Playoff races heating up as season enters home stretch
March 30, 2015 - ECHL (ECHL) News Release
With two weeks remaining in the 2014-15 ECHL regular season, each of the league's four divisions features a race for the final remaining playoff spots.
In the North Division, Toledo and Fort Wayne continue to battle for the top spot. The Walleye have a two-point lead on the Komets, as well as a game in hand. Kalamazoo took two of three games in Colorado over the weekend to strengthen their grip on third place with 71 points, while Wheeling currently owns the final playoff spot in the division with 68 points. The Nailers are three points clear of Cincinnati and have a five-point lead on Indy.
The Florida Everblades lead the East Division, and with 99 points are holding down the top spot in the ECHL. Florida's magic number to clinch the division title is three points over Reading. Thanks to their league-record 23-game winning streak, which ended on Saturday at Indy, the South Carolina Stingrays have moved into second place in the division with 91 points, one point ahead of the Royals. Orlando is in fourth place in the East Division with 78 points, and has a four-point lead on Greenville for the final playoff spot in the division.
Allen remains the only team in the league to have clinched a division title. The Americans sit atop the Central Division with 95 points. Rapid City has used a 14-2-2 run in its last 18 games to move into second place with 77 points, which is two point ahead of third-place Quad City. Tulsa has a five-point lead on Wichita for the final playoff spot in the Central Division.
Three of the four playoff spots in the Pacific Division have been claimed. Idaho leads the way with 96 points, and has a magic number of one point to claim the division title. Ontario is in second place with 87 points, one point ahead of Colorado. Alaska has moved into fourth place in the division with five straight wins, one point ahead of Utah. The Grizzlies and Aces meet in a crucial two-game series at the Maverik Center on Friday and Saturday this week.
Toledo on verge of historic turnaround
One season after totaling just 49 points, the Toledo Walleye lead the North Division with 96 points and are closing in on ECHL history.
Toledo's current 47-point turnaround is tied for the fifth-best improvement from the previous season in ECHL history with the Wheeling Nailers, who improved from 59 points in 2002-03 to 106 points in 2003-04. The Walleye need four points in their final seven games to set a new league record for the best turnaround. The current record of a 50-point improvement is shared by two teams: the Greenville Grrrowl went from 33 points in 2003-04 to 83 points in 2004-05 and the Knoxville Cherokees improved from 44 points in 1992-93 to 94 points in 1993-94.
Christie moves up on all-time wins list
Ontario Reign head coach Jason Christie moved into third place in ECHL history on Friday with his 478th career win in a 5-1 win at Bakersfield. He added to the total on Saturday in the Reign's 6-3 victory against the Condors.
Christie's 479 all-time wins are just one behind 2009 ECHL Hall of Fame inductee John Brophy for second-place in league history. John Marks, a 2012 inductee into the ECHL Hall of Fame, is the all-time leader with 491 career wins.
In 12 seasons as an ECHL coach with Peoria, Utah and Ontario, Christie is 479-281-97 and this season will mark his 11th appearance in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
A look ahead
Games to watch in the ECHL during the week ahead. Watch ECHL games live on ECHL.TV.
Wheeling at Kalamazoo (Saturday)
The Nailers and K-Wings enter the week holding the final two playoff spots in the North Division. They will look to solidify their positioning on the penultimate Saturday of the regular season.
Alaska at Utah (Friday and Saturday)
The Aces have won five straight games to move one point ahead of the Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the Pacific Division.
- Joe Basaraba is tied for second among rookies with five game-winning goals.
- The Cyclones are tied for fourth with four shorthanded goals against.
- Cincinnati hosts Toledo on Tuesday, Indy on Friday and Evansville on Saturday.
- Robin Soudek leads the IceMen with 17 goals and 36 points.
- Evansville is 10-2-2 when leading after two periods.
- The IceMen visit Fort Wayne on Wednesday, Wheeling on Friday and Cincinnati on Saturday.
- Eric Faille is on an 11-game point streak (12g-10a).
- The Komets are 31-11-4 when outshooting their opponent.
- Fort Wayne hosts Evansville on Wednesday and Elmira on Friday before visiting Indy on Saturday.
- Nick Bruneteau leads ECHL rookies with 14 power-play assists while Pete Massar ranks second with 13.
- Indy is tied for third on the power play at 20.4 percent (53-for-260).
- The Fuel host Toledo on Wednesday, are at Cincinnati on Friday and host Fort Wayne on Saturday.
- Ludwig Blomstrand has scored 23 goals in his last 28 games.
- The K-Wings are 10-3-0 at home since Jan 1.
- Kalamazoo hosts Toledo on Friday and Wheeling on Saturday.
- Kyle Bonis has 14 points (7g-7a) in 15 games during March.
- Toledo leads the league on the power play (24.9 percent) and the penalty kill (88.1 percent).
- The Walleye are at Cincinnati on Tuesday, Indy on Wednesday and Kalamazoo on Friday before hosting Elmira on Saturday.
- Cody Wydo had at least one point in each of the three games over the weekend after making his pro debut on Friday.
- The Nailers are 22-for-23 on the penalty kill (95.7 percent) over their last six games.
- Wheeling visits Elmira on Wednesday, hosts Evansville on Friday and is at Kalamazoo on Saturday.
- Steven Shamanski has set a new Jackals' single-season team record for goals by a defenseman with 14.
- Elmira is the only team in the league to have not lost in overtime this season (5-0-0).
- The Jackals host Wheeling on Wednesday and are at Fort Wayne on Friday, Toledo on Saturday and Indy on Sunday.
- Adam Brace has at least one point in 16 of his last 18 games.
- The Everblades lead the league with 24 road wins (24-7-4).
- Florida hosts Reading on Wednesday and Friday and South Carolina on Saturday.
- Michael St. Croix is on a five-game point streak (4g-4a).
- Greenville leads the league with seven wins when trailing after two periods.
- The Road Warriors host Gwinnett on Thursday and Friday and visit the Gladiators on Saturday.
- Greg Carey leads Gwinnett with 15 goals.
- The Gladiators are 14-3-1 when leading after two periods.
- Gwinnett is at Greenville on Thursday and Friday and hosts the Road Warriors on Saturday.
- Bryce Aneloski earned his 50th career assist with the Solar Bears on Thursday at Greenville.
- Orlando is 12-3-4 in its last 19 games.
- The Solar Bears host South Carolina on Thursday and Friday and Reading on Saturday.
- Brett Flemming has five goals in his last seven games.
- The Royals have reached the 90-point plateau for the fourth time in the last five seasons.
- Reading is at Florida on Wednesday and Friday and Orlando on Saturday.
- Keegan Asmundson made 21 saves to record a shutout and his first pro win on Sunday at Evansville.
- South Carolina has tied the ECHL single-season record with 11 shutouts this season.
- The Stingrays are at Orlando on Thursday and Friday and Florida on Saturday.
- Tanner Eberle scored his first pro goal in his pro debut on Friday against Missouri.
- The Americans are 17-3-4 when outshot by their opponent.
- Allen is at Tulsa on Tuesday and Wichita on Wednesday before hosting Brampton on Friday.
- Mathew Maione is second among rookie defensemen with 12 goals.
- Brampton is 11-1-3 in one-goal games.
- The Beast are at Quad City on Wednesday, Allen on Friday and Wichita on Saturday.
- Chris Owens scored his first pro goal on Sunday against Quad City.
- The Mavericks are 17-0-2 when leading after two periods.
- Missouri visits Rapid City on Wednesday and Tulsa on Friday and Saturday.
- Kevin Baker has 15 points (9g-6a) in his last 11 games.
- Quad City has allowed three goals or less in each of its last 15 games.
- The Mallards host Brampton on Wednesday and visit Rapid City on Friday and Saturday.
- Mathieu Brisebois is tied for seventh among defensemen with 42 points (11g-31a).
- The Rush are 14-2-2 in their last 18 games.
- Rapid City hosts Quad City on Friday and Saturday.
- Phil Brewer scored his first pro goal on Sunday at Wichita.
- Tulsa is tied for seventh with 3.50 goals per game.
- The Oilers host Allen on Tuesday and Missouri on Friday and Saturday.
- Mike Wilson leads defensemen with 22 power-play points (6g-16a).
- The Thunder are third with 27.78 shots-against per game.
- Wichita hosts Allen on Wednesday and Brampton on Saturday.
- Troy Redmann went 5-0-0 with a 2.48 goals against average and .913 save percentage in March.
- Alaska is 16-6-3 since Feb. 1.
- The Aces are at Idaho on Wednesday and Utah on Friday and Saturday.
- Sebastien Sylvestre is the sixth rookie in team history to score at least 20 goals in a season.
- The Condors are 16-0-1 when leading after two periods.
- Bakersfield visits Ontario on Wednesday and Friday.
- Trent Daavettila is tied for third with 24 power-play points (6g-18a).
- Colorado is sixth on the penalty kill at 85.0 percent (244-for-287).
- The Eagles are at Idaho on Friday and Saturday.
- Wade MacLeod leads the league with 19 goals since Feb. 4.
- The Steelheads have scored the most (82) and allowed the fewest (35) first-period goals in the ECHL.
- Idaho hosts Alaska on Wednesday and Colorado on Friday and Saturday.
- Matt Register is tied for fifth among defensemen with 43 points (13g-30a).
- Ontario is third with 2.56 goals-against per game.
- The Reign host Bakersfield on Wednesday and Friday and Stockton on Saturday.
- Garet Hunt became Stockton's all-time leading scorer with his 157th career point on Saturday against Alaska.
- The Thunder have scored at least one power-play goal in their last four games.
- Stockton is at Ontario on Saturday.
- Jacob Johnston is tied for ninth among defensemen with 40 points (10g-30a).
- Utah is 25-5-6 when scoring first.
- The Grizzlies host Alaska on Friday and Saturday.
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ECHL Stories from March 30, 2015
- Henry Returns from AHL; Sandlak Reassigned to Charlotte - Florida Everblades
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- ECHL Transactions - March 30 - ECHL
- Fuel Weekly - Indy Fuel
- Regular Season Home Finales Friday, Saturday - Utah Grizzlies
- Oil Drops: Tulsa Oilers Weekly Report - Tulsa Oilers
- Mallards Weekly Update - Quad City Mallards
- Wheeling Nailers Weekly Report - Wheeling Nailers
- Defenseman Maxim Lamarche Reassigned to Reading - Reading Royals
- Road Warriors Weekly Report - Greenville Swamp Rabbits
- Jackals Weekly - Elmira Jackals
- Walleye Weekly - Toledo Walleye
- Frozen in Time-The Weekly IceMen Update - Evansville IceMen
- Playoff races heating up as season enters home stretch - ECHL
- Cyclones Weekly - Cincinnati Cyclones
- Fuel Add Defenseman Andy Simpson - Indy Fuel
- Komets Snag Four Points for Week 24 - Fort Wayne Komets
- Stingrays Weekly: Stingrays Fight for Postseason Home-Ice Advantage with Tilts against Division Riva - South Carolina Stingrays
- Aces sweep Stockton to seize final playoff spot with six games left - Alaska Aces
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