With just two weeks to go of the regular season, things are coming down to the wire for multiple teams. The battle for the top seed had an interesting wrinkle thrown into it when hReds defeated HAVU this past week, placing Linkoping and JYP Jyvaskyla in the driver’s seat to earn that coveted #1 seed. With a 17-0-1 record and 1,94 points earned per game, JYP are actually in the league lead when it comes to point percentage. With tonight’s featured NHLGamer broadcast including battles between JYP and hReds, followed by the re-match of the ECL 9 Grand Finals (HAVU vs. LHC), we should expect to see some movement in the standings as the top teams continue to jockey for position ahead of the playoffs.
In the midfield – to borrow a Formula 1 expression – we find Unlucky Boys HC continuing their good form of late. The burger boys have continued to climb up the standings and are now 8-1-1 in their past ten games, including a clean sweep of four consecutive victories their past week (over Roots and BRAYCE Phantoms, respectively). KOVA Esports seems to have fortified their position, winning four out of their last six games. They did get knocked over the head by Vesa Pompa HC in their final games of the week – a team recently made more dangerous by the addition of deadline transfer Vili @Vilupoika Häkkinen – but overall, KOVA have proven their mettle and look poised to earn a playoff berth.
The battle around the playoff cutoff line is, per usual, intense and unpredictable. In fact, between the #7 seed Roots and the #13 seed Gotham Knights, only a single point acts as a barrier. Roots, Färjestad BK and GHETTO FIREBIRDS sit at 19 points each, whereas BRAYCE Phantoms, Checkmate, SJ Gaming and Gotham Knights have all earned 18 points apiece. An intense two weeks are likely to follow for these playoff hopefuls.
At the bottom of the standings we find Lulea Hockey, Vesa Pompa HC and Almost Famous. If these teams are to have any chance of digging themselves out of the deep pits they’ve created for themselves, they need to average 2-3 points per matchup the rest of the way. Impossible? No. But certainly a challenge at this level. Vesa Pompa showed signs of life with their recent dip into free agency, and Lulea did pick up six out of a possible twelve points last week. But is it too little, too late for these teams?
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
Scoring seven goals in the same game rarely happens in ECL competition. At the Elite level? Unheard of. Yet that’s precisely what Paul “PleeMaker” Arontie did in a 10-2 win over Almost Famous. Simply sensational.
FORWARD OF THE WEEK
See above. Yes, the same player was featured here last week. But, well, scoring 23 points (14+9) in six games (!) makes Plees performance this past week hard to overlook. With 46 goals on the season already, he is approaching his own ECL Elite single-season goalscoring record of 49 (set in ECL 4). And LHC still has ten more games to play this regular season…
DEFENDER OF THE WEEK
It has been a good week for LHC’s left defender. Not only did he rack up two goals and ten assists in the six games his team played, he was also featured here at NHLGamer in our latest edition of Player Spotlight, an interview series by @Faydas.
GOALTENDER OF THE WEEK
Sibelius has been one of the most consistent goalies on the European EASHL scene for quite some time now. This season is no exception. With save percentages of 100, 87.5, 81.8 and 93.3 in the four games he played last week (all wins), the last outpost of JYP is your goaltender of the week. Perhaps even the goaltender of the season – at least thus far.