Jacksonville Sports Day

ECHL: A Comprehensive Preview of the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs

Florida's Joe Cox

It’s playoff time in the ECHL. The teams and schedules are set. Here is a full preview of Division Semifinals of the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs presented by SmileDirectClub.

Thanks to Joe Babik, ECHL Director of Communications and Jacksonville Icemen Communications Director Alex Reed for putting together this comprehensive look at this year’s post season action.

South Division Semifinals (Best of Seven)

#1 Florida Everblades (50-16-6) vs. #4 Jacksonville Icemen (36-32-4)

Florida has advanced to the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the fifth straight year and the 20th time in its 21 ECHL seasons while Jacksonville is appearing in the postseason for the first time in club history. The Everblades captured the South Division title for the third straight year and the fourth time in the last five seasons with a 50-16-6 overall record. Joe Cox, who was named to the All-ECHL Second Team, led Florida in the regular season with 61 points (27g-34a) in 55 games. In goal, Jeremy Helvig was tied for third in the ECHL with 27 wins, ranked fourth with a 2.27 goals-against average and tied for seventh with a .918 save percentage. Wacey Rabbit paced the Icemen in the regular season with 27 goals and 60 points while Dajon Mingo was tied for eighth among defensemen with 40 points (11g-29a). Florida went 9-3-1 against the Icemen in the regular-season series while Jacksonville went 4-9-0 against the Everblades. Cox tallied a team high nine goals for the Everblades while John McCarron led the way with 15 points (5g-10a). Rabbit’s five goals and nine points led the way for the Icemen against Florida. Fans can listen to Reed on the road on the Icemen Broadcast Network for free on Mixlr and on ECHL.TV on a subscription basis.

Game 1 – Thursday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Florida
Game 2 – Saturday, April 13 at 7 p.m. ET at Florida
Game 3 – Thursday, April 18 at 7 p.m. ET at Jacksonville
Game 4 – Friday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Jacksonville
Game 5 – Saturday, April 20 at 7 p.m. ET at Jacksonville (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Monday, April 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Florida (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Florida (If Necessary)

#2 Orlando Solar Bears (41-25-6) vs. #3 South Carolina Stingrays (35-31-6)

South Carolina enters the postseason for the 12th consecutive season and the 25th time in its 26 ECHL seasons while Orlando has qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs five times in the last six years. Last season, the Solar Bears defeated the Stingrays 4 games to 0 in the South Division Semifinals. Orlando boasted a balanced offensive attack during the regular season, finishing fourth in the league with 3.49 goals per game but having no players ranked among the top 68 scorers in the league. Mathieu Foget led the Solar Bears with 49 points (21g-28a) with Cody Donaghey providing a boost from the blue line, as his 15 goals were tied for third among ECHL defensemen. South Carolina won its final three games of the regular season to earn a playoff spot and the third seed in the South Division. Andrew Cherniwchan was tied for eighth overall in the league with 67 points (29g-38a) while Grant Besse was tied for eighth with 30 goals. The Solar Bears went 5-6-0 in the head-to-head series while the Stingrays went 6-5-0. Colby McAuley led the way for Orlando in the season series with five goals and nine points while Besse’s six goals paces the Stingays with Tad Kozun (4g-6a) and Jonathan Charbonneau (2g-8a) sharing the team lead with 10 points each.

Game 1 – Wednesday, April 10 at 7 p.m. ET at Orlando
Game 2 – Friday, April 12 at 7 p.m. ET at Orlando
Game 3 – Wednesday, April 17 at 7:05 p.m. ET at South Carolina
Game 4 – Friday, April 19 at 7:05 p.m. ET at South Carolina
Game 5 – Saturday, April 20 at 7:05 p.m. ET at South Carolina (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Monday, April 22 at 7 p.m. ET at Orlando (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 24 at 7 p.m. ET at Orlando (If Necessary)

North Division Semifinals (Best of Seven)

#1 Newfound Growlers (43-21-8) vs. #4 Brampton Beast (36-29-7)

Newfoundland enters the Kelly Cup Playoffs in its first ECHL season after capturing the North Division title while Brampton is in the postseason for the second time in the last three seasons. The Growlers’ 43 wins during the regular season ranked third in the league, and included a 24-10-2 record at home. Newfoundland finished third in the ECHL with 3.58 goals per game while ranking fifth with 2.88 goals-against per game. Zach O’Brien, who was named to the All-ECHL Second Team and received the ECHL Sportsmanship Award, led Newfoundland in the regular season with 68 points (28g-40a) in 50 games. Brampton finished second in the Eastern Conference with 21 road wins during the regular season. David Pacan was the Beast’s top threat offensively, finishing fifth in the league with 70 points (28g-42a). Newfoundland went 8-5-0 against the Beast in the regular season while Brampton was 5-8-2 against the Growlers. Scott Pooley led the Growlers in the regular-season series with eight goals and 13 points while in goal Michael Garteig went 5-2-0 with a 2.95 goals-against average. Brampton was led by David Vallorani’s eight goals and 16 points in the head-to-head meetings.

Game 1 – Friday, April 12 at 7 p.m. NT at Newfoundland
Game 2 – Saturday, April 13 at 7 p.m. NT at Newfoundland
Game 3 – Tuesday, April 16 at 7:15 p.m. ET at Brampton
Game 4 – Thursday, April 18 at 7:15 p.m. ET at Brampton
Game 5 – Saturday, April 20 at 4 p.m. ET at Brampton (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Tuesday, April 23 at 7 p.m. NT at Newfoundland (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 24 at 7 p.m. NT at Newfoundland (If Necessary)

#2 Adirondack Thunder (37-26-9) vs. #3 Manchester Monarchs (39-29-4)

For the fourth consecutive year, the Thunder and Monarchs meet in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Adirondack prevailed in the 2016 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals and the 2018 North Division Finals while Manchester was victorious in the 2017 North Division Semifinals. Adirondack was led in the regular season by James Henry, who was tied for second in the league with 54 assists and was sixth with 69 points. Alex Sakellaropoulos was tied for seventh in the ECHL with a 2.51 goals-against average. Manchester was paced by Nic Pierog, who led all ECHL rookies, and was tied for fourth overall in the league, with 32 goals. David Kolomatis was tied for sixth among defensemen with 43 points (14g-29a) and Daniil Miromanov was tied for eighth among blueliners with 40 points (13g-27a). The Thunder went 6-4-2 in the regular season against Manchester while the Monarchs were 6-6-0 in the season series. Mike Szmatula led Adirondack with seven goals and Matt Salhany posted a team-best 16 points (3g-13a). Miromanov led the Monarchs with nine points (4g-5a) in nine games in the head-to-head series.

Game 1 – Friday, April 12 at 7 p.m. ET at Adirondack
Game 2 – Saturday, April 13 at 7 p.m. ET at Adirondack
Game 3 – Wednesday, April 17 at 7 p.m. ET at Manchester
Game 4 – Friday, April 19 at 7 p.m. ET at Manchester
Game 5 – Saturday, April 20 at 6 p.m. ET at Manchester (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Tuesday, April 23 at 7 p.m. ET at Adirondack (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 24 at 7 p.m. ET at Adirondack (If Necessary)

Central Division Semifinals (Best of Seven)

#1 Cincinnati Cyclones (51-13-8) vs. #4 Kalamazoo Wings (36-31-5)

Cincinnati enters the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the fifth time in seven seasons while Kalamazoo has qualified for the eighth time in its 10 ECHL seasons. Cincinnati captured the Brabham Cup as regular-season champions with a 51-13-8 record for 110 points and tying ECHL records for most home wins (30) and fewest regulation losses at home (2) in a single season. Jesse Schultz led the league in scoring with 80 points (22g-58a) and Michael Houser was tied for the league lead with 29 wins while ranking second with a 2.13 goals-against average and fourth with a .922 save percentage. Kalamazoo returns to the postseason after failing to qualify last season. ECHL Rookie of the Year Chris Collins led the K-Wings with 65 points (28g-37a) in the regular season and was tied for the overall league lead with six shorthanded goals. During the regular season, Cincinnati went 9-1-1 against the K-Wings with Kalamazoo going 2-9-0 against the Cyclones. Schultz led the Cyclones against Kalamazoo with 13 points (5g-8a) in the head-to-head series while Collins’ eight points (3g-5a) paced the K-Wings.

Game 1 – Friday, April 12 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Cincinnati
Game 2 – Saturday, April 13 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Cincinnati
Game 3 – Wednesday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Kalamazoo
Game 4 – Friday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Kalamazoo
Game 5 – Saturday, April 20 at 7 p.m. ET at Kalamazoo (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Tuesday, April 23 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Cincinnati (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 24 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Cincinnati (If Necessary)

#2 Toledo Walleye (40-23-9) vs. #3 Fort Wayne Komets (36-26-10)

Toledo and Fort Wayne are meeting in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the fourth time in the last five years. The Walleye were victorious in the 2015 North Division Finals and the 2017 Central Division Finals while the Komets prevailed in the 2018 Central Division Finals. The Walleye in the playoffs for the fifth straight season, and have posted at least 40 wins in each of those seasons. Shane Berschbach led Toledo in the regular season with 63 points (20g-43a) in 65 games with Dylan Sadowy tallying a team-leading 23 goals. The Komets have advanced to the second round in each of the last five postseasons, the only ECHL team to do so over that stretch. J.C. Campagna finished second in the league during the regular season with 35 goals while Brady Shaw was tied for 16th with 64 points (27g-37a). Toledo went 6-2-3 against the Komets during the regular season while Fort Wayne went 5-4-2 against the Walleye. Sadowy (5g-5a) and Berschbach (2g-8a) both had 10 points to lead the Walleye against Fort Wayne while the Komets were paced by Campagna’s five goals and Ryan Lowney’s eight points (1g-7a).

Game 1 – Friday, April 12 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Toledo
Game 2 – Saturday, April 13 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Toledo
Game 3 – Wednesday, April 17 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Fort Wayne
Game 4 – Friday, April 19 at 8:05 p.m. ET at Fort Wayne
Game 5 – Saturday, April 20 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Toledo (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Tuesday, April 23 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Fort Wayne (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 24 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Toledo (If Necessary)

Mountain Division Semifinals (Best of Seven)

#1 Tulsa Oilers (42-24-6) vs. #4 Kansas City Mavericks (36-30-6)

Tulsa returns to the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2015 while Kansas City is making its first postseason appearance since 2016. The Oilers captured the Mountain Division title and were one of just four teams to win at least 20 games at home and on the road this season. All-ECHL First Team selection Adam Pleskach led the league during the season with 38 goals and was tied for second with 75 points. Devin Williams posted a league-leading 2.12 goals-against average and was tied for 10th with a .916 save percentage. Kansas City finished second in the Western Conference with 24 home wins during the regular season. The Mavericks were led offensively by Greg Betzold’s 25 goals and Rocco Carzo’s 59 points (20g-39a). Mason McDonald was tied for seventh with 23 wins and ninth with a 2.54 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. The Oilers posted a 7-4-0 record in the regular season against Kansas City while the Mavericks were 4-7-0 against Tulsa. Pleskach led Tulsa with nine goals and Ryan Tesink recorded a team-best 14 points (6g-8a) while Darian Dziurzynski (4g-4a) and David Dziurzynski (1g-7a) shared the lead for the Mavericks with eight points each.

Game 1 – Thursday, April 11 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Tulsa
Game 2 – Sunday, April 14 at 4:05 p.m. CT at Tulsa
Game 3 – Wednesday, April 17 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Kansas City
Game 4 – Friday, April 19 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Kansas City
Game 5 – Saturday, April 20 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Kansas City (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Tuesday, April 23 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Tulsa (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 24 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Tulsa (If Necessary)

#2 Idaho Steelheads (41-25-6) vs. #3 Utah Grizzlies (37-26-9)

Idaho and Utah are meeting in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the third time. The Steelheads captured the first meeting in the 2010 National Conference Semifinals while the Grizzlies prevailed in the last meeting in the 2015 Mountain Division Semifinals. The Steelheads have qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs in each of their 16 ECHL seasons, setting a new league record for most consecutive postseason appearances. Steven McParland was Idaho’s top offensive performer during the season with 26 goals and 57 points with Nolan Gluchowski adding a punch from the blue line, finishing tied for eighth among defensemen with 40 points (11g-29a). Tomas Sholl, who was named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team and to the All-ECHL Second Team, was tied for the league lead with a .928 save percentage and third with a 2.25 goals-against average. Utah was led by All-ECHL First Team selection Caleb Herbert, who was fourth in the league with 71 points and tied for fourth with 32 goals. In goal, Joe Cannata was tied for the league lead with four shutouts, while Kevin Carr added three shutouts of his own. The two teams met 15 times in the regular season with the Steelheads going 6-8-1 against Utah and the Grizzlies going 9-4-2 against Idaho. McParland led Idaho in the season series with eight goals and 14 points while Herbert paced Utah with 11 goals and 19 points.

Game 1 – Friday, April 12 at 7:10 p.m. MT at Idaho
Game 2 – Saturday, April 13 at 7:10 p.m. MT at Idaho
Game 3 – Wednesday, April 17 at 7 p.m. MT at Utah
Game 4 – Friday, April 19 at 7 p.m. MT at Utah
Game 5 – Saturday, April 20 at 7 p.m. MT at Utah (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Monday, April 22 at 7:10 p.m. MT at Idaho (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Tuesday, April 23 at 7:10 p.m. MT at Idaho (If Necessary)

Leave a Reply

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