2014bracket

Conference Quarterfinals Preview

 

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals (Best of Seven)

#1 Reading Royals (46-22-4) vs. #8 Fort Wayne Komets (36-24-12)
Series Matchup Sheet

The defending Kelly Cup champion Reading Royals enter the postseason for the fifth consecutive season, and are coming off their third division title in the last four seasons while tying the club record for wins in a season with 46. Fort Wayne makes its first appearance in the Kelly Cup Playoffs in its second ECHL season, but the Komets are no stranger to postseason success having captured nine championships in team history.

The two teams met four times during the regular season, with the road team winning each time. Reading went 3-1-0 against the Komets while Fort Wayne had a 1-2-1 record against the Royals. Yannick Tifu led Reading in the season series with four points (1g-3a) while Chris Auger paced the Komets with five points (3g-2a).

The Royals enter the playoffs on the heels of a 31-10-3 run over their last 44 games since Jan. 8. Reading’s 24 home wins were second in the league during the regular season, and the Royals ended the season on a 12-game unbeaten streak at Santander Arena (11-0-1).

The Komets ended the regular season with a 7-2-1 mark in their last 10 games, and boast the ECHL scoring leader, Brandon Marino, who topped the league with 88 points (30g-58a) on his way to earning a spot on the All-ECHL First Team.

Game 1 – Thursday, April 17 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Reading
Game 2 – Saturday, April 19 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Reading
Game 3 – Thursday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Fort Wayne
Game 4 – Friday, April 25 at 8 p.m. ET at Fort Wayne
Game 5 – Sunday, April 27 at 6 p.m. ET at Fort Wayne (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Tuesday, April 29 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Reading (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 30 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Reading (If Necessary)

#2 Kalamazoo Wings (42-22-8) vs. #7 Greenville Road Warriors (39-27-6)
Series Matchup Sheet

Kalamazoo returns to the Kelly Cup Playoffs after missing out on the postseason last year while Greenville is making its fourth straight appearance.

The two teams met only twice during the regular season, with Kalamazoo winning 5-1 on Dec. 5 and 2-0 on Dec. 7.

The K-Wings captured the North Division title for the fourth time in their five ECHL seasons and their 42 wins tie the mark they set in 2009-10. Kalamazoo is led by All-ECHL First Team selection Sam Ftorek, who led league defensemen with 47 points (13g-34a) in 70 games this season, and by ECHL All-Rookie Team selection Matt Caria, who led Kalamazoo with 24 goals and 58 points. Goaltender Jordan Binnington was tied for fourth in the league with 23 wins and was third among rookies with a 2.35 goals-against average.

The Road Warriors are led by Andrew Rowe, who was named to the All-ECHL Second Team and finished the season tied for second in the league with 31 goals, tied for fourth with a +28 rating and tied for fifth with 66 points. Michael St. Croix ranked among rookie leaders, finishing ninth among first-year players with 48 points (17g-31a) in 53 games.

Game 1 – Friday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Kalamazoo
Game 2 – Saturday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Kalamazoo
Game 3 – Wednesday, April 23 at 7 p.m. ET at Greenville
Game 4 – Friday, April 25 at 7 p.m. ET at Greenville
Game 5 – Saturday, April 26 at 7 p.m. ET at Greenville (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Tuesday, April 29 at 7 p.m. ET at Kalamazoo (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 30 at 7 p.m. ET at Kalamazoo (If Necessary)

#3 South Carolina Stingrays (43-23-6) vs. #6 Wheeling Nailers (39-27-6)
Series Matchup Sheet

South Carolina and Wheeling meet in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the second time in the last four seasons. The Nailers defeated the Stingrays 3 games to 1 in the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

During the regular season, South Carolina won the only meeting between the teams, 3-0 on Dec. 28.

The Stingrays, who have advanced to the postseason an ECHL-record 20 times, captured their first division title since 2000-01 this season. South Carolina was just one of four teams in the league to win at least 20 games at both home and on the road this season. Dale Mitchell is the Stingrays’ active scoring leader with 45 points (19g-26) in 50 games this season.

Wheeling is in the postseason for the third time in the last four years, and finished the season over .500 for the sixth straight year. Sahir Gill led the Nailers during the regular season with 54 points (13g-41) while Cody Sylvester led the club, and was tied for third among rookies, with 24 goals. In goal, Mike Condon led the league with a .931 save percentage and was second with six shutouts, and allowed just six goals over his final seven appearances in the regular season.

Game 1 – Friday, April 18 at 7:05 p.m. ET at South Carolina
Game 2 – Saturday, April 19 at 7:05 p.m. ET at South Carolina
Game 3 – Wednesday, April 23 at 7 p.m. ET at Wheeling
Game 4 – Friday, April 25 at 7 p.m. ET at Wheeling
Game 5 – Saturday, April 26 at 7 p.m. ET at Wheeling (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Tuesday, April 29 at 7:05 p.m. ET at South Carolina (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 30 at 7:05 p.m. ET at South Carolina (If Necessary)

#4 Orlando Solar Bears (43-24-5) vs. #5 Cincinnati Cyclones (41-32-8)
Series Matchup Sheet

Orlando makes its first appearance in the Kelly Cup Playoffs in its second season in the ECHL, while Cincinnati is in the postseason for the seventh time in the last eight seasons.

The two clubs split a pair of meetings during the regular season, with the Solar Bears picking up a 4-2 win at Cincinnati on Nov. 13 and the Cyclones winning 5-1 at Orlando on March 26.

Orlando is paced offensively by Mickey Lang, who led the ECHL with 44 goals this season, becoming the first player in the league to reach the 40-goal plateau since the 2010-11 season. Lang was third in the league with 76 points during the regular season. In goal, Cody Reichard went 13-4-1 in 20 appearances with the Solar Bears after being acquired in a trade in January.

Cincinnati, which advanced to the Conference Finals last year for the fourth time in six seasons, was led in the regular season by Anthony Luciani who recorded 25 goals and 53 points in 50 games. Jonathan Hazen was right behind him with 50 points (22g-28a) in 58 contests.

Game 1 – Thursday, April 17 at 7 p.m. ET at Orlando
Game 2 – Sunday, April 20 at 7 p.m. ET at Orlando
Game 3 – Wednesday, April 23 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Cincinnati
Game 4 – Friday, April 25 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Cincinnati
Game 5 – Saturday, April 26 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Cincinnati (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Tuesday, April 29 at 7 p.m. ET at Orlando (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 30 at 7 p.m. ET at Orlando (If Necessary)

Western Conference Quarterfinals (Best of Seven)

#1 Alaska Aces (45-19-7) vs. #8 Las Vegas Wranglers (20-44-8)
Series Matchup Sheet

Alaska and Las Vegas meet in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the fifth time, with each team winning twice previously. The Aces were victorious 4 games to 2 in the 2006 West Division Finals and 4 games to 0 in the 2009 National Conference Finals while the Wranglers won 4 games to 1 in the 2008 National Conference Semifinals and the 2012 Western Conference Finals.

During the 2013-14 regular season, Alaska was 11-2-0 against the Wranglers while Las Vegas went 2-10-1 against the Aces. However, six of the 13 games were decided by just one goal. Brendan Connolly led Alaska in the season series with 15 points (3g-12a) and Las Vegas was paced by Carlo Finucci, who had 10 points (2g-8a).

The Aces have reached the postseason in each of their 11 ECHL seasons, and have advanced to at least the second round in nine of the previous 10 seasons. Alaska won its ECHL-record fifth Brabham Cup title as regular-season champions, and extended its own record by winning its fourth in row this season. Peter Sivak, who was an All-ECHL First Team selection, led the league with a +49 rating and was second with 83 points (31g-52a).

Chad Nehring led Las Vegas in the regular season with 22 points while Adam Hughesman led the team with 45 points (21g-24a). Travis Fullerton led the ECHL with 1,443 saves and finished third with 2,612 minutes played.

Game 1 – Friday, April 18 at 7:15 p.m. AKT at Alaska
Game 2 – Saturday, April 19 at 7:15 p.m. AKT at Alaska
Game 3 – Wednesday, April 23 at 7:05 p.m. PT at Las Vegas
Game 4 – Friday, April 25 at 7:05 p.m. PT at Las Vegas
Game 5 – Saturday, April 26 at 7:05 p.m. PT at Las Vegas (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Monday, April 28 at 7:15 p.m. AKT at Alaska (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Tuesday, April 29 at 7:15 p.m. AKT at Alaska (If Necessary)

#2 Ontario Reign (44-20-7) vs. #7 Stockton Thunder (33-31-8)
Series Matchup Sheet

Ontario and Stockton are meeting in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the second time. The Thunder were victorious 4 games to 3 in the 2009 National Conference Quarterfinals.

The two teams met 16 times in the regular season with Ontario going 10-6-0 and Stockton posting a 6-7-3 record. Matt White led the Reign in head-to-head series with 11 points (5g-6a) while Matt Bergland (4g-7a) and James Henry (4g-7a) paced Stockton with 11 points each.

The Reign captured the Pacific Division title for the third straight season, and for the fourth time in their six seasons in the ECHL. Ontario led the league with a 23-9-3 record on the road, and also was tough to beat when scoring first (26-4-3) and in one-goal games (22-4-7). White led the team in scoring during the regular season with 57 points (22g-35a) while All-ECHL First Team selection Matt Register was tied for second among league defensemen with 14 goals and 44 points.

The defending Western Conference champion Thunder are in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the eighth straight season. Joey Martin led Stockton in the regular season, and was eighth in the league, with 65 points, while finishing tied for fourth in the ECHL with 44 assists. Jeremy Langlois led all ECHL rookies with 60 points (19g-41a) while Brian Foster was tied for fourth among goaltenders with 23 wins.

Game 1 – Friday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m. PT at Stockton
Game 2 – Saturday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m. PT at Stockton
Game 3 – Tuesday, April 22 at 7 p.m. PT at Ontario
Game 4 – Wednesday, April 23 at 7 p.m. PT at Ontario
Game 5 – Saturday, April 26 at 7:30 p.m. PT at Stockton (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Sunday, April 27 at 5 p.m. PT at Ontario (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Monday, April 28 at 7 p.m. PT at Ontario (If Necessary)

#3 Utah Grizzlies (38-24-9) vs. #6 Bakersfield Condors (36-30-6)
Series Matchup Sheet

Utah is in the postseason for the seventh straight season and the eighth time in nine years while Bakersfield is back in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2011.

The two clubs met six times in the regular season with the Grizzlies going 4-2-0 and the Condors 2-3-1. Jamie MacQueen led Utah against the Condors with eight points (6g-2a) while Matt Thurber led Bakersfield in the season series with six points (2g-4a).

This series features three of the top four goaltenders in the ECHL during the regular season. Bakersfield’s Laurent Brossoit led the league with a 2.01 goals-against average and 26 wins while tying the ECHL’s single-season record with eight shutouts. Utah’s Igor Bobkov, currently recalled to Norfolk of the American Hockey League, was second with a 2.04 goals-against average and tied for fifth with a .921 save percentage while his teammate, Aaron Dell, ranked fourth with a 2.14 goals-against average and was tied for seventh with a .920 save percentage.

Game 1 – Friday, April 18 at 7:05 p.m. MT at Utah
Game 2 – Saturday, April 19 at 7:05 p.m. MT at Utah
Game 3 – Tuesday, April 22 at 7 p.m. PT at Bakersfield
Game 4 – Thursday, April 24 at 7 p.m. PT at Bakersfield
Game 5 – Friday, April 25 at 7 p.m. PT at Bakersfield (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Sunday, April 27 at 7:05 p.m. MT at Utah (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 30 at TBD at Utah (If Necessary)

#4 Idaho Steelheads (39-26-7) vs. #5 Colorado Eagles (33-26-12)
Series Matchup Sheet

Idaho and Colorado meet in the Western Conference Quarterfinals for the second straight year after the Steelheads prevailed 4 games to 2 last season.

The two teams met nine times during the 2013-14 regular season with Idaho posting a 7-2-0 record against Eagles and Colorado going 2-5-2. Tommy Grant led the Steelheads against Colorado with nine points (4g-5a) and Kevin Young led the Eagles against Idaho, also with nine points (4g-5a).

Idaho has qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs in each of its 11 seasons in the league, twice winning the Kelly Cup (2003, 2007) and advancing to the Kelly Cup Finals in 2010 and the Western Conference Finals last season. William Rapuzzi, who received the John A. Daley Memorial Trophy as ECHL Rookie of the Year, led the Steelheads in the regular season with 58 points (16g-42a). The Steelheads ended the season on a 7-3-0 run in their last 10 games, and overall during the campaign posted a 29-1-2 record when scoring three or more goals in a game.

Colorado has reached the Kelly Cup Playoffs in each of its three seasons in the ECHL. The Eagles were led in the regular season by a pair of All-ECHL Second Team selections, Trent Daavettila and Kyle Ostrow, who finished the year tied for fifth in the league with 66 points. Ostrow was tied for sixth in the ECHL with 28 goals while Daavettila was tied for fourth with 44 assists. Mark Nemec led all rookies, and was tied for second overall in the league, with a plus-minus rating of +37.

Game 1 – Friday, April 18 at 7:10 p.m. MT at Idaho
Game 2 – Saturday, April 19 at 7:10 p.m. MT at Idaho
Game 3 – Tuesday, April 22 at 7:05 p.m. MT at Colorado
Game 4 – Thursday, April 24 at 7:05 p.m. MT at Colorado
Game 5 – Friday, April 25 at 7:05 p.m. MT at Colorado (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Monday, April 28 at 7:10 p.m. MT at Idaho (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Tuesday, April 29 at 7:10 p.m. MT at Idaho (If Necessary)

Watch every game of the Kelly Cup Playoffs on America ONE Sports

Every game of the 2014 Kelly Cup Playoffs is available exclusively on America ONE Sports, the “Official Broadband & Mobile Broadcaster” of the ECHL.

A pass to view all games of the 2014 Kelly Cup Playoffs is $50. To purchase a playoff pass, CLICK HERE and select your favorite team.

Individual-day packages, available for $9, will be available for purchase on a day-by-day basis throughout the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

Click here to see the complete schedule for the Eastern and Western Conference Quarterfinals, and click here to view the 2014 Kelly Cup Playoffs bracket.