With two weeks remaining in the 2010-11 ECHL regular season, a three-team race has developed for the Brabham Cup signifying the league’s regular-season champion. The Alaska Aces and Reading Royals are tied for the top overall spot with 85 points each while the Greenville Road Warriors are one point back with 84.
Alaska became the first team to clinch a division title on Saturday, and sits on top of the Western Conference with an overall record of 41-21-3. The team that finishes the regular season with the most points in the Western Conference earns a bye in the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Alaska won the Brabham Cup in 2005-06 finishing the regular season with 113 points on its way to the Kelly Cup championship. The Aces host Utah for three games this weekend before concluding the regular season with a three-game series in Victoria next weekend.
Reading clinched its first division title since 2004-05 with a 2-0 win at Elmira on Sunday. With a 40-20-5 record, the Royals are four wins shy of setting a new club record for wins in a season. Reading plays four games against South Division opponents this week, visiting Gwinnett on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday and Greenville on Thursday. The Royals end the season hosting Wheeling on March 30, visiting Trenton on April 1 and hosting the Devils on April 2.
Greenville has a magic number of two to clinch the South Division title. The Road Warriors are on the verge of moving into the top 10 of biggest single-season point increases in ECHL history. Last season in Johnstown, the team finished with 47 points and has already improved by 37 points, one point behind Toledo from 2001-02 to 2002-03 for the tenth best improvement in league history. The Road Warriors play at South Carolina on Tuesday and Sunday this week while hosting Reading on Thursday. Greenville concludes the regular season next week with a three-game series against Gwinnett.
There have been two occasions in ECHL history where two teams tied for the regular-season championship and the Brabham Cup was awarded based on tiebreakers. In 1989-90, Erie and Winston-Salem finished with identical 38-16-6 records with Erie winning the cup based on head-to-head tiebreaker. In 2007-08, Cincinnati and Texas each finished the regular season with 115 points. The Cyclones won the title by virtue of finishing with 55 wins, three more than the Wildcatters.