Round 2 of the ECL 10 Lite playoffs is now behind and what a season we are having! We witnessed tight series going all the way to game seven, brave fighting from the underdogs and some massive comeback wins. These games have proven that nothing is impossible in the playoffs and even 0-3 lead in series won’t be a safe lead. Thanks once again to the teams that were eliminated in round 2. You gave us a great show and proved that with little improvements on the ice you are ready to go even further next season.
Now we know the quarterfinalists of ECL 10 Lite. All of these teams have the tools to success and win the cup so there won’t be favourites anymore as every team will have to play at their best to process to the semifinals. At quarterfinals nothing less is at stake than a place in top four and promotion to ECL 11 Pro for the next season. Looking through the teams and players that will fight in the quarterfinals i’m convinced that every one of these teams have the quality to play in the higher division. It’s going to be extremely tough challenge for every team to beat their opponent at this stage and even harder to predict the winners from these pairs.
Ladies and gentlemen, here are the quarterfinalists of ECL 10 Lite:
Oh what a matchup! Both teams played their regular season in group 4 and the games between these two teams ended in a 2-3 OTW for GENESIS and 3-4 W for Sack Brothers. In the second round of the playoffs, GENESIS did really well against Powerhouse hockey (4) by winning the series with a score of 1-4 while Sack Brothers won their series against Tic Tac Toes (25) with a score of 4-2. Both teams play with similar strengths in trusting a smart, high pressure and a general attacking style of hockey. Their forward trios have been effective through the whole season while the defence have been stable and the keepers have had good form night after night. In the defence both teams have a dynamic, where one part has more responsibility in breakouts while the other one plays more safe at the back. It’s obvious that the forwards from both teams will be dangerous when ever they get the puck in the offensive zone so I predict that the role of the defenders will be big in this series.
Key points to follow:
Familiar opponents: Teams already met in the regular season and both managed to get one win from those games. You could say that neither of the teams have the mental edge over their opponent and some of the ‘’tricks up the sleeve’’ have already been revealed. The team that did their homework better since the last meeting will surely start the series better but it’s required to come up with something new to surprise your opponent and win the series at the end.
Defenders: As said, the pressure given to the defenders will be high in this series. Especially puck moving defenders @Kucherov86 (SB) and @layout (JxLayout) (GEN) will have to be able to open the game up fast and smart to help their teams to get past the opposition defence. On the other end, defenders @Persusta95 (SB) and @Zoueli / @Mameluck88 (GEN) will have to be ready to react in fast counter-attacks and other giveaways in the defensive zone.
Who will be the hero: Both of these teams are full of great individuals. I’m pretty sure there won’t be a player on the ice that doesn’t want to play the biggest part in their teams success. This could also have a negative effect for the team play so it’s up to the leading players of the team to keep these virtuosos disciplined.
Prediction: Sack Brothers have been superb, they have had an almost perfect season so far and the confidence is high. GENESIS was able to shut down Powerhouse hockey in the latest round and with that have experience of playing one of the best attacking teams this season. The series will be really tight but I believe that Sack Brothers will overcome GENESIS in the end of the series, 4-3.
The other pair that are familiar to each others in the quarters are EBR eSports Official and HUIPPUPASSI. Both teams played in group 2 in the regular season and the matches between the two teams ended in a 5-4 OTW for HUIPPUPASSI and a 3-2 W for EBR eSports Official. In the second round of the playoffs, EBR eSports Official had no problem winning Old Farts (21) with a score of 4-0 and HUIPPUPASSI was able to beat Sjukstugan (9) in their series with 1-4. Both of these teams had a real goalfest in their series, which could be the theme of this matchup as well. One of the players in this pair that has been absolutely on fire is @jjokke19 (HP) who is currently leading playoffs scoring with 36 (21+15) points in 9 games. This is the guy that EBR eSports Official must stop if they want to win. On the other side @Keuschemisch (14+17) and @Toews19 (BarriosLucas18) (16+10) have found the chemistry for EBR eSports Official that should be noted in HUIPPUPASSI's playbook. I believe these teams will continue where they left off and we will see lots of scoring and entertaining hockey on the ice.
Key points to follow:
Improvement from last season: Both of these teams have already done better than they did last season and for sure neither one wants to end the good form. In ECL 9, EBR eSports Official was beaten in the first round and HUIPPUPASSI in the second round. Now they are both only one opponent away from promotion to Pro for next season. The confidence must be flowing in both dressing rooms which for sure will add even more entertainment on the ice.
Goal after goal: These teams know how to score and they both want to keep playing the attacking hockey they are so good at. For EBR eSports Official this will be a completely different kind of opponent than the physical Old Farts were, so they have to be ready to change their approach and be prepared to clash with the skilled HUIPPUPASSI team.
Goalkeepers: Both of these teams were among the teams that had the most shots in the regular season. As the nature of the game is probably going to be pretty direct counter-attack from end to end there will be lots of good scoring opportunities and the keeper that has the ability to read these situations is going to play the key role for his team and can really devastate the opponents with the highlight saves. When the team likes to give pressure and attack a lot, it can sometimes make goalies look a bit vulnerable in the stats table, but both starting goalies @IMadeGod (iceiceice-_-) (HP) and @thesaw83 (EBR) knows what's coming for them.
Prediction: Really entertaining, free flowing attacking game in both ends where the winner of the series will be the team that simply manages to score more goals. It’s hard to believe that neither of these teams will set up any kind of turtle trap on the blueline and wait for their opponents to push through it. I believe that HUIPPUPASSI will be more prepared for this kind of hockey after a strong series against Sjukstugan and they will win the series with a score of 2-4.
If the matchup between EBR eSports Official and HUIPPUPASSI is expected to be the high scoring one, then this pair will most likely be the one with the lowest goals scored. HV71 eSHL was able to beat The UnderRated (19) in the second round of the playoffs with 4-1 and Ducktales BK won the series against ECDC Memmingen eSports (11) with a score of 4-3. Both of these series were really low scoring which tells that two extremely well defending teams will play against each others in this pair. When comparing to other teams that are still in the competition, the defensive approach could bring a positive ending to the season for whichever of these two teams that will continue to the semifinals. Just to make it clear, when we are talking about this smart defensive style of play that these teams are preferring we are not talking about devastating blueline-trap hockey that is extremely boring to watch and play against. The quality of the defense for these teams comes from smart positioning and skill to win one on ones, corner battles and especially loose pucks in front of the goal. I wouldn’t be surprised if at least half of the games would go to overtime and because of that the winner of this pair is really hard to predict.
Key points to follow:
Battle of the centers: The brightest stars for both teams will go head to head right from the first puck drop. Centermen @cHIIMEERa (DBK) and @Demski13 (HV) are the ones to watch in this series. These two players have played the key role for their team from very beginning of the season and actually the fact that they are both centers will even the odds in this pair even more because they are also defending against each others. Both of these players also have ~51 FOW % which makes every faceoff interesting.
Who will defend better: As said many times before, two defending teams will face each other and every mistake could become really costly as the team that will be able to score the first goal will have a huge advantage for the rest of the match. It doesn’t make scoring any easier that both teams have hot goaltenders that are ready to save the day if the defence leaks. The mental strength is also important because many games could end after several overtime periods and the risk of mistakes grow the further the game goes.
Powerplay: The margins in 5 on 5 play will most likely be really small between these teams so the powerplay will play a massive role in this series. As the scoring is predicted to be really hard, taking advantage of even one powerplay could win the whole game.
Prediction: Defensive hockey at its best. Few goals, great saves and long matches. The team that is going to win this series is the one that has more quality in the attack. HV71 eSHL have been able to find the net more times than Ducktales BK in this season without conceding many goals. That’s why I will predict that HV71 eSHL is the winner of this extremely tight series with a score of 4-3.
The comeback kids! It almost feels like these two teams were meant to face off in the quarterfinals. In the second round of the playoffs both of these teams made an epic comeback in their series. Angry Cats were losing their series by 1-3 against HC SKULL TOWN (16) but fought back with three wins in regular time while Hokurit did it even better by coming back from the 0-3 losing position against Horror Hockey (13). Huge mental victories for both teams and I bet they can’t wait to get back on the ice. This one is going to be an interesting battle. The quality of forwards in both teams is outstanding and now they are facing two of the best goalkeepers in the league. Both of the teams must feel confident after last round, especially Angry Cats who have already improved a lot from the last season. It was this stage of the competition that Hokurit were beaten last season and I’m sure they have the hunger to overcome last seasons disappointment and play their way to the top four. Nothing will come easily, both teams surely know that even 0-3 series lead won’t get you through to the next round.
Key points to follow:
Teamwork: Even though both teams have great individuals, the winner of this series will be the one that can group up those individuals better to play for the team. As both teams can be really effective in the attacking zone the team that wants to win will have to defend a bit more disciplined than they are used to. I don’t believe that either of these teams will want to take the defensive role so it will be about finding the balance between attacking and defending.
Finishing: The individual skill of finding the net is outstanding in both teams. This will be hard for the defenders when they have to choose whether to challenge the player with the puck or cut the passing lane. It’s important that the communication between the defence and goalkeeper is working. The team that is able to shut down every ‘’easy’’ scoring position will be the winner, since the keepers are ready to get all the normal shots without problem.
Goalkeepers: Both keepers @Somerjoki (HRR) and @Giinis (AC) have been outstanding in the playoffs. Of course they could have not done this without their defence but still a save percentage near 85% for both of these guys is an amazing number. I believe that the best goalkeeper of this season will be the keeper that will advance to the semifinals from this pair. Now they are facing the best snipers in the league and the real MVP will help his team to victory.
Prediction: Both of these teams can be really proud of getting to the quarterfinals after challenging second round. However I don’t believe that neither of these teams will settle only for this as both feel they are ready for promotion. Angry Cats completely destroyed teams in the regular season and Hokurit have proven their quality now two seasons a row. It’s going to be close one but I believe that with the experience from the last season, Hokurit will be able to win the series with score 2-4.
That's our small comparison of four great playoff pairs where all of the teams will want this to be the season where they earned the promotion to ECL Pro. It’s only four wins away but the road won’t be easy for anyone. I would like to hear the community opinion of the teams that you think will continue to the semifinals. Feel free to write it in the comment box below this article.
Huge matches! we hope you enjoy!