With the Pro season past the halfway point, it's time to take a look at the action that's been going on in our second highest division. The competition is fiercer than ever and as we're closing in on the playoffs, the stakes will only get higher. Let's get on with our midseason report:
Riven Johdolla has had a tremendous season so far. They were leading Group 1 and have successfully taken command of the top three positions in the point totals department. Also, their defenders are the leading players in the defenders point totals and +/- statistics. The success of young and hungry Riven Johdolla isn't a big surprise at all. The fact that they have several players leading the statistics of their positions isn´t a coincidence and has a significant connection to the overall performance of the team success like you may expect. In the last few days, Riven Johdolla has experienced some minor fluctuations in their positioning, but looks to be heading towards the playoffs with a high group stage finish.
Team Frosty has also had a strong start in Group 1. In the games I have seen from them, their overall teamplay has been very well organized. Most of Team Frosty's games have seen very minimal scoring - both scored for and conceded.
In Group 2 Black Horse and HanaaHC are leading the pack - as they have been doing for a while now. HanaaHC I saw last week against Shooting Stars and the strong team spirit of Hanaa was apparent as the joy those guys play with was visible through their performances. Nordic Stars and ZSC Esports are also determined to fight for the leading positions in Group 2 as we are proceeding to the second half of the regular season.
Recently I saw the games of two teams battling for playoff positions: Exen esports (Group 1) and Shooting Stars (Group 2). Both were good in their games and still have chances in their near future, but utilizing their scoring opportunities must be way more clinical than before. Differences between the teams in contention of the last playoff spots are minimal in both groups, so none of the teams around those positions can afford to drop points. Another interesting team is Vaxjö Lakers, who are also battling for playoffs in Group 2, which is quite surprising after an exciting campaign in the eSHL.
Kaupallinen Yhteistyo lost several key players recently, which has sent the team into something of a whirlwind. However, newly acquired goalie @JanneK. has been off to a hot start with the team and is a crucial component as they are battling for playoff position in Group 1. In the same group, Enigma is in pursuit of a place in the playoffs. Enigma should have been a title candidate but has surprisingly found that Pro competition wouldn't be a cakewalk for the skilled team.
Some of the most notable players during the first half of the season has been without a doubt the attackers of Riven Johdolla, including @Vattu__, who has represented the white and blue for the last two seasons in the Lite Division. In Riven Johdolla, vattu_ seems to have found the right group of guys around him that have helped him to elevate his game to the next step. So far he has combined for nearly as many points as last season and there are still games left to go.
There have been goalies in good form in several teams including Team Frosty, Exen Esports, Riven Johdolla, and Shooting Stars. We've seen many low scoring games and despite none of few goals - there have been opportunities to score a whole bunch. One of the key goalies has been @JanneK. from Kaupallinen Yhteistyo as mentioned earlier. He is a really important player as the team is battling for a their place in the postseason in Group 1. @Nieppii from Enigma has also showed his Elite-proven skill this season. He previously represented Symphony, but has recently moved to Enigma. The team is still battling for a playoff spot and Nieppii has been a key player in that push.
In Group 2, Vaxjo Lakers LW @EDHOLMINHO has been in great form and is his teams leading scorer by a wide margin. In a somewhat underperforming team, he has been a glimpse of hope. Edholminho has maintained his level regardless of his teams performance.
Matchups to watch going forward
In the second half of the season, the battles for top seed will be interesting in both groups. In Group 1, Rpeat Esports and Leksands IF are scheduled to play each other on April 30th in a heated battle. On the same day there is a game between Kaupallinen Yhteistyö and Exen esports in which some important points in the battle for the last playoff spot are to be determined. we should see a low-scoring game with two teams showing a disciplined approach to the game, and on KY's side, we'll see one of the best goalies in the division. On the other hand, if we end up seeing either team in a desperate position, we might be in for a scoring explosion - you never know!
In Group 2, Nordic Stars and Black Horse are scheduled for a battle on May 4th. That is a heated rivalry, which might be deciding someone's fate in the top 3 of the group. These teams are likely to make the postseason and therefore also have a chance to force their game on their opponents a bit more.
That's going to be it for this snapshot into the action of the Pro season so far. What do you expect going forward? Let us know in the comments!
As always, play hard - have fun!