I know I’m a bit late getting this to you, but we can catch up now and be ready to jump into the ECHL Playoff picture.
The playoffs started Monday and Tuesday nights with the Western Conference. The Ontario Reign hosted the Utah Grizzlies. They won both games at home against the Grizzlies 5-2 and 7-2. I thought Ontario would take this series but I also thought Utah would give more of a fight. There’s still more games to be played and the Grizzlies aren’t out of it yet. They now go back to Utah to battle on the Grizzlies’ home ice.
Idaho defeated the Eagles in overtime in Boise Wednesday night 4-2 in their first series’ game. The two teams play again tonight, Thursday, in the Steelheads home arena. I’ll give Idaho the edge; they’re a little tougher and stronger than Colorado.
All the other matchups start Friday night, including the San Francisco Bulls game against the Alaska Aces. Set in the Aces’ home arena in Anchorage, the Bulls are true underdogs. Nothing about this series will be easy for the Bulls. The Aces are experienced at post-season play and have won the Kelly Cup many times previously. However, San Francisco’s unwillingness to ever give up may help them go far and could bring an upset.
The Stockton Thunder take on the Las Vegas Wrangler in Stockton. I’ll take Las Vegas for this one. They have the experience and went to the finals last year, losing to the Florida Everblades.
In the Eastern Conference, the Reading Royals host the Greenville Road Warriors. As much as I’d love to see an upset for the lowly Road Warriors, I see the Royals taking this series.
Number two seeded Cincinnati Cyclones play the Toledo Walleye. Something tells me if there is an upset in the Eastern Conference, it would be in this matchup. If you compare the numbers of these two teams, Toledo has a good chance of winning this series.
The South is well represented with the Gwinnett Gladiators versus the South Carolina Stingrays. I’ll take Gwinnett on this one. The strength of their players will be too much for South Carolina.
And finally, the Florida Everblades host the Elmira Jackals. Florida will win these games and go far in the playoffs. They won the Kelly last year and could be favorites again this season.
My picks for the finals: As much as I would love it to see the Bulls winning it all, I don’t think that’s likely in their first year. So, realistically, I see Florida vs Ontario in the Finals with Florida winning.
So, now it’s time to sit back and see what happens. And root for your favorite team!