Six Teams Still Alive For Final Four Postseason Spots
PRINCETON, N.J. – With Mississippi’s 4-3 shootout win at Columbus, Gwinnett and Pensacola secured the final two Central Division berths for the 2004 Kelly Cup Playoffs. Gwinnett won 3-2 in a shootout at Greensboro on Tuesday while Pensacola won 5-4 in overtime at Texas on Tuesday.
It is the third consecutive Kelly Cup Playoffs appearance for the Ice Pilots and the sixth time in eight seasons that Pensacola has qualified for the postseason. Gwinnett is making its first Kelly Cup Playoffs appearance in its first season in Georgia.
Because of poor ice conditions, Mississippi and Columbus were forced to postpone their game on Tuesday with Columbus leading 3-2 after two periods. Following a 13-hour delay, the third period was played on Wednesday morning and the Sea Wolves tied the game on a goal by Anthony Battaglia and following a scoreless overtime won in a shootout.
Louisiana is 47-21-2 and in first place in the Central Division with 96 points while Mississippi is 43-19-7 and in second place with 93 points. Gwinnett and Pensacola are tied for third place with 87 points. The first tiebreaker used in determining a berth in the postseason is wins, the second is head-to-head points, the third is head-to-head wins and the fourth is goal differential. Gwinnett is 40-22-7 with two points (1-1-0) against Pensacola and it outscored the Ice Pilots 10-8. Pensacola is 39-21-9 and had two points against Gwinnett (1-1-0).
Trenton beat Atlantic City 3-1 on Tuesday giving the Titans 81 points and a one-point lead on Reading for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Northern Division. The first tiebreaker used in determining a berth in the postseason is wins while the second is head-to-head points. Reading is 35-25-10 and had 12 points (6-3-0) against Trenton while Trenton is 37-26-7 and had nine points (3-3-3) against Reading. Trenton hosts Wheeling on Friday and Johnstown on Saturday. Reading will host Johnstown on Friday and Toledo on Saturday. Trenton has not missed the postseason in each of its first four seasons while Reading is looking to make the playoffs for the first time in its three-year history.
The fourth-place finisher and fifth-place finisher in the Northern Division will meet in a Wild Card Game on April 5 with the winner advancing to meet the first-place finisher in the Northern Division Semifinals. The best-of-five division semifinals will be played April 6-15 while the best-of-five division finals are scheduled to be played April 16-25. The best-of-five conference finals will be played April 27-May 8 with the best-of-seven Kelly Cup Finals scheduled for May 10-23.
Battling for the three remaining postseason berths in the Southern Division are Florida, Greensboro, Roanoke and South Carolina, who are all tied for second place with 80 points.
South Carolina, which won 3-0 against Augusta on Tuesday, is 38-27-4 and will travel to Greenville on Thursday. The Stingrays will host Columbia, which has clinched its second straight division title, on Friday and Greensboro on Saturday. The Stingrays are trying to qualify for the postseason for the 11th consecutive season, tying the ECHL record for playoff appearances.
Winning seven games in a row and going 10-0-2 in its last 12 games, Roanoke is 36-26-8 and also has never missed the postseason and is also looking to qualify for the 11th consecutive year. The Express will host Charlotte on Friday and Greenville on Saturday.
Greensboro, which lost 4-3 in a shootout against Gwinnett on Tuesday, is 39-29-2 and is looking make a second straight appearance in the postseason after qualifying for the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the first time in 2003. The Generals travel to Florence on Friday and to South Carolina on Saturday.
In its sixth season, Florida is 35-25-10 and has never missed the postseason. The Everblades will host Augusta on Friday and Saturday.