Preview of ECHL Conference Finals
May 9, 2019 - ECHL (ECHL) News Release
Eastern Conference Finals (Best of Seven)
Florida Everblades vs. Newfoundland Growlers
The top two teams in the Eastern Conference during the regular season meet with a spot in the Kelly Cup Finals up for grabs. Florida finished on top of the conference in the regular season, and was second overall in the ECHL, with a 50-16-6 record for 106 points while Newfoundland was third overall in the league with a 43-21-8 record for 94 points.
Florida is appearing in the Conference Finals for the second consecutive season, and for the sixth time in team history. The Everblades have advanced to the Kelly Cup Finals four times (2004, 2005, 2012 and 2018), capturing the Kelly Cup title in 2012. Florida defeated Jacksonville 4 games to 2 in the South Division Semifinals and Orlando 4 games to 1 in the South Division Finals. The Everblades lead the postseason with 1.73 goals-against per game and after finishing second in the league during the regular season with 27 home wins, Florida is 4-1 at Hertz Arena in the playoffs, having outscored its opponents 16-8.
Blake Winiecki leads the Everblades in the postseason with 12 points (8g-4a), which leads all rookies across the league and is tied for fifth overall. Ben Masella has added 10 points (4g-6a) to lead all defensemen in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Callum Booth has posted a 6-1 record in his seven appearances with one shutout, and a playoff-leading 1.14 goals-against average and a .960 save percentage. Booth has allowed two goals or less in each of his seven outings.
Newfoundland captured the North Division regular-season title and has advanced to the Conference Finals in its first season in team history. The Growlers have won a pair of six-game series in the first two rounds, defeating Brampton in the North Division Semifinals and Manchester in the North Division Finals. Newfoundland has also fared well on home ice during the postseason with a 5-1 record. The Growlers have gone 5-0 when scoring the first goal of game during their playoff run.
Zach O'Brien is tied for second among all players in the playoffs with 10 goals and is third with 18 points. Marcus Power has 11 points (2g-9a) to rank second among rookies while Michael Garteig has gone 8-4 in goal with a 2.42 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. Garteig ranks second among goaltenders in the playoffs in minutes played (744) and saves (358).
The two teams split a pair of meetings in St. John's during the opening weekend of the 2018-19 regular season. Kyle Platzer led Florida in the two games with two goals, while Power and Scott Pooley shared the Growlers' lead with two points each.
The winner of the Eastern Conference Finals receives the E.A. "Bud" Gingher Memorial Trophy. The trophy is named in recognition of E.A. "Bud" Gingher, who was Chairman of the ECHL Board of Governors from 1992-95. Gingher, who passed away in 2002, co-founded the Dayton Bombers in 1991 and owned the team for seven seasons, serving as President and Governor until selling the team in 1998. Gingher was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2009.
Game 1 - Friday, May 10 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Florida
Game 2 - Saturday, May 11 at 7 p.m. ET at Florida
Game 3 - Wednesday, May 15 at 7 p.m. NT at Newfoundland
Game 4 - Friday, May 17 at 7 p.m. NT at Newfoundland
Game 5 - Saturday, May 18 at 7 p.m. NT at Newfoundland (If Necessary)
Game 6 - Tuesday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Florida (If Necessary)
Game 7 - Wednesday, May 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Florida (If Necessary)
Western Conference Finals (Best of Seven)
Tulsa Oilers vs. Toledo Walleye
Tulsa makes its first-ever appearance in the Conference Finals while Toledo has reached the third round for the second time in three years and for the third time since 2015.
The Oilers eliminated Kansas City 4 games to 3 in the Mountain Division Semifinals before defeating Idaho 4 games to 2 in the Mountain Division Finals. Tulsa has gone 6-1 on home ice in the postseason, putting together a six-game winning streak at BOK Center, and outscoring its opponents 26-15. In their three home games against Idaho in the second round, the Oilers outscored the Steelheads 9-3.
Alex Dostie leads the playoffs with 11 goals and shares the postseason points lead with his teammate Stephen Perfetto (6g-13a) with 19 points each. Adam Pleskach has also posted strong offensive numbers, and ranks fourth in the league with 16 points (10g-6a). Eric Drapluk has added an offensive punch from the blue line, as his nine points (2g-7a) are tied for second among blue liners. In goal, Devin Williams has posted an 8-5 record with one shutout, a 2.45 goals-against average and a save percentage of .920.
Toledo defeated Fort Wayne 4 games to 2 in the Central Division Semifinals before eliminating Brabham Cup champion Cincinnati 4 games to 1 in the Central Division Finals. The Walleye have posted a 4-1 road record in the postseason, and have won their last four games away from home. Toledo leads the playoffs with 3.36 goals per game and is second with 1.91 goals-against per game.
Greg Wolfe leads the Walleye during the postseason with 12 points (6g-6a), which is tied for fifth in the league, and his four game-winning goals are tied for the playoff lead. Zach Gallant (4g-6a) and David Pope (1g-9a) are tied for third among rookies in the playoffs with 10 points. Pat Nagle has gone 8-3 and ranks second among goaltenders in the postseason with a 1.68 goals-against average and third with a .941 save percentage.
The two clubs met twice during the regular season with Toledo skating away 6-4 win on Dec. 7 and Tulsa prevailing 5-2 on Feb. 1. Pleskach led the Oilers in the season series with five points (3g-2a) while Matt Register paced the Walleye with three points (2g-1a).
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 - Friday, May 10 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Toledo
Game 2 - Sunday, May 12 at 5:15 p.m. ET at Toledo
Game 3 - Wednesday, May 15 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Tulsa
Game 4 - Friday, May 17 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Tulsa
Game 5 - Saturday, May 18 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Tulsa (If Necessary)
Game 6 - Monday, May 20 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Toledo (If Necessary)
Game 7 - Wednesday, May 22 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Tulsa (If Necessary)
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ECHL Stories from May 9, 2019
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