Western Conference Finals Preview

Western Conference Finals (Best of Seven)

Allen Americans vs. Ontario Reign
Series Matchup Sheet

Allen is the first expansion team to reach the Conference Finals since Idaho in 2004 while Ontario is making its first appearance in the Conference Finals in its fifth postseason appearance.

The Americans eliminated Tulsa in five games in the Central Division Semifinals before dispatching Rapid City 4 games to 2 in the Central Division Finals. Allen led the ECHL in the regular season with 4.06 goals per game and the offensive attack has carried over to the postseason with a playoff-leading 4.27 goals per game average. The third period has been the Americans’ best during the playoffs as they have outscored their opponents 21-7 over the final 20 minutes. Greger Hanson leads Allen, and is tied for third overall in the playoffs, with 16 points (7g-9a) while Chad Costello (4g-11a), who won the ECHL regular-season scoring title with 125 points, and Spencer Asuchak (7g-8a) are tied for fifth with 15 points each. Riley Gill and Joel Rumpel have shared the goaltending duties for the Americans, with Gill recording five of the club’s eight wins through two rounds.

Ontario has reached the Western Conference Finals with a 4 games to 3 win over Colorado in the Pacific Division Semifinals, a series in which the Reign won both Games 6 and 7 on home ice, and a 4 games to 1 win over Utah in the Pacific Division Finals. The Reign went 22-9-5 on home ice during the regular season and have gone 5-1 at home during the playoffs, with five consecutive wins entering this series. Matt Register, who was named to the All-ECHL First Team and was runner-up for the Defenseman of the Year award, leads the Reign in the postseason with 14 points (6g-8a) while Garry Nunn, a late-season acquisition from Gwinnett, has added 13 points (5g-8a). In goal, Jussi Olkinuora has posted a 7-3 record in 11 appearances and ranks fourth with a 2.05 goals-against average.

Allen and Ontario met twice in the regular season, splitting a pair of meetings in Ontario in February.

The winner of the Western Conference Finals receives the Bruce Taylor Trophy. The trophy is named in recognition of Bruce Taylor, who was the founding father of the West Coast Hockey League. In the early 1990s, Taylor purchased teams in Fresno, Reno and Bakersfield and in 1995 joined them with teams in Anchorage, Fairbanks and San Diego to form the West Coast Hockey League. The Taylor Cup was presented to the playoff champion in the WCHL from the league’s inaugural season in 1995-96 until the league ceased operations following the 2002-03 season. Taylor’s ownership in hockey began in 1983 with the purchase of the Burnaby Bluehawks of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League and continued with the purchase of the Richmond Sockeyes in the BCJHL and the New Westminster Royals in the BCJHL.

Game 1 – Sunday, May 17 at 4:05 p.m. CT at Allen
Game 2 – Monday, May 18 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Allen
Game 3 – Thursday, May 21 at 7 p.m. PT at Ontario
Game 4 – Saturday, May 23 at 6 p.m. PT at Ontario
Game 5 – Sunday, May 24 at 6 p.m. PT at Ontario (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Tuesday, May 26 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Allen (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, May 27 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Allen (If Necessary)