Division and playoff races heat up with two weeks to go

Four of the ECHL’s six divisions remain unsettled as the 2015-16 regular season enters the final two weeks of play.

In the East Division, Manchester has a nine-point lead over Adirondack, although the Thunder have two games in hand and two head-to-head meetings remain as the two teams will close the regular season with a home-and-home series on April 8 and 9. Reading is 10 points behind the Monarchs, and also has two games in hand.

South Carolina and Florida are separated by just one point in the South Division standings. The Stingrays, who have gone 18-2-4 in their last 24 games, sit on top of the division with 87 points, while the Everblades hold a game in hand. The two teams do not meet over the final two weeks of the season.

Fort Wayne leads Cincinnati by five points in the Midwest Division standings heading into a match-up at U.S. Bank Arena on Tuesday. Both teams have five games remaining entering the week.

In the West Division, Utah has closed to within one point of division-leading Idaho with the final head-to-head meeting of the season between the two teams set for Wednesday in Boise. Colorado, which won two games at Idaho over the weekend, sits five points behind the Steelheads and hosts Idaho for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday.

The race for the final playoff spots in both conferences is also heating up entering the final days of the regular season.

In the Western Conference, only Missouri has clinched a playoff berth, and there is just five points separating the teams in seventh through ninth place. Colorado’s 74 points is good for seventh place in the standings and a two-point lead over Quad City. Tulsa sits just outside of the playoff picture with 69 points, and plays three each of its next three games against the Eagles and Mallards.

The top four teams in the Eastern Conference have already secured their spots in the 2016 Kelly Cup Playoffs. There is just five points separating fifth place from 10th, which will lead to plenty of scoreboard watching over the final two weeks. Entering the week, Adirondack and Wheeling are tied for fifth place with 76 points each, while Reading is in seventh place with 75 and Elmira holds down the final playoff spot in the conference with 74 points. Orlando and Kalamazoo sit just off the pace with 71 points, with both teams holding games in hand on the Jackals.