonville Sports Day

ECHL: Preview of Conference Finals of 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs

After meeting five times during the 2016-17 regular season, Manchester and South Carolina meet in the Eastern Conference Finals with a spot in the 2017 Kelly Cup Finals up for grabs.

Manchester is appearing in the Conference Finals for the first time after defeating Adirondack 4 games to 2 in the North Division Semifinals and Brampton 4 games to 2 in the North Division Finals.

After finishing second in the Eastern Conference with 23 home wins during the regular season, the Monarchs have gone 4-1 at SNHU Arena in the first two rounds of the playoffs, outscoring their opposition 18-6 in the five games. The Monarchs are second in the postseason, allowing 2.08 goals-against per game.

Matt Leitner and Ashton Rome share the team lead in the playoffs with six goals each while Leitner has posted a team-best 14 points.

Zac Lynch  is second among rookies in the playoffs with five goals while fellow rookie Quentin Shore is second among first-year players with 11 points (4g-7a). Sam Brittain is tied for the playoff lead with eight wins while ranking second in minutes played (719) and saves (337), fourth in goals-against average (2.09) and fifth in save percentage (.931).

South Carolina is appearing in the Conference Finals for the third straight season, joining the Cincinnati Cyclones (2008, 2009 and 2010) as the only two teams to accomplish that feat in ECHL history.

The Stingrays have captured a league record-tying three championships (1997, 2001 and 2009) and are making their sixth all-time appearance in the Conference Finals. South Carolina eliminated Greenville 4 games to 2 in the South Division Semifinals before defeating the division’s top seed, Florida, 4 games to 1 in the South Division Finals.

The Stingrays have also been enjoying success on home ice, winning each of their six playoff games at the North Charleston Coliseum by a cumulative score of 23-4. South Carolina is the playoff leader on the penalty kill, allowing just four goals on 52 opposition power-play opportunities (92.3 percent).

Rob Flick is tied for third in the postseason with seven goals and he is tied for sixth with 13 points. Parker Milner has eight wins, which is tied for the playoff lead among goaltenders, is while ranking second with two shutouts and a 1.83 goals-against average and tied for third with a .932 save percentage.

Manchester went 2-2-1 against the Stingrays in the regular season while South Carolina had a 3-2-0 record against the Monarchs. Cory Ward led Manchester with six points (2g-4a) while Brittain went 1-1-1 with a 4.02 goals-against average. Flick led South Carolina in the head-to-head series with 10 points (5g-5a) while in goal, Adam Carlson was 1-1-0 with a 3.83 goals-against average.

The winner of the Eastern Conference Finals receives the E.A. “Bud” Gingher Memorial Trophy.

Two of the top three teams during the ECHL regular season meet to determine the Western Conference champion. Toledo captured its second Brabham Cup in the last three seasons as ECHL regular-season champions while Colorado was third in the league with a record of 47-20-5 for 99 points

The Walleye survived Kalamazoo 4 games to 3 in the North Division Semifinals before eliminating Fort Wayne 4 games to 1 in the North Division Finals.

Toledo, which was second in the regular season with 26 home wins, has carried that success over to the playoffs, going a perfect 7-0 at Huntington Center in the first two rounds. The Walleye lead the postseason on the power play, converting at a 26.7 percent clip (12-for-45).

Kyle Bonis and Evan Rankin are among a group of players tied for third in the playoffs with seven goals.

Tyson Spink leads rookies, and is second overall, with 15 points (6g-9a) while Bonis is tied for third with 14 points. Jeff Lerg has appeared in seven games during the playoffs for the Walleye posting a 5-2 record with one shutout, a 2.18 goals-against average and a save percentage of .926.

Colorado is making its first appearance in the Western Conference Finals after defeating Idaho 4 games to 1 in the Mountain Division Semifinals before taking down two-time defending Kelly Cup-champion Allen 4 games to 2 in the Mountain Division Finals.

The Eagles rank second among all playoff teams with 3.45 goals per game and have posted a perfect 6-0 record on the road in the first two rounds.

Alex Belzile leads all players through two rounds with eight goals and 17 points while Matt Register, the 2016-17 ECHL Defenseman of the Year, leads all blueliners in the playoffs with five goals and 12 points. In goal, Lukas Hafner has posted a 7-2 record in nine appearances with a 2.58 goals-against average and a save percentage of. 906.

The winner of the Western Conference Finals receives the Bruce Taylor Trophy.

Leave a Reply

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