PRINCETON, N.J. – Reading will be trying to clinch the North Division and Toledo will be trying to secure its berth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs when the two teams meet on Thursday in Reading. In other games on Thursday, Trenton and Mississippi will be trying to improve their postseason position.
Alaska clinched the West Division on Tuesday and it can clinch the National Conference with a victory in either of its remaining games at Las Vegas on Friday and Saturday. One of seven expansion teams that joined the ECHL in 2003-04, the Aces have set team records for wins (44), points (96), road wins (22), consecutive wins (6) and consecutive road wins (5) while tying the team record for home wins (22) and consecutive home wins (4).
Reading leads the North at 42-20-7 and 91 points, three points ahead of Atlantic City at 40-22-8 and four points ahead of Trenton at 39-21-9. Atlantic City and Trenton both qualified for the postseason on Tuesday when Reading beat Peoria 2-0. Toledo is in fourth place in the North at 40-24-5 and 85 points, three points ahead of Peoria at 37-25-8. The Royals, who can clinch the division with a win on Thursday, qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs as the fifth seed in 2004, the first postseason appearance since the team moved to Reading in 2001-02. After upsetting Johnstown in the Wild Card Game, the Royals beat division winner Wheeling in the Division Semifinals and Peoria in the Division Finals before losing to Florida in five games in the Conference Finals. The Royals are 3-1-0 at home and 5-2-1 overall against Toledo. Toledo, which is 5-1-0 in its last six games and 9-2-1 in its last 12 games, needs one point in its final three games to secure a return to the postseason for the first time since winning the regular season point title in 2002-03. The Storm is 1-3-0 at Reading and 3-5-0 overall against the Royals.
Trenton, which missed the playoffs for the first time in five seasons in 2003-04, will try to move past idle Atlantic City into second place when it hosts Wheeling on Thursday. The Titans are 1-2-0 at home and 2-4-2 overall against Wheeling.
In third place in the South Division and tied for third place in the American Conference at 39-23-7 and 85 points, Mississippi travels to Louisiana on Thursday. Mississippi has won the last three games at Louisiana to improve to 3-2-0 on the road and 6-3-1 overall against the IceGators.