2015KellyCupPlayoffs_665x315_1

Division Semifinals Preview

 

North Division Semifinals (Best of Seven)

#1 Toledo Walleye (50-15-7) vs. #4 Wheeling Nailers (37-33-2)
Series Matchup Sheet

Toledo enters the postseason on the heels of a historic regular season turnaround that culminated with capturing the Brabham Cup as ECHL regular-season champion. One season after finishing with 49 points, the Walleye posted 107 points setting a league record with a 58-point improvement over last season. The Walleye are appearing in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the second time in the last three seasons while Wheeling has qualified for the postseason five times in the last seven seasons.

This is the fifth time that Toledo and Wheeling have matched up in the postseason, but the first time since 2006. Toledo has won three of the four previous meetings, including the 1993 Riley Cup Finals.

During the regular season, Toledo went 6-1-0 against the Nailers while Wheeling was 1-5-1 against the Walleye. Kyle Bonis led Toledo in the season series with five goals and seven points while Jeff Lerg went 3-0-0 with a 2.00 goals-against average. Wheeling was led in the season series by Riley Brace (3g-4a) and Derek Army (2g-5a) with seven points each.

The Walleye were tied for the league during the regular season with 26 home wins while their 24 road wins were tied for second overall. Toledo became the first team since 2007-08 to win at least 50 games during the regular season.

The Nailers won their final four games of the regular season, and went 7-3-0 in their last 10, to claim the final playoff spot in the North Division. Wheeling finished .500 or better for the seventh straight season.

Game 1 – Thursday, April 16 at 8:15 p.m. ET at Toledo
Game 2 – Saturday, April 18 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Toledo
Game 3 – Wednesday, April 22 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Wheeling
Game 4 – Friday, April 24 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Wheeling
Game 5 – Saturday, April 25 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Wheeling (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Tuesday, April 28 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Toledo (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 29 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Toledo (If Necessary)

#2 Fort Wayne Komets (48-18-6) vs. #3 Kalamazoo Wings (36-30-6)
Series Matchup Sheet

Fort Wayne returns to the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the second consecutive season while Kalamazoo has advanced to the postseason in five of its six seasons in the ECHL.

The two clubs met 15 times in the regular season with the Komets holding an 8-7-0 record and the K-Wings posting a 7-7-1 record in the head-to-head meetings. Shawn Szydlowski, who was named to the All-ECHL First Team, led Ford Wayne against the K-Wings with seven goals and 14 points while Kalamazoo was led by Matt Caria (6g-6a) and Eric Kattelus (2g-10a) with 12 points each.

Fort Wayne went 26-5-5 at home during the regular season, tying for the league lead in home wins, and went 13-0-3 over its final 16 games at home. The Komets were sixth in the league in both goals per game (3.49) and goals-against per game (2.78).

The K-Wings, who won six of the final eight head-to-head games in the season series against Fort Wayne, went 17-4-0 in their final 21 home games. As usual, Joel Martin was a workhorse in goal for Kalamazoo leading the league with 58 games played, 3,301 minutes and 1,604 saves.

Game 1 – Friday, April 17 at 8:05 p.m. ET at Fort Wayne
Game 2 – Saturday, April 18 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Fort Wayne
Game 3 – Wednesday, April 22 at 7 p.m. ET at Kalamazoo
Game 4 – Friday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Kalamazoo
Game 5 – Saturday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Kalamazoo (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Monday, April 27 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Fort Wayne (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 29 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Fort Wayne (If Necessary)

East Division Semifinals (Best of Seven)

#1 Florida Everblades (49-16-7) vs. #4 Orlando Solar Bears (37-25-10)
Series Matchup Sheet

After missing the postseason for the first time in team history last season, Florida returns to the Kelly Cup Playoffs fresh off its first division title since 2008-09 while Orlando is in the postseason for the second consecutive season.

Florida went 10-4-1 against the Solar Bears during the regular season while Orlando was 5-8-2 against the Everblades. Florida was led by Alex Lavoie’s six goals and Adam Brace’s 16 points (5g-11a) while Jacob Cepis led Orlando with six goals and 17 points.

The Everblades were one of just three ECHL teams to win at least 24 games at home and on the road during the regular season. Florida was third with 3.71 goals per game and got good offensive production from its blue line as All-ECHL First Team selection Mike Little was second among ECHL defensemen with 54 points (13g-41a) and All-ECHL Second Team pick Cameron Burt was fifth with 47 points (6g-41a).

Orlando was second during the regular season with 32.90 shots per game and was the league’s second-least penalized team with 13.18 penalty minutes per game. Goaltender Garret Sparks led the league with a .936 save percentage and was third with a 2.34 goals-against average.

Game 1 – Friday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Florida
Game 2 – Saturday, April 18 at 7 p.m. ET at Florida
Game 3 – Tuesday, April 21 at 7 p.m. ET at Orlando
Game 4 – Thursday, April 23 at 7 p.m. ET at Orlando
Game 5 – Saturday, April 25 at 7 p.m. ET at Orlando (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Monday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Florida (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Florida (If Necessary)

#2 South Carolina Stingrays (45-20-7) vs. #3 Reading Royals (45-21-6)
Series Matchup Sheet

South Carolina is appearing in the postseason for an ECHL record 21st time while Reading has qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs in each of the last six seasons and 10 times in the last 13 seasons.

It was a record-breaking regular season for South Carolina, as the Stingrays set an ECHL record with a 23-game winning streak from Feb. 7 through March 27, while also setting a league record with a 13-game road winning streak and tying the league mark with a 23-game unbeaten streak. South Carolina’s 12 shutouts as a team also established a new league mark.

Reading’s 45 wins in the regular season fell just one win short of the team record, which had been set in each of the previous two seasons. The Royals were fourth in the league with 3.60 goals per game.

During the season, the two teams met three times, with Reading winning two of the three match-ups.

South Carolina’s Jeff Jakaitis led the league during the season with seven shutouts, tied for the second most in a single season in ECHL history, and with a 1.96 goals-against average while ranking second with a .924 save percentage. Jakaitis also set a league record with a personal 16-game winning streak from Feb. 15 through April 2.

Olivier Labelle led Reading, and was tied for 11th overall in the league, with 71 points (30g-41a). Mike Marcou was tied for fourth among defensemen with 16 power-play assists.

Game 1 – Friday, April 17 at 7:05 p.m. ET at South Carolina
Game 2 – Saturday, April 18 at 7:05 p.m. ET at South Carolina
Game 3 – Thursday, April 23 at 7 p.m. ET at Reading
Game 4 – Saturday, April 25 at 7 p.m. ET at Reading
Game 5 – Sunday, April 26 at 5 p.m. ET at Reading (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Tuesday, April 28 at 7:05 p.m. ET at South Carolina (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 29 at 7:05 p.m. ET at South Carolina (If Necessary)

Central Division Semifinals (Best of Seven)

#1 Allen Americans (48-14-10) vs. #4 Tulsa Oilers (37-29-6)
Series Matchup Sheet

Allen and Tulsa meet in the Central Division Semifinals after a 17-game season series that saw the Americans go 12-4-1 and the Oilers 5-10-2.

The Americans ended the regular season on an 11-game unbeaten streak (9-0-2) and posted 24 wins both at home and on the road. Tulsa went 10-4-2 over its final 16 games in the regular season to sew up the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division.

ECHL scoring champion Chad Costello led Allen against the Oilers with 15 goals and 31 points while T.J. Caig paced Tulsa with 18 points (7g-11a).

The Americans were the highest-scoring team in the ECHL during the regular season with an average of 4.06 goals per game. Goaltender Riley Gill, who was the Most Valuable Player of the 2013 Kelly Cup Playoffs as he helped Reading capture the title, led the league in the regular season with 33 wins while ranking third in both minutes played (2,868) and saves (1,311).

The Oilers also put up strong offensive numbers, ranking seventh in the league with 3.44 goals per game. Adam Pleskach was tied for second in the league with 41 goals while Drew Fisher was tied for third in the league scoring race with 77 points (18g-59a). In goal, Kevin Carr was tied for third with 30 wins, which led all rookie goaltenders.

Game 1 – Tuesday, April 14 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Allen
Game 2 – Wednesday, April 15 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Allen
Game 3 – Friday, April 17 at 7:35 p.m. CT at Tulsa
Game 4 – Saturday, April 18 at 7:35 p.m. CT at Tulsa
Game 5 – Tuesday, April 21 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Allen (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Thursday, April 23 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Tulsa (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Sunday, April 26 at 4:05 p.m. CT at Allen (If Necessary)

#2 Rapid City Rush (37-28-7) vs. #3 Quad City Mallards (37-28-7)
Series Matchup Sheet

Rapid City went 23-8-5 over its final 36 games of the regular season to clinch second place in the Central Division while Quad City won its final three games to finish in third place.

The two teams met 13 times in the regular season with Rapid City going 5-5-3 against the Mallards and Quad City holding an 8-4-1 mark against the Rush. Daniel Barczuk led Rapid City in the season series with six goals and 10 points while Mario Lamoureux led the way for Quad City with 12 points (2g-10a). Joe Perry paced the Mallards with seven goals.

Jesse Schultz was the Rush’s leading scorer this season, finishing tied for third in the ECHL with 77 points (34g-43a) in 70 games. Cody Ferriero was a key signing at midseason as he finished tied for 12th among ECHL rookies with 45 points (20g-25a) despite playing in just 39 games.

The Mallards were fourth in the ECHL during the regular season with 2.58 goals-against per game. Parker Milner was second overall in the league with a 2.28 goals-against average and was tied for fourth with a .920 save percentage. Matt Duffy led all defensemen in the league with nine power-play goals.

Game 1 – Friday, April 17 at 7:05 p.m. MT at Rapid City
Game 2 – Saturday, April 18 at 7:05 p.m. MT at Rapid City
Game 3 – Wednesday, April 22 at 6 p.m. CT at Quad City
Game 4 – Friday, April 24 at 7 p.m. CT at Quad City
Game 5 – Saturday, April 25 at 7 p.m. CT at Quad City (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Tuesday, April 28 at 6:35 p.m. MT at Rapid City (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 29 at 6:35 p.m. MT at Rapid City (If Necessary)

Pacific Division Semifinals (Best of Seven)

#1 Idaho Steelheads (48-18-6) vs. #4 Utah Grizzlies (37-27-8)
Series Matchup Sheet

The two teams with the longest active postseason streaks meet in the playoffs for the first time. Idaho has reached the Kelly Cup Playoffs in each of its 12 seasons in the ECHL while Utah is appearing in the postseason for the ninth consecutive season.

Idaho tied its club record with 48 wins during the regular season and captured its first division title since 2009-10. Utah won seven of its final 10 games in the regular season, clinching the final playoff spot in the Pacific Division on the next to last day of the season.

The Steelheads went 7-3-3 against Utah during the regular season while the Grizzlies posted a 6-6-1 mark against Idaho. All-ECHL First Team selection Wade MacLeod was Idaho’s leading scorer against the Grizzlies with nine goals and 19 points. Mathieu Aubin led Utah against the Steelheads with 11 points (3g-8a).

Depsite missing a large chunk of the second half of the season due to injury, Idaho’s Olivier Roy still ranked among the league leaders, finishing seventh with a 2.44 goals-against average, tied for seventh with 25 wins and tied for third with four shutouts. The Steelheads were a league-best 39-4-4 when scoring the game’s first goal.

Utah’s Alex Krushelnyski, who won the Fastest Skater competition at the 2015 ECHL All-Star Classic, was tied for second among ECHL rookies with 40 assists and was sixth among first-year players with 57 points. The Grizzlies played in a league-high 38 games that were decided by one goal, going 22-8-8 in those contests.

Game 1 – Wednesday, April 15 at 7:10 p.m. MT at Idaho
Game 2 – Friday, April 17 at 7 p.m. MT at Utah
Game 3 – Saturday, April 18 at 7 p.m. MT at Utah
Game 4 – Friday, April 24 at 7:10 p.m. MT at Idaho
Game 5 – Saturday, April 25 at 7:10 p.m. MT at Idaho (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Monday, April 27 at 7 p.m. MT at Utah (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 29 at 7:10 p.m. MT at Idaho (If Necessary)

#2 Ontario Reign (43-19-10) vs. #3 Colorado Eagles (41-23-8)
Series Matchup Sheet

Both Ontario and Colorado are in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. The Reign surpassed 40 wins for the fourth straight season while Colorado set a club record with 41 wins this season.

Ontario was 6-4-3 against the Eagles in the regular season while Colorado went 7-5-1 against the Reign. Judd Blackwater (6g-7a) and Tristan King (1g-12a) led Ontario in the season series with 13 points each while Maxim Kitsyn led the way with eight goals. Colorado was led by Trent Daavettila who tallied 16 points (3g-13a) and Brock Nixon who recorded six goals.

Reign goaltender Jussi Olkinuora finished the season fifth in the league with 27 wins and was tied for fifth with a 2.41 goals-against average. Matt Register, who was named to the All-ECHL First Team, was tied for third among defensemen with 14 goals and 50 points.

Daavettila was tied for third in the league with 53 assists and was third with 20 power-play assists and 26 power-play points. Despite playing only 48 games due to being loaned to Iowa of the American Hockey League since early February, Collin Bowman ended the season second among defensemen with 15 goals and tied for 14th with 38 points.

Game 1 – Thursday, April 16 at 7 p.m. PT at Ontario
Game 2 – Friday, April 17 at 7 p.m. PT at Ontario
Game 3 – Sunday, April 19 at 7:05 p.m. MT at Colorado
Game 4 – Wednesday, April 22 at 7:05 p.m. MT at Colorado
Game 5 – Friday, April 24 at 7:05 p.m. MT at Colorado (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Monday, April 27 at 7 p.m. PT at Ontario (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Tuesday, April 28 at 7 p.m. PT at Ontario (If Necessary)

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Click here to see the complete schedule for the Division Semifinals of the 2015 Kelly Cup Playoffs, and click here to view the 2015 Kelly Cup Playoffs bracket.