Key head-to-head match ups on tap this week
Several key head-to-head match ups are on tap in the ECHL this week that will help decide division championships and playoff positioning as the season heads into the home stretch.
In the South Division, Gwinnett owns a two-point lead over Greenville not only for the division lead, but for the top spot in the Eastern Conference as well. The Gladiators picked up a pair of wins against the Road Warriors last week, and will host Greenville on Saturday in the first of three meetings over the next week. The two clubs have nearly matched each other in the season series with Gwinnett holding a 7-6-1 mark against the Road Warriors, who have gone 7-5-2 against the Gladiators.
Elmira enters the week with a four-point edge over Wheeling for first place in the Atlantic Division. The Nailers, who have one game in hand, travel to First Arena on Sunday for the first of three head-to-head-meetings against the Jackals over the final two weeks of the season. Elmira is 6-4-1 against the Nailers this season while Wheeling has posted a 5-3-3 mark against the Jackals.
Four teams are battling for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. Florida, which has gone 6-3-1 in its last 10 games, holds the seventh spot with 69 points while Cincinnati is in the eighth and final spot with 67 points. The Everblades have started their seven-game northern road trip with a 2-1-0 record, and play at Reading on Wednesday and Sunday. The Royals are in ninth place of the conference with 65 points, trailing Cincinnati by two and Florida by four points. Florida and Reading have met four times this season, with the Everblades holding a 2-1-1 record while the Royals have gone 2-2-0.
In the Western Conference, the Alaska Aces have the chance to become the first team in the league to clinch a division championship as they open a three-game series in Colorado on Wednesday. The Aces have a magic number of six points to win their second consecutive Mountain Division title, and their sixth division title in nine ECHL seasons.
Stockton hosts Utah on Saturday and Sunday, in a pair of games that will help determine seeding in the Western Conference. The Grizzlies, who defeated Stockton at home on Friday and Saturday, enter the week in sixth place in the conference, just four points behind the Thunder.