South Division title, playoff seedings up for grabs
Entering the final week of the 2012-13 regular season, the 16-team field for the 2013 Kelly Cup Playoffs is set. But, teams still have plenty to play for as one division and playoff seeding is on the line heading into the weekend.
In the Eastern Conference, Reading is locked into the number one seed while Cincinnati is seeded second. The race for the South Division title and the number three seed has come down to Gwinnett and Florida. The Gladiators have 87 points and a six-point lead over the Everblades. Florida has four games remaining, visiting Orlando on Tuesday and Wednesday and hosting the Solar Bears on Friday and Saturday, while the Gladiators have just one game remaining, hosting Greenville on Saturday. Gwinnett has a magic number of two points to claim its second consecutive South Division title.
Click here for a look at the Kelly Cup Playoffs matchups, if the playoffs started today
Elmira sits in fourth place, the final home-ice advantage spot in the first round. The Jackals have 83 points and a two-point lead over Florida and are three ahead of South Carolina and Greenville.
In the Western Conference, the top four seeds are set with Alaska, Ontario, Idaho and Stockton receiving home-ice advantage in the Conference Quarterfinals. Once match-up is also in place as the Aces will take on eighth-seeded San Francisco in the opening round.
Las Vegas currently is in fifth place with 75 points, followed by Colorado with 72 and Utah with 67.
As many as three ECHL teams could reach the 100-point plateau this season. Alaska, which clinched its third consecutive Brabham Cup as regular-season champion on Saturday, surpassed the 100-point mark on Friday against Colorado. The Aces are the first team since Idaho in 2009-10 to record at least 100 points in a season, and are just the 27th team in the ECHL’s 25-year history to reach the mark.
Reading has two games remaining and needs two points to reach 100 for the first time in club history while Ontario, which is at Las Vegas on Tuesday and hosts the Aces on Friday and Saturday, is three points shy of the century mark.
The ECHL record for most teams reaching 100 points in a season is five, set in the 2005-06 season when Alaska (113), Las Vegas (112), Gwinnett (107), Florida (100) and Fresno (100) all reached the mark.
There have been two seasons where three teams recorded at least 100 points. In 2007-08, Cincinnati (115), Texas (115) and Las Vegas (106) reached the mark while in 2003-04, San Diego (108), Wheeling (106) and Atlantic City (100) all had at least 100 points.