Conference Quarterfinals preview
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals (Best of Five)
#1 Greenville Road Warriors vs. #8 Elmira Jackals
In their first season in Greenville, the Road Warriors finished first in the Eastern Conference with 96 points, a 49-point improvement over their finish last season in Johnstown. That improvement is tied for the third best single-season point increase in ECHL history. Elmira has advanced to the postseason in each of its four seasons in the league.
The two teams met twice in the regular season, both in Greenville, with each club winning once. Marc-Olivier Vallerand (2g-2a), Brendan Connolly (1g-3a) and Wes Cunningham (1g-3a) led Greenville against the Jackals with four points each while Justin Donati paced Elmira against the Road Warriors with seven points (1g-6a).
Game 1 – Tuesday, April 5 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Elmira
Game 2 – Wednesday, April 6 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Elmira
Game 3 – Friday, April 8 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Greenville
Game 4 – Saturday, April 9 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Greenville (If Necessary)
Game 5 – Monday, April 11 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Greenville (If Necessary)
#2 Reading Royals vs. #7 Cincinnati Cyclones
Reading and Cincinnati are meeting in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the second straight season, and for the third time in the last four years. The Cyclones defeated the Royals in seven games in both the 2008 North Division Finals and the 2010 National Conference Finals. In last season’s match-up, Cincinnati became the first team in ECHL history to rally from a 3 games to 0 deficit to win a best of seven series.
The Royals went 3-1-0 against Cincinnati in the regular season while the Cyclones went 1-0-3 against Reading. All four games of the regular-season series were decided by one goal, with three of the games going to either overtime or a shootout. Ryan Cruthers led Reading against the Cyclones with four points (2g-2a) and Dustin Sproat led Cincinnati against the Royals with three goals and five points.
Game 1 – Tuesday, April 5 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Reading
Game 2 – Wednesday, April 6 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Reading
Game 3 – Friday, April 8 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Cincinnati
Game 4 – Saturday, April 9 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Cincinnati (If Necessary)
Game 5 – Monday, April 11 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Reading (If Necessary)
#3 Kalamazoo Wings vs. #6 Florida Everblades
Kalamazoo has won the North Division title in each of its two seasons in the ECHL while Florida has advanced to the Kelly Cup Playoffs in all 13 seasons in the league.
Florida went 4-1-0 against the K-Wings in the regular season while Kalamazoo was 1-3-1 against the Everblades. Matt Beca is Florida’s active scoring leader against the K-Wings with four points (2g-2a) while Kory Karlander led Kalamazoo against the Everblades with five points (2g-3a).
Game 4 – Saturday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Kalamazoo (If Necessary)
Game 5 – Monday, April 11 at 7 p.m. ET at Kalamazoo (If Necessary)
#4 Wheeling Nailers vs. #5 South Carolina Stingrays
Wheeling returns to the Kelly Cup Playoffs after a one-year absence, while South Carolina has qualified for the postseason for the fourth straight season and for the 17th time in 18 ECHL seasons. The Stingrays have won a league-record three Kelly Cups – 1997, 2001 and 2009.
The Nailers won both of the head-to-head meetings in the regular season by shutout, winning 1-0 on Nov. 21 and 3-0 on March 19. Paul Crowder led Wheeling against the Stingrays with three points (0g-3a) while Joey Haddad scored two goals in the season series.
Game 1 – Tuesday, April 5 at 7:05 p.m. ET at South Carolina
Game 2 – Wednesday, April 6 at 7:05 p.m. ET at South Carolina
Game 4 – Saturday, April 9 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Wheeling (If Necessary)
Game 5 – Monday, April 11 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Wheeling (If Necessary)
Western Conference Quarterfinals (Best of Five)
#2 Bakersfield Condors vs. #7 Victoria Salmon Kings
Bakersfield and Victoria are meeting in the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the second consecutive season and for the third time in four years. Victoria defeated the Condors 4 games to 2 in the 2008 National Conference Quarterfinals and Bakersfield defeated the Salmon Kings 3 games to 2 in the 2010 National Conference Quarterfinals.
Bakersfield was 4-3-0 against the Salmon Kings in the regular season series while Victoria was 3-4-0 against the Condors. Stephane Goulet (3g-4a) and Andrew Ianiero (0g-7a) led Bakersfield against the Condors with seven points each while Chad Painchaud paced Victoria against the Condors with four goals and six points.
Game 4 – Saturday, April 9 at 7 p.m. PT at Bakersfield (If Necessary)
Game 5 – Monday, April 11 at 7 p.m. PT at Bakersfield (If Necessary)
#3 Stockton Thunder vs. #6 Utah Grizzlies
Stockton, which advanced to the Conference Finals for the first time in team history last season, is in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the fifth straight season while Utah is making its four straight trip to the postseason. Thunder head coach Matt Thomas was an assistant coach on Atlantic City’s 2003 Kelly Cup championship team, with Grizzlies’ head coach Kevin Colley winning Kelly Cup Playoffs MVP honors in the Boardwalk Bullies’ win.
Stockton was 7-3-1 against the Grizzlies in the regular season and Utah went 4-7-0 against the Thunder. Fraser Clair led Stockton against the Grizzlies with 13 points (5g-8a) while Kevin Deeth was Utah’s top producer against the Thunder with nine points (4g-5a).
Game 4 – Sunday, April 10 at 4 p.m. PT at Stockton (If Necessary)
Game 5 – Tuesday, April 12 at 7 p.m. PT at Stockton (If Necessary)
#4 Las Vegas Wranglers vs. #5 Idaho Steelheads
Las Vegas and Idaho are meeting in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the fourth time. Idaho defeated the Wranglers 3 games to 2 in the 2004 Pacific Division Semifinals and 4 games to 2 in the 2007 National Conference Semifinals while Las Vegas defeated the Steelheads 4 games to 3 in the 2006 West Division Semifinals. The Wranglers advanced to the Kelly Cup Finals in 2008 while the Steelheads won the Kelly Cup title in 2004 and 2007 and advanced to the Finals in 2010.
Las Vegas went 5-1-1 against the Steelheads during the 2010-11 regular season while Idaho was 2-5-0 against the Wranglers. Ryan Huddy led Las Vegas against the Steelheads with 10 points (3g-7a) while Mark Derlago was Idaho’s leader against the Wranglers with seven goals and 10 points.
Game 4 – Saturday, April 9 at 7:10 p.m. MT at Idaho (If Necessary)
Game 5 – Tuesday, April 12 at 7:05 p.m. PT at Las Vegas (If Necessary)