Heading into the holiday break there are less than 10 points separating the top 17 teams in the ECHL, and 22 of the 28 teams in the league are within 11 points of overall leader Atlantic City.
In the North Division of the National Conference, Atlantic City is 13-2-3 in its last 18 games, improving to 16-6-4 overall with a two-point lead over Wheeling (17-9-0) and Trenton (15-4-4). Eleven points separate the top six teams in the eight-team division with the top four finishers advancing to the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Wheeling has won five consecutive games and 13 of its last 16 while Trenton has gone 7-2-1 in its last 10 games.
In the West Division of the National Conference, Bakersfield is 14-5-4 and has a three-point lead over Idaho (14-8-1) and a four-point lead over San Diego (13-7-2) and Alaska (13-11-2). Ten points separate the top seven teams in the eight-team division with the top four making the Kelly Cup Playoffs. San Diego has won a season-high four consecutive games and is 9-2-0 in its last 11 games.
In the East Division of the American Conference, Charlotte (15-8-2) and Pee Dee (15-7-2) are tied for the lead with 32 points, five points ahead of Columbia (12-7-3) and Greenville (12-11-3) while six points separate first and fifth place in the six-team division. Columbia is 9-2-0 in its last 11 games while Greenville has registered a point in seven of its last nine games (5-2-2).
In the South Division of the American Conference, Gwinnett has gone 10-3-1 in its last 14 games to improve to 15-6-4 and has a four-point lead over Pensacola (14-5-2) and a five-point lead over Florida (14-11-1) with nine points between the first and fifth-place teams in the six-team division. Pensacola has gone 8-2-2 in its last 12 games, picking up 18 of a possible 24 points, while Florida has gone 8-2-1 in its last 11 games, getting 17 of a possible 22 points.
Because of geographical proximity in the American Conference, first-round playoff berths will be awarded to the top eight (8) teams – the first-place team in each division (based on regular-season point totals), as well as the next six-best teams (based on regular-season point totals). The two division winners will be seeded first and second (in order of points) and the next six-best teams (in order of points) will be seeded third through eighth. In the Conference Quarterfinals, the first-place team will meet the eighth-place team, the second-place team will meet the seventh-place team, the third-place team will meet the sixth-place team, and the fourth-place team will meet the fifth-place team. Home ice in the Conference Quarterfinals is granted to those teams seeded first through fourth.
The playoff qualifiers in the National Conference will be the top four teams with the highest regular-season point total from the North Division and the top four teams with the highest regular-season point total from the West Division. The Division Semifinals will be best-of-five series with the first-place finisher meeting the fourth-place finisher and the second-place finisher meeting the third-place finisher.