April 7, 2008 - ECHL (ECHL)
The first round of the South Division will get underway on Tuesday
when third-seed Gwinnett hosts sixth-seed Charlotte and continues Wednesday
with top seed Texas hosting eighth-seed Mississippi and fourth-seed Florida
hosting fifth-seed Columbia. The final division series begins on Thursday
when second-seed South Carolina visits seventh-seed Augusta.
The South Division playoff series are all best-of-five games and teams will be re-seeded in order of points in the semifinals and finals.
Texas is making its second straight Kelly Cup Playoffs appearance after finishing 52-9-11 and 115 points, which is the second most in the 20-year history of the league, one behind the record of 116 by Louisiana in 2001-02. The Wildcatters will host Game 2 on Thursday before traveling to Mississippi for Game 3 on Saturday. Texas' nine regulation losses are the fewest in ECHL history breaking the record of 11 set by Richmond in 1995-96 while its 26 road wins tie the ECHL record by Louisiana in 2001-02 and its 52 wins are the sixth most in league history. The Wildcatters had three home losses, one shy of the league record by Louisiana in 2001-02, and six road losses, one more than the league mark of five by Las Vegas in 2006-07. Texas is 5-0-1 at home and 9-2-2 this season against Mississippi and 13-22-4 all-time against the Sea Wolves. Mississippi, which returned to the ice in 2007-08 after being forced to miss the last two seasons because of Hurricane Katrina, is making its eighth appearance in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. The Sea Wolves, who won the Kelly Cup in 1999, reached the postseason each of the last four years that they played from 2002-05 including the conference finals in 2002 and 2003. Mississippi is 3-3-1 at home against Texas this season and is 26-12-1 all-time against the Wildcatters.
South Carolina, which won the Kelly Cup in 1997 and 2001, is making its league record 14th postseason appearance after missing the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the first time ever last season. The Stingrays won their last seven games and 11 of its last 12 to finish with a team record 47 wins and 97 points which is the second-highest point total in the team's 15-year history. Augusta is making its third straight Kelly Cup Playoffs appearance which ties the record for consecutive appearances set by the Lynx in their first three seasons. The Lynx will host Game 2 on Saturday before traveling to South Carolina for Game 3 on Apr. 14. The Stingrays have won the last four meetings to improve to 7-3-0 this season, including 3-2-0 on the road, and 45-23-12 all-time against Augusta.
In the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the fifth time in five seasons since moving to Georgia, Gwinnett will host Game 2 on Thursday while Game 3 will be played on Saturday at the Extreme Ice Center in Indian Trail, N.C. on Saturday. The Gladiators, who reached the conference finals in 2004 and the Kelly Cup Finals in 2006, are 5-3-1 this season, including 3-1-0 at home, and 26-12-4 all-time against Charlotte. The Checkers are in the postseason for the fourth straight year, which is the most consecutive appearances since they advanced to the postseason in each of their first five seasons from 1994-98, and the 10th time in their 15-year history. Charlotte, which won the Riley Cup in 1996, is 3-1 against Gwinnett in the Kelly Cup Playoffs beating the Gladiators in the semifinals to reach the conference finals in 2005.
Florida, which has never missed the Kelly Cup Playoffs in its 10 seasons, hosts Game 2 on Friday before traveling to Columbia for Game 3 on Saturday. The Everblades, who reached the conference finals a year ago after advancing to the Kelly Cup Finals in 2004 and 2005, are 3-1-0 at home and 4-3-1 overall this year to improve to 29-15-8 all-time against Columbia. The Inferno, who return to the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2005 and the fifth time in their seven-year history, have won the last two meetings to improve to 4-3-1 this season, including 3-1-0 at home, 23-24-5 all-time against Florida.
Victoria Wins West Division, National Conference Begins Wednesday
Victoria posted back-to-back wins over Alaska to finish 42-23-7 and win the West Division with 91 points. The Salmon Kings, who are making their second straight appearance in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, finished one point ahead of Idaho, which beat Fresno in back-to-back games to finish 40-22-10 and 90 points.
The division title gives Victoria the second seed in the National Conference and a first round match-up with Bakersfield, which won seven of its last nine games to clinch its fourth straight postseason appearance. Games 1 and 2 are Thursday and Saturday at Victoria while Games 3 and 4 are Apr. 15 and 16 in Bakersfield. The Condors have won the last two meetings to improve to 3-3-3 in the season series and 17-8-3 all-time against Victoria. The Salmon Kings are 4-1-0 at home and 6-3-0 overall against Bakersfield this season.
Las Vegas is the top seed after going 47-13-12 and finishing first in the National Conference for the second straight year with 106 points. The Wranglers are the first team in the 20-year history of the ECHL to score 100 points in three consecutive seasons after having 112 points in 2005-06 and 106 points in 2006-07 when they won the league regular season title. Las Vegas meets Stockton, which clinched its postseason berth on the last day of the season, in the first round. Games 1 and 2 are Friday and Saturday at Las Vegas while Games 3 and 4 will be Apr. 13 and 18 in Stockton. The Wranglers are making their fourth appearance in the Kelly Cup Playoffs while Stockton is making its second consecutive appearance. Las Vegas has been eliminated in the postseason each year by the eventual Kelly Cup champion with Idaho in 2004 and 2007 and Alaska in 2006. The Wranglers have won the last two meetings and are 7-1-1, including 4-0-0 at home, against Stockton this season and 16-3-1 all-time against the Thunder.
Fresno is the third seed after finishing second in the National Conference with 92 points and a 42-22-8 record. The Falcons, who are making their third straight trip to the Kelly Cup Playoffs, meet Utah, which is in the postseason for the second time in three seasons after finishing fourth in the Pacific Division and sixth in the conference with 74 points and a 32-30-10 record. Fresno will host Games 1 and 2 on Apr. 13 and 14 with Games 3 and 4 at Utah on Apr. 16 and 18. The Falcons have won the last four meetings to improve to 6-3-1 in the season series and 13-8-1 all-time against Utah. The Grizzlies are 3-1-1 on the road and 4-4-2 overall this season and 9-9-4 all-time against Fresno.
The final match-up in the first round is between the winners of three of the last four Kelly Cup championships with fourth-seed Idaho at 40-22-10 and 90 points and fifth-seed Alaska at 41-26-5 and 87 points. The Steelheads are the defending champion and also captured the title as an expansion team in 2004 while the Aces won in 2006. Games 1 and 2 are in Idaho on Wednesday and Thursday with Games 3 and 4 in Alaska on Saturday and Sunday. Neither team has missed the Kelly Cup Playoffs since joining the league as expansion teams in 2003-04. Idaho has won 40 games in each of its first five seasons while Alaska has reached the conference finals each of the last three years. Idaho is 7-2 in the Kelly Cup Playoffs against Alaska after beating the Aces in five games in the conference finals in 2007 and in four games in the division finals in 2004. The Aces have won the last three regular season meetings to improve to 5-5-0 this season, including 3-2-0 at home, and 22-17-3 all-time against Idaho. The Steelheads are 3-0-2 at home and 5-3-2 overall this year and 20-17-5 all-time against Alaska.
Teams are not re-seeded in the National Conference and all series will be best-of-seven games.
North Division Playoffs Underway
The North Division opened the Kelly Cup Playoffs on Sunday when fourth-seed Johnstown won 3-1 at fifth-seed Dayton to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three series.
The two teams mutually agreed to begin the series on Sunday at Dayton as the Chiefs were in town for the final regular season game on Saturday. Game 2 is Tuesday at Johnstown with Game 3, if necessary, on Wednesday at Johnstown. The Chiefs are in the postseason for the third straight year for the first time since advancing in 2000, 2001 and 2002 and for the 13th time overall in their 20-year history. The Bombers are making back-to-back Kelly Cup Playoffs appearances for the first time since 2001 and 2002 and for the 13th time in their 17-year history. The winner advances to a best-of-seven series against Cincinnati, which hosts Games 1 and 2 on Friday and Saturday.
The Cyclones captured the regular season championship with 115 points which is the second most in the 20-year history of the league, one behind the record of 116 by Louisiana in 2001-02. Texas also finished with 115 points, but the Cyclones are declared the winner with 55 wins compared to 52 for the Wildcatters. The Cyclones were 55-12-5 while Texas was 52-9-11. Cincinnati's 55 wins are the second-most in ECHL history, one behind the record of 56 by Louisiana in 2001-02. The Cyclones set the ECHL record with 17 wins in a row from Jan. 16-29, breaking the record of 14 by Knoxville from Dec. 28, 1993-Jan. 29, 1994 and Louisiana from Nov. 23-Dec. 22, 2001. Cincinnati also had an ECHL season-high and team-record 14-game home winning streak from Jan. 5-Mar. 12.
Cincinnati is 8-1-1 this year, including 5-0-0 at home, and 27-12-5 all-time against the Chiefs, who have won the last two meetings with both at Johnstown. The Cyclones are 8-3-1 this season, including 4-2-0 at home, and 35-18-5 all-time against Dayton.
The other opening round match-up in the North Division is a best-of-seven series between Elmira, which finished second at 41-24-7 and 89 points, and Reading, which was third at 38-26-8 and 84 points. Game 1 is at Elmira on Friday and Game 2 is at Reading on Saturday. Game 3 is at Elmira on Apr. 15 and Game 4 is at Reading on Apr. 17. The Jackals are 4-1-0 at home and 5-4-2 overall against Reading. The Royals, who are in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the fourth time in the last five years, are 5-1-0 at home and 6-4-1 overall against Elmira.
2008 Kelly Cup Playoffs Schedule
American Conference North Division Quarterfinals (Best-of-Three)
#4 Johnstown vs. #5 Dayton
Johnstown Leads Series 1-0
Apr. 8 Dayton at Johnstown 7 p.m.
Apr. 9 Dayton at Johnstown 7 p.m. (if necessary)
American Conference North Division Semifinals (Best-of-Seven)
#2 Elmira vs. #3 Reading
Apr. 11 Reading at Elmira 7:35 p.m.
Apr. 12 Elmira at Reading 7:05 p.m.
Apr. 15 Reading at Elmira 7:05 p.m.
Apr. 17 Elmira at Reading 7:05 p.m.
Apr. 19 Reading at Elmira 7:35 p.m. (if necessary)
Apr. 20 Elmira at Reading 5:05 p.m. (if necessary)
Apr. 21 Reading at Elmira 7:05 p.m. (if necessary)
National Conference Quarterfinals (Best-of-Seven)
#1 Las Vegas vs. #8 Stockton
Apr. 11 Stockton at Las Vegas 7:05 p.m.
Apr. 12 Stockton at Las Vegas 7:05 p.m.
Apr. 13 Las Vegas at Stockton 6 p.m.
Apr. 18 Las Vegas at Stockton 7:30 p.m.
Apr. 20 Las Vegas at Stockton 4 p.m. (if necessary)
Apr. 22 Stockton at Las Vegas 7:05 p.m. (if necessary)
Apr. 23 Stockton at Las Vegas 7:05 p.m. (if necessary)
#2 Victoria vs. #7 Bakersfield
Apr. 10 Bakersfield at Victoria 7:05 p.m.
Apr. 12 Bakersfield at Victoria 7:05 p.m.
Apr. 15 Victoria at Bakersfield 7 p.m.
Apr. 16 Victoria at Bakersfield 7 p.m.
Apr. 19 Victoria at Bakersfield 7 p.m. (if necessary)
Apr. 22 Bakersfield at Victoria 7:05 p.m. (if necessary)
Apr. 23 Bakersfield at Victoria 7:05 p.m. (if necessary)
#3 Fresno vs. #6 Utah
Apr. 13 Utah at Fresno 5 p.m.
Apr. 14 Utah at Fresno 7 p.m.
Apr. 16 Fresno at Utah 7:05 p.m.
Apr. 18 Fresno at Utah 7:05 p.m.
Apr. 19 Fresno at Utah 7:05 p.m. (if necessary)
Apr. 21 Utah at Fresno 7 p.m. (if necessary)
Apr. 23 Utah at Fresno 7 p.m. (if necessary)
#4 Idaho vs. #5 Alaska
Apr. 9 Alaska at Idaho 7:10 p.m.
Apr. 10 Alaska at Idaho 7:10 p.m.
Apr. 12 Idaho at Alaska 7:15 p.m.
Apr. 13 Idaho at Alaska 7:15 p.m.
Apr. 15 Idaho at Alaska 7:15 p.m. (if necessary)
Apr. 17 Alaska at Idaho 7:10 p.m. (if necessary)
Apr. 20 Alaska at Idaho 7:10 p.m. (if necessary)
American Conference South Division Quarterfinals (Best-of-Five)
#1 Texas vs. #8 Mississippi
Apr. 9 Mississippi at Texas 7:05 p.m.
Apr. 10 Mississippi at Texas 7:05 p.m.
Apr. 12 Texas at Mississippi 7:05 p.m.
Apr. 13 Texas at Mississippi 5:05 p.m. (if necessary)
Apr. 16 Mississippi at Texas 7:05 p.m. (if necessary)
#2 South Carolina vs. #7 Augusta
Apr. 10 South Carolina at Augusta 7:05 p.m.
Apr. 12 South Carolina at Augusta 7:05 p.m.
Apr. 14 Augusta at South Carolina 7:05 p.m.
Apr. 15 Augusta at South Carolina 7:05 p.m. (if necessary)
Apr. 16 Augusta at South Carolina 7:05 p.m. (if necessary)
#3 Gwinnett vs. #6 Charlotte
Apr. 8 Charlotte at Gwinnett 7:05 p.m.
Apr. 10 Charlotte at Gwinnett 7:05 p.m.
Apr. 12 Gwinnett at Charlotte 7 p.m.
Apr. 14 Gwinnett at Charlotte 7:30 p.m. (if necessary)
Apr. 15 Charlotte at Gwinnett 7:05 p.m. (if necessary)
#4 Florida vs. #5 Columbia
Apr. 9 Columbia at Florida 7:30 p.m.
Apr. 11 Columbia at Florida 7:30 p.m.
Apr. 12 Florida at Columbia 7:05 p.m.
Apr. 14 Florida at Columbia 7:05 p.m. (if necessary)
Apr. 16 Columbia at Florida 7:30 p.m. (if necessary)