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Comparing the Eight ECHL Division Playoff Finalists, Who Wins, Stats and More

Thursday, May 4th
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The division finals field was set last night as Cincinnati became the last team to qualify with a controversial 1-0 win in game seven over Fort Wayne. The Komets appeared to tie the game with 61 seconds remaining, but the goal was disallowed on an iffy goalie interference call. With the eight-team division finals field set, I thought today would be a good time to look at the big picture in the race for the Kelly Cup using historical data.

– To start here is the updated Kelly Cup bracket chart:

– I say this every season which for the most part is true. Unlike the NHL where lower seeded teams often advance and sometimes win the Stanley Cup, it is not the case in the ECHL. Of the eight teams advancing to the second round, three of the four #1 seeds (Newfoundland, Cincinnati, Idaho) have advanced with South Carolina the lone exception. All four #2 seeds advanced (Reading, Jacksonville, Toledo, Allen). The only team outside the top two in each division to advance was the #4 seed in the South Division, Florida.

– Here are the last 17 Kelly Cup champions with their regular season finish in parenthesis. Anyone who says once you get in the playoffs anything can happen hasn’t looked at ECHL history. The Brabham Cup curse has been in effective since 2014 when Alaska won both the Brabham Cup and Kelly Cup. However, no team has won the Kelly Cup from lower than seventh place in the regular season going back to 2005.

2022 – Florida (3rd)2021 – Fort Wayne (5th)2019 – Newfoundland (3rd)2018 – Colorado (4th)2017 – Colorado (3rd)2016 – Allen (6th)2015 – Allen (2nd)2014 – Alaska (1st)2013 – Reading (2nd)2012 – Florida (7th)2011 – Alaska (1st)2010 – Cincinnati (5th)2009 – South Carolina (4th)2008 – Cincinnati (1st)2007 – Idaho (6th)2006 – Alaska (1st)2005 – Trenton (4th)

– Here are the eight teams in the Division Finals ranked by regular season finish with points percentage in parenthesis:

  • 1st – Idaho (.826)
  • 2nd – Cincinnati (.715)
  • 3rd – Toledo (.681)
  • 4th – Newfoundland (.681)
  • 6th – Jacksonville (.646)
  • 9th – Reading (.611)
  • 11th – Florida (.590)
  • 13th – Allen (.535)

Based on history it is highly likely the Kelly Cup will go to one of four teams this season: Idaho, Cincinnati, Toledo or Newfoundland.

– Idaho has to deal with the Brabham Cup curse after having the best regular season record in the history of the ECHL. All is not lost for the Steelheads as five teams since the league was founded in 1988 have won both the regular season and playoff championships. Oddly enough one team, Alaska, did it three times. Here are the five seasons the same team won the Brabham Cup and Kelly/Riley Cup:

  1. 2013-14 – Alaska
  2. 2010-11 – Alaska
  3. 2007-08 – Cincinnati
  4. 2005-06 – Alaska
  5. 1996-97 – South Carolina

– How many NHL/AHL contracted players do the eight division finalists have on their playoff rosters? Here are the numbers:

  • 18 – Newfoundland
  • 10 – Reading
  • 9 – Toledo
  • 7 – Florida
  • 6 – Idaho
  • 5 – Jacksonville
  • 2 – Cincinnati
  • 2 – Allen

– Goal differential is sometimes used as a proxy for how well a team is playing. Here are the first-round goal differentials for the eight teams advancing to the division finals:

  • +13: Newfoundland
  • +10: Toledo
  • +5: Florida
  • +3: Reading
  • +2: Jacksonville
  • +2: Allen
  • 0: Idaho
  • -6: Cincinnati

– Here are the eight teams advancing to the division finals listed by the last time they won the ECHL championship (Kelly/Riley Cup):2022 – Florida2019 – Newfoundland2016 – Allen2013 – Reading2010 – Cincinnati2007 – Idaho1994 – Toledo (Riley Cup)Never – JacksonvilleDID YOU KNOW: Since the Allen Americans joined the ECHL in 2014-15 the team has played in 15 playoff series and has a playoff series record of 11-4.Another pretty amazing record Allen fans will remember. The Americans won four straight championships in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 (2 ECHL, 2 CHL) and all four championships were won on home ice.

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