6 Postseason Berths Remain, 9 Teams Still In Contention
PRINCETON, N.J. – Winning 2-1 against Louisiana, Mississippi qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the third straight season while Columbia clinched its second straight division title winning the Southern Division with a 2-1 shootout win at South Carolina.
While nine teams battle for the six remaining playoff berths, Wheeling, Louisiana and San Diego are all trying to secure division titles.
With a win or a regulation loss by Atlantic City, Wheeling will win its first division title since 1994-95 and also will clinch the Eastern Conference regular season title. The Nailers host Reading on Saturday and travel to Dayton on Sunday while Atlantic City plays at Toledo on Saturday and at Reading on Sunday.
Needing three points to win the Pacific Division, San Diego plays at Idaho on Saturday. The Gulls lead the division with 98 points, eight points ahead of Las Vegas which leads Idaho by six points. Las Vegas, which needs five points to secure second place in the division, hosts Bakersfield on Saturday.
Trenton, Reading Remain Tied In Battle For Final Northern Division Berth
Reading and Trenton both won their games on Friday and remain tied at 79 points 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. Trenton is 36-25-7 and had nine points (3-3-3) against Reading. Reading is 35-24-9 and had 12 points (6-3-0) against Trenton. Trenton visits Johnstown on Saturday while Reading will play at Wheeling on Saturday and will host Atlantic City on Sunday.
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.
Johnstown and Atlantic City are tied for third place in the Northern Division with 90 points, three points behind second-place Peoria. The defending Kelly Cup Champion, Atlantic City, has three games in hand on Peoria and two games in hand on Johnstown. Atlantic City plays at Toledo Saturday and at Reading on Sunday. Peoria hosts Dayton on Saturday and Toledo on Sunday. Johnstown hosts Trenton on Saturday and Cincinnati on Sunday.
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.
Columbus, Gwinnett, Pensacola Compete For Two Spots In Central Division
Pensacola and Gwinnett are tied for third in the Central Division with 83 points and both need seven points to secure a playoff berth. Pensacola hosts Texas on Saturday and plays at Texas on Sunday. Gwinnett plays at Louisiana, which needs six points to clinch the Central Division title, on Saturday and Sunday. Pensacola is looking to make its third consecutive postseason appearance while Gwinnett is looking to make its first playoff appearance in its first season in Georgia.
Looking to advance to the postseason for the first time in its three ECHL seasons, Columbus has 77 points and is six points out of the final playoff spot in the Central Division. The Cottonmouths host South Carolina on Saturday and travel to Mississippi on Sunday.
Four Remain In Hunt For Last Three Playoff Berths In Southern Division
Beating Florida 2-1 on Friday, Roanoke has 76 points and is two points out of the fourth and final playoff spot in the Southern Division. The Express, who have not missed the playoffs in their first 10 seasons, have won five games in a row and are 8-0-2 in their last 10 games. Roanoke travels to Greenville on Saturday before hosting Augusta on Sunday.
Greensboro is in second place in the division with 79 points, one point ahead of South Carolina and Florida, who are tied for third place with 78 points. In their fifth season, the Generals are looking to make their second straight appearance in the postseason after qualifying for the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the first time in 2003. Greensboro will host Florida on Sunday.
South Carolina, which has a game in hand on Greensboro and Roanoke and two games in hand on Florida, travels to Columbus on Saturday. The Stingrays are trying to qualify for the postseason for the 11th consecutive season, tying the ECHL record for playoff appearances.
Looking to qualify for the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the sixth time in its six-year history, Florida plays at Greensboro on Sunday.