Important weekend of action ahead

 

Several key games are on the ECHL schedule tonight as just over two weeks remain in the 2012-13 regular season.

 

The Reading Royals host the Elmira Jackals tonight at Sovereign Center. Reading can clinch a berth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with a win, overtime/shootout loss or a Kalamazoo loss. The Royals have an 11-point lead over the Jackals for the top spot in the Atlantic Division, and picked up a key win at Elmira on Sunday. The Jackals have just two regulation losses in their last 10 games, and entering the weekend are in fifth place of the Eastern Conference standings.

 

Cincinnati can not only clinch a playoff berth tonight, but also the North Division title. The Cyclones will earn a spot in the postseason with a win, an overtime/shootout loss or a Kalamazoo loss, and will earn their first division title since 2008-09 with a win coupled with a Toledo loss.

 

Speaking of Toledo, the Walleye open a crucial three-game weekend series against Wheeling tonight at WesBanco Arena. Toledo is currently in possession of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 71 points, four points ahead of Kalamazoo and six points clear of the Nailers. Toledo has had success in the season series against Wheeling this season, posting a 5-0-1 record in the first six head-to-head meetings. After tonight’s match-up in Wheeling, the teams had to Toledo for a pair of games at Huntington Center on Saturday and Sunday.

 

Kalamazoo has won its last three games to pull to within four points of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The K-Wings, who play six of their final 10 games at home, host Fort Wayne tonight, travel to Evansville tomorrow and then return home on Sunday to take on Greenville.

 

The Road Warriors are in seventh place of the conference with 73 points, and are in the midst of a nine-game road trip. Greenville picked up a big two points on Wednesday with a 4-1 win at Toledo, and is back in action tonight at Evansville and travels to Fort Wayne tomorrow before Sunday’s game at Kalamazoo.

 

Gwinnett returned home last night after a nine-game road trip, and recorded a come-from-behind 5-4 win over Orlando. The win gave the Gladiators a two-point edge over Florida for first place in the South Division. The division race is the tightest in the league with the top four teams separated by just six points. The Gladiators host Orlando tonight and Sunday.