BOSTON, MA -- This season in the Eastern Hockey League (EHL) only six of the eight teams in each respective conference will earn a ticket into the EHL Playoffs. In the North Conference, First Round byes will be given out to the winners of the New England Division and the Boston Division. For the South Conference, the Regular Season Champions of the Central Division and the Mid-Atlantic Division will also earn the extra rest in the First Round.
Below you'll find a breakdown of the races unfolding in each conference. The next set of TSR Hockey Stars of the Week will be released tomorrow at 9:00am. Catch the #Eshow action all season long on HockeyTV.
In the North Conference, the New Hampshire Avalanche have already won the New England Division Regular Season Championship and they've also clinched the #1 seed throughout the First and Second Rounds. Outside of the Avalanche, the only other seeds that are officially locked in as of today are the #4 East Coast Wizards and the #5 Vermont Lumberjacks. That first round series is etched in stone, and will take place in at The Edge Sports Center (Bedford, MA) during the first full week in March. The rest of the dominoes in the North will start to fall when the Boston Division Regular Season Champion is crowned.
As of today the Boston Jr. Rangers hold a two-point lead over the Walpole Express, but the Express do have a game in hand. As for the tiebreaker between the two teams, the Rangers currently have a slight edge in the season series with six points through the first five matchups (3-2-0), but the Express managed to grab a overtime point in one of their losses earlier in the season, and they will bring with them five total points in the season series when the two teams face-off later this month. In all likelihood, the winner of that final regular season matchup on February 28th will be crowned the Boston Division Regular Season Champion. When that result is determined, that will take care of the #2 and #3 seeds, leaving just the 6th and final playoff spot to be claimed.
As of today, the New England Wolves hold a one-point advantage over the Total Athletics Seahawks and a three-point lead over the Valley Jr. Warriors for the #6 seed. The Wolves also own the tiebreaker over both of the teams chasing them in the standings. Similar to the Rangers and the Express, a matchup this Saturday between the Wolves and Warriors could very likely decide the final spot. That is of course if the Wolves win, but if the Warriors win, the three-team race could come down to the final weekend of the regular season.
The battle in the North Conference has been intense throughout the season, and all six playoff teams will have the ability to beat anybody they play on any given night. Only two will emerge however, and punch their ticket to the Frozen Finals in Providence.
Moving over to the South Conference, and just like how the Avalanche have their Division already wrapped up, the Connecticut RoughRiders have done the same with the Central Division. The RoughRiders will however be the #2 seed in the First Round, and will likely drop to #3 in the Second Round if the Philadelphia Little Flyers get through their first playoff matchup. The idea that the Little Flyers will be playing in the First Round isn't necessarily clinched just yet per say, but the Philadelphia Revolution currently own a three-point lead in the Mid-Atlantic Division and have two games in hand over their rival. With seeds #1 (Revolution), #2 (RoughRiders), and #3 (Little Flyers) essentially clinched, we shift our focus to the final three playoff spots.
Just like in the North Conference, the #4 vs. #5 matchup is locked in between the New York Applecore and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. The only difference from the North, is that on this side of the bracket the home ice advantage hasn't been determined yet. With the two teams separated by over 125 miles in distance, the battle for home ice will be critical as the higher seed will end up hosting all of the First Round games. This matchup also has the makings to be arguably the best First Round matchup in the EHL, as three of the four regular season meetings were all decided by just a single goal.
As for the 6th and final playoff spot in the conference, this battle will likely come down the final weekend of the regular season as the Connecticut Oilers currently own just a one-point lead over the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers for that final seed.
The races are a little different in the South, and the pair of matchups to watch in feature the RoughRiders and Revolution. The two Frozen Finals contenders will face-off this weekend on Saturday and Sunday. If the Revolution were able to take all four points from those matchups they would grab the inside track on the overall Regular Season Championship this year in the EHL. After starting the season on a 17-game winning streak, anything short of advancing to Providence would be a disappointment to the Revolution. The road will not be easy by any means, and it will be interesting to see what two teams emerge from this conference when all is said and done.
Tag(s): Home News & Media EHL New England Conference NEW - North Vermont Lumberjacks New England Wolves NEW - South Boston Jr. Rangers East Coast Wizards Valley Jr. Warriors Walpole Express Mid-Atlantic Conference ATL - North Connecticut RoughRiders New York Apple Core ATL - South Philadelphia Jr. Flyers Philadelphia Little Flyers Philadelphia Revolution Connecticut Oilers New Hampshire Avalanche Seahawks Hockey Club New York Bobcats Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights