Picking up eight points of a possible 10 points last week, South Carolina improved to 34-24-7 and moved into fourth place in the South Division with 75 points. The Stingrays are four points ahead of Augusta (34-26-3) and Charlotte (34-24-3) who are tied for fifth place with 71 points.
South Carolina won the Kelly Cup in 1997 and 2001 and has reached the postseason in every one of its 13 seasons which is the league record for most playoff appearances and consecutive playoff appearances. The Stingrays will play at Augusta on Thursday.
Gwinnett moved from third place to first place after picking up six points last week, including a shootout win against Florida on Mar. 18. The Gladiators (38-19-7) have 83 points which is one point more than the Everblades (38-20-5) and two points ahead of Texas (36-20-9). Gwinnett, which is 7-2-1 in the last 10 games, travels to Texas on Friday and Saturday. Looking for their first trip to the Kelly Cup Playoffs since relocating to Beaumont in 2003-04, the Wildcatters have 29 more points than their best season in 2003-04 and have surpassed their highs with 35 wins, 19 road wins and 16 home wins. Texas was unable to play in 2005-06 in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
In the South Division, berths in the Kelly Cup Playoffs are 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 game series in the Division Quarterfinals with the winner advancing to meet the division leader 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 North Division.
Florida, which will host Columbia on Friday and Saturday, has advanced to the postseason every season since joining the league in 1998-99, including reaching the Kelly Cup Finals in 2004 and 2005.
Charlotte, which was 3-1-0 last week, plays at Pensacola on Tuesday, at Augusta on Friday and at South Carolina on Sunday. The Checkers are trying to reach the postseason three years in a row for the first time since advancing each of their first five seasons from 1994-98.
Looking for its first back-to-back Kelly Cup Playoffs appearances since 2000 and 2001, Augusta will host South Carolina on Thursday and Charlotte on Friday before traveling to Pensacola on Saturday.