2015 PLAYOFFS BRACKET
Wanted to start this morning with the playoff bracket for a couple of reasons. First the Kelly Cup playoffs are now down to just eight teams so it is much easier to keep track of the four remaining series. Second, the final series got underway yesterday as Ontario defeated Utah 3-2 in overtime. Here is a short recap of the four division finals.
Allen vs Rapid City: The teams split the first two games in Allen with the Rush winning 4-2 in game one on Friday and Allen winning game two 8-1 on Saturday. In the first round Rapid City defeated Quad City in seven games and the teams set an ECHL record for fewest combined goals at 28 for seven games. Not going to happen in this series as the Americans and Rush have combined for 15 goals in two games. With the series tied 1-1 the next three games will be in Rapid City on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
Ontario vs Utah: This Pacific Division match up pits Ontario, the #2 seed in the division against the #4 seeded Utah Grizzlies who upset top seeded Idaho in the first round. It was the opening game of the series yesterday and it took a come from behind effort by the Reign to win the game in overtime by a score of 2-1. Two former Allen Americans led Ontario to victory. Matt Register scored a power play goal to even the score at 1-1 and Judd Blackwater got the game winner at 8:30 of overtime. Blackwater was the #1 star of the game and Register was the #2 star of the game. Game two is tonight in Ontario with a 7:00 PDT puck drop. It is the only ECHL playoff game scheduled tonight.
Toledo vs Fort Wayne: This series has gone as predicted with top seeded Toledo winning the first two games at home to take a 2-0 series lead. The games have not been close (4-1 & 5-2) so this may end up being a short series if the Komets can't get things turned around at home. Because these teams are only 100 miles apart this series is a 2-2-1-1-1. The next two games are in Fort Wayne on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Florida vs South Carolina: This series has the #1 seed Florida Everblades down 2-0 to the #2 seed South Carolina Stingrays. After their record breaking winning streaks in the regular season some thought the Stringrays peaked too early and would struggle in the playoffs. That opinion was reinforced in the first round where it took a come from behind victory in game seven against Reading to advance to the second round. The Stingrays have quieted all of those peaking early thoughts as they went to Florida and beat the Everblades 6-3 and 4-2. South Carolina now heads home with a 2-0 series lead for the next three games on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Even though South Carolina is the #2 seed in this series it would not be considered an upset if they win. After a slow start they were the best team in the league from February to the end of the regular season. Many have South Carolina the favorite to win the Kelly Cup.
- After a day off on Sunday the Allen Americans will practice today in preparation for three games in Rapid City later this week. The team leaves tomorrow night for the 1058 mile bus trip. It will be a crowded bus with three more guys than have traveled most of the year. If there are any roster changes this week (Schwartz or Dell) would assume not all players will travel with the team. Stay tuned.
- Allen is ranked #6 of the 16 playoff teams in average penalty minutes per game at 18.86 but lead all playoff teams with 51 minor penalties.
- On special teams Allen is #1 on the power play at 27.0% and #12 on the penalty kill at 81.6%.
- The Americans lead all playoff teams in goals scored averaging 4.00 per game. They are also #1 in shots averaging 40.14 per game.
- Allen is #6 in goals against (2.71) and #3 in shots allowed (25.7)
- This video has been posted a lot of places but if you are not on social media you may not have seen it so posting here. Congrats to all involved!
DID YOU KNOW: Mentioned yesterday Allen is the only team of the 16 that made the ECHL playoffs that has had higher attendance in the playoffs than they did during the regular season. Quite an accomplishment for everyone involved from the sales staff, the entire front office, the players and fans who all pitched in to get the word out about the playoff games. It is even more remarkable given all of the first round home games were midweek. Here is the change in average attendance from the regular season to the playoffs for all 16 teams.
-1056: Rapid City
-1173: Quad City
-1685: South Carolina
-2113: Fort Wayne