Dayton won 3-2 at Johnstown on Sunday to become the first team in the American Conference to clinch a berth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. The Bombers are 4-0-1 in their last five games and 11-2-3 in their last 16 games to improve to 35-22-7 and 77 points which leads the North Division, two points ahead of Cincinnati at 35-25-5 and four points better than Toledo at 35-28-3.
Dayton has 31 more points than a year ago and the most wins and points since its last postseason appearance in 2001-02 when they finished first in their division with 92 points (40-20-12) and advanced to the Kelly Cup Finals. The Bombers will host Wheeling on Tuesday before traveling to Reading on Friday and Johnstown on Saturday.
Cincinnati, which needs only one point to clinch a postseason berth, hosts Johnstown on Tuesday before traveling to Wheeling on Friday and Saturday. The Cyclones, who had a voluntary suspension for each of the last two years, are trying to reach the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the third time in their four seasons, including 2003 when they lost in Game 7 of the conference finals to eventual champion Atlantic City.
Toledo, which reached the conference finals a year ago, is trying to reach the postseason for three straight years for the first time since it qualified in each of its first eight seasons from 1991-99. The Storm will travel to Johnstown on Friday and then host Trenton on Saturday and Wheeling on Sunday.
In the North Division, berths in the Kelly Cup Playoffs will be awarded to the first-place team as well as to the next four-best teams, based on regular-season point totals. The fourth seed and the fifth seed will play a best-of-three series in the Division Quarterfinals with the winner advancing to meet the division winner in the Division Semifinals, a best-of-five series that also had the second seed playing the third seed. The winners will advance to the best-of-seven Division Finals with the winner advancing to the American Conference Finals to meet the winner of the South Division.
Trenton is 32-29-5 and in fourth place with 69 points, two points ahead of Reading at 30-30-7. The Titans will play their next three games on the road, visiting Reading on Wednesday, Toledo on Saturday and Dayton on Sunday while the Royals will host Trenton on Wednesday and Dayton on Friday.
Wheeling has won a season-high five games to improve to 28-31-6 and move into a tie for sixth place with Johnstown at 62 points, five points behind Reading for the fifth and final berth in the North Division. The Nailers, who have reached the Kelly Cup Playoffs twice in the last three years and advanced to the division finals last season, will travel to Dayton on Tuesday before hosting Cincinnati on Friday and Saturday.
Looking for its 12th postseason appearance and its first back-to-back trips to the Kelly Cup Playoffs since 2001 and 2002, Johnstown will travel to Cincinnati on Tuesday before returning home to meet Toledo on Friday and Dayton on Saturday.