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    ECL 10 Lite: Semifinals Preview

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    NHLGamers,

    We have reached the semifinals of ECL 10 Lite. This also means we now know the four teams that have earned Pro promotion for the next season. NHLGamer wants to congratulate teams Sack Brothers, HUIPPUPASSI, Ducktales BK and Angry Cats. You have achieved something that hundreds of players were after this season. Enjoy this moment and be proud of yourselves! Great challenge awaits you next season. However the battle isn’t over yet as the title of champions is still there for the taking. 

    ECL_10_Lite_Semifinals.jpg

    Here are the semifinalists of ECL 10 Lite:

    sack_brothers_500x500.png Sack Brothers (1) vs huippupassi500x500.png HUIPPUPASSI (10)

    Fast attacking hockey has been the theme for both of these teams as has been the overall trend for so many others this season as well. However, the reason why these teams are now playing in the semifinals is understanding the game both ways and bringing the balance to the ice - that is a game mentality that is really hard to break. There have also been two players in this matchup that have been especially fun to watch throughout the season: @Kucherov86 (SB) and @viba2008 (HP) have been the best attacking defensemen of this season. They were in a two way battle over winning the scoring title for defensemen in the regular season and have continued on the same path in the playoffs. Finally they will go head-to-head, who will take the upper hand?

    Sack Brothers faced GENESIS (18) in a quarterfinal series that ended 4-1 in their favour. However the score doesn’t tell the whole truth of that series. GENESIS was able to put on real pressure to the Sack Brothers defense and made their attacking really hard, but with the lead of keeper @mikeruud Sack Brothers defense held up and in the end it was the quality of finishing that made the difference in the series. @snippystatue played the key role for Sack Brothers in this series and he was chosen as a first star in every win that Sack Brothers took. While the left side of Sack Brothers formation has clearly been the attacking one, some credit is due to @Datupeijooni (Datzonee) and @Persusta95 on the right wing for keeping the balance in the back as well so the team won’t be too vulnerable for counter attacks. 

    HUIPPUPASSI showcased a thriller against EBR eSports Official (2) in the quarterfinals. The series ended in overtime of game seven, where defender @Mikax222 had the honour of burying the puck into the net from a rebound. HUIPPUPASSI have had a quite different path to the semifinals when compared to their opponent. While Sack Brothers have been among the best teams right from the very first game, HUIPPUPASSI had a rough start to the season and in the middle of the regular season it looked like they were one of the mid-table teams that were fighting for the last playoff spot but then something happened and since then there hasn't been a team that has been able to stop them. Wingers @jjokke19 and @bergsti (pikkuroger) have found excellent scoring form in the playoffs and the team is definitely ready for the challenge. Goalkeeper @IMadeGod (iceiceice-.-) isn’t currently enjoying an as high saving percent as his colleagues in the semifinals but there is no doubt about his ability to stop pucks at the same level as other keepers at this stage. 

    Both teams will want to start the series strong. They both know that their opponents strength lies in their attacking and I believe that this could change the way of playing from their earlier series. We could see two teams heavily trusting in counter attacks and a tight defensive in their own zone. Sack Brothers is so used to winning it could make things really interesting if HUIPPUPASSI would manage to win for example the two first games utilizing the slightly more defensive style than they usually do. How would the ‘’Sacks’’ respond? As always, the centermen will play a big role. In this series @Aitis (Aitis81) (HP) will face maybe the best center of the season so far: @luosttin (SB). Aitis81 will have to continue his good work in the takeaway department if he wants to keep talented luosttin in check. This is definitely the pair of players you should follow throughout the series.

    Prediction: Many have marked Sack Brothers as the favourites for the cup and I can see why. They are a great team all around and especially their victory over strong GENESIS proved that there might not be a team in the league that can stop them. On the other hand I believe that HUIPPUPASSI enjoys the underdog status here and they could have the element of surprise if they can take the lead in series and find the weakness in Sack Brothers playstyle that others haven’t figured out. In the end I believe that Sack Brothers have the quality to overcome every obstacle HUIPPUPASSI will throw at their way and ‘’Sacks’’ will advance to the finals with a series score of 4-1.  
     

    angrycats500x500.png Angry Cats (5) vs ducktales500x500.png Ducktales BK (7)

    This will definitely be a different kind of challenge for the Angry Cats than their earlier opponents this season. They will face Ducktales BK, who are one of the best defensive teams in the league. The theme of this series could actually be close to that of Angry Cats' series against Nordic Nosebleed in the first playoff round, where Nordic Nosebleed chose to pursue a very defensive style which led to three out of the five matches advancing to overtime. Only this time, the opponent will be a lot stronger and more dangerous in the offensive zone as well. This will also be a battle of two great goalkeepers. Angry Cats keeper @Giinis has an amazing 87,66 SV% in the playoffs and @Rymaan of Ducktales BK isn’t far away with his 85,57 SV%. Of course both goalkeepers will get help from their good defense but still these are really impressive numbers and deserve to be noted.

    Angry Cats played against Hokurit (6) in the quarterfinals. At the start of the series it was hard to say which of the teams was going to win but the more play we saw between the two, the more clear it became that Angry Cats were the better team and finally ended the series with a score of 4-1. It isn’t a secret that attacking trio @Korkokokorko , @Lowryy (Lowryy8) and @juusto18 have been the best attacking trio alongside Sack Brothers trio this season, but it was the defender @Jesse6115 who scored the biggest goals in the final games of the series against Hokurit. It is really important for Angry Cats that the defenders @Jesse6115 and @Demoni2016 (Myrkky_Maik) can help their talented attackers offensively in the series against a team that will make getting to the scoring areas really challenging.

    Ducktales BK have had a stable season and playoff run so far. In the quarterfinals they were able to beat HV71 eSHL (3) with 1-4 in a series that were expected to be as close as it was in the scoring department, but in the end Ducktales BK were the better team and deserved the spot in the semifinals. One of the key players for Ducktales BK in the series against HV71 eSHL was @Zidso, who seems to have found top form when it’s needed the most and as a result stirred the pot having a say in most of the goals that Ducktales BK scored. The team made some interesting changes to their roster in the playoffs, when @tokFan (ItokFanI), who started the season as a center and later switched places with @cHIIMEERa to the right wing, seems to be playing as a defender with experienced @J-Foppain the playoffs and its working very well. Also winger @Craig (oskuldsfull) started only half of the games in the regular season but has now been the starter for his team and there has been no problems finding chemistry right away.

    This is going to be a different kind of series compared to the other pair where both teams rely on putting heavy pressure on their opponent and countering from the takeaways. In this series the game will most likely be more balanced and not so much risks will be taken by either of these teams. As said before, Angry Cats faced some troubles playing against a tight defensive team earlier but they came out as a winners and I don’t believe Ducktales BK will go full defensive mode at least when the game is tied. Ducktales BK did a great job against HV71 eSHL in avoiding clear 2vs1 and 3vs1 counter-attacks by always keeping two players at the back and that will be crucial against Angry Cats as well, since they have the quality to punish from every odd-man rush they will get. Ducktales BK will also face the best powerplay in the league so they want to avoid any extra trips to the box. However it will definitely not be a series where Angry Cats are the only team that is trying to find the way to score, Ducktales BK have the individual quality and good form going, so Angry Cats can’t blink their eyes in the wrong moment or they will see Ducktales BK smashing the puck in the net.       

    Prediction: Both teams have had quite a similar route to the semifinals. Both have survived a game seven and in the quarterfinals, both teams were able to play their best hockey and take convincing 4-1 wins over their opponents. I believe Angry Cats will start the series strong and take wins from the first games. However, if Ducktales BK manage to take the lead in matches, they have the ability to shut down the opposing attack and then Angry Cats could be in trouble. I still believe that Angry Cats will be the winner of this series. I have also predicted Ducktales BK to lose their series two times in a row now and they’ve won both times so I don’t want to jinx anything at this stage. Angry Cats will advance to the finals with score 4-2.
     

    Who will follow the path of Riven Johdolla and Sulkavan Sudet (ECL 9 Lite finalists) and play in the ECL 10 Lite finals? Follow the teams on social media to find out when the games are being played and give them your support. Enjoy the games and respect your opponents.  

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