Idaho Clinches Berth In 2004 Kelly Cup Playoffs

With its 3-2 win against Long Beach on March 10, Idaho became the third team from the Pacific Division and the fourth team overall to qualify for the postseason. The Steelheads join San Diego and Las Vegas in the Pacific Division and Wheeling from the Northern Division in the 2004 Kelly Cup Playoffs. Alaska can clinch the final Pacific Division playoff berth with a win at South Carolina on Tuesday.

Louisiana is 45-17-2 with 92 points and can become the first team in the Central Division to secure a Kelly Cup Playoff spot on Wednesday. The IceGators need only one point to qualify for the postseason for the ninth time in their nine-year history. Six points separates four teams vying for the other three playoff berths in the Central Division. Mississippi is 36-19-7 and in second place with 79 points while Pensacola is 34-20-8 and in third place with 76 points. Gwinnett is 34-19-7 and in fourth place with 75 points, two points ahead of Columbus with 73 points and a 34-23-5 record. Gwinnett has two games in hand on Columbus, Mississippi and Pensacola.

Mississippi hosts Pensacola on March 16 before traveling to Louisiana on March 19 and Texas on March 20 and 21. Pensacola plays at Mississippi on March 16, at Texas on March 19 and at Louisiana on March 20. Gwinnett will host Augusta on March 16, Florence on March 19 and Columbia on March 21 while traveling to Augusta on March 20. Columbus hosts Louisiana on March 17, Greenville on March 19 and Florence on March 20.

Columbus is looking for its first postseason berth in three seasons in the ECHL while the Gladiators are looking to qualify for the playoffs in their first season in Gwinnett. Mississippi and Pensacola are both looking to make their third straight Kelly Cup Playoff appearance.

Looking for its second consecutive division title, Columbia leads the Southern Division with 81 points and a 37-19-7 record. Florida is in second place with 74 points and a 32-23-10 record, three points ahead of Greensboro (35-25-1) and South Carolina (34-24-3) and five points ahead of fifth place Charlotte (31-25-7). Greensboro and South Carolina each have four games in hand on Florida and two games in hand on both Columbia and Charlotte.

Columbia hosts Charlotte on March 16 before traveling to Roanoke on March 19, Greenville on March 20 and Gwinnett on March 21. Greensboro will host Greenville on March 17 before visiting Florida for games on March 19 and 20. South Carolina hosts Alaska on March 16 and 19 before visiting Roanoke on March 20 while Charlotte will play at Columbia on March 16 and at Augusta on March 19 before hosting Alaska on March 20.

Columbia has qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs each of its first two seasons advancing to the Kelly Cup Finals in 2004. Florida has qualified for the postseason in each of its first five seasons while South Carolina has not missed the playoffs in its 10-year history. Greensboro is trying to make its second straight and the second postseason appearance in its five seasons while Charlotte is trying to return to the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2001-02.

Five teams are battling for the four remaining playoff spots in the Northern Division. The fourth place and the fifth place finishers in the Northern Division will play a Wild Card Game on April 5 with the winner advancing to meet the first place finisher in the best-of-five Northern Division Semifinals. Atlantic City is in second place with 87 points and a 41-15-5 record, one point ahead of Peoria with 86 points and a 39-17-8 record and six points ahead of Johnstown with 82 points and a 38-19-6. Reading is in fifth place with 71 points and a 31-22-9 record, two points ahead of Trenton with 69 points and a 31-24-7 record. The defending Kelly Cup Champion, Atlantic City has three games in hand on Peoria, two games in hand on Johnstown and one game in hand on both Reading and Trenton. Reading and Trenton each have two games in hand on Peoria and one game in hand on Johnstown which has one game in hand on Peoria.

Atlantic City hosts Johnstown on March 17 and Peoria on March 19 before visiting Trenton on March 21. Peoria will visit Reading on March 16, Trenton on March 17 and Atlantic City on March 19. Johnstown, which has set team records for points (82) and home wins (24), will travel to Atlantic City on March 17 and Cincinnati on March 20 before returning home on March 21 to host Dayton. Reading, which is 0-5-1 in its last six home games and 0-7-1 in its last eight games, hosts Peoria on March 16 before traveling to Toledo on March 17 and Trenton on March 19 and 20.

The Boardwalk Bullies have qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs each of their first two seasons in Atlantic City, winning the ECHL Championship in 2003 and advancing to the Northern Conference Finals in 2002. Peoria has never missed the postseason in its seven-year history while Johnstown is looking to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2001-02. Trenton has not missed the Kelly Cup Playoffs in each of its first four seasons while Reading has not advanced to the postseason in each of its first two years in the ECHL.