ECL 5 - The Road So Far
If any of you out there happens to be a fan of the CW show Supernatural (as I am), this article title is for you!
For those of you who have yet to watch the show (currently in its 13th season), the "road so far" refers to when the show - at the end of each season - recaps everything that has been going on thus far and prepares the viewers for what is to come in the finale. With the ECL 5 playoffs fast approaching as a sort of finale to this season, I thought it'd be appropriate to create something similar, a recap of what has been going on so far.
97 teams - 3 championships
While the NHLGamer staff had hoped to breach the "100 barrier" for registered ECL teams this season, 97 teams is still an amazing feat. Up from last seasons 78 teams, we take this as a sign that the interest for 6v6 EASHL continues to increase at a rapid pace. Add the 20 teams that are currently participating in our Russian league, RCL, and the registration number all of sudden jumps significantly, to 117 total. Glad to have all of you onboard!
The 97 ECL teams were divided into three divisions, as is custom these days, based on merit where 16 teams ended up in ECL Elite, 32 in ECL Pro and 49 in ECL Lite. Lets see what has been going on in these vipers nests, shall we?
[Please note that this article was written yesterday afternoon, meaning Standings were collected 2017-11-05]
ECL 5 Elite
As it currently stands, Northern Stars (NOS) is at the top of the ECL Elite standings, albeit with a full 26 games played which is more than any other team in any division. Even so, this team has bounced back from a slow start to establish themselves as the championship favorite they were predicted to be ahead of this season. Looking at the teams recent games, they display a remarkable effectiveness when it comes to being able to win games while rotating different lineups. Other teams that have delivered on the pre-season promise of being top tier teams are Carlsberg, Written In the Stars, SJK eSports and Aapon Taikasauva.
The biggest surprise in Elite so far has to be Rusty Blades who are hanging tough with all teams so far and sporting a 1.1 points per game average as a team. Should they continue at this pace, odds are they will make it to the playoffs. Quite the upset for a team that joined the league as a last-minute replacement team! A lot of credit for their success thus far has to be placed with RBs team defense and goaltending who have been outstanding.
Looking at the teams that are hovering around the cutoff line for the playoffs, expect Dynasty to rise up a bit in the standings and look out for TIKI TALK to surprise as they continue to gain points in almost every game they play. Other teams that could potentially climb in the standings are Synergy and Northern Ascendancy who have both been struggling but have as little as 12 games played. Finally, look for Kattiautomaatti, MUKIMIEHET, Nordic Nightmare and Sjukstugan to continue to duke it out for those final playoff spots.
Arriving at the bottom of the standings we find Silver Sword Griffins and Nordic Lightning, two teams that have been struggling to score goals with under 1.5 goals forward per game. Many expected NL to experience a challenging season but their recent form is actually quite positive. SSG probably hoped for a higher position but Elite is tougher than ever and it will take all of their fortitude and discipline to turn this tough start around.
ECL 5 Pro - Group 1
Moving on to Group 1 in ECL Pro you find a very, very tight race at the top of the standings with Gotham Knights and Evolution tied at the very top and Falun Coal Miners, White Trash, Inter Iceland and SIKA within 2 points of each other, giving chase to the "top dogs". It is quite impressive to see Gotham Knights (formerly Refuse To Lose) bounce back significantly after their challenging ECL 4. Evolution is another positive surprise as many probably expected them to be good, but not this good! Give credit to their team management for some shrew player signings that pushed them over the top. SIKA sports one of the best points per game team averages and with 5 games in 5 nights coming up for them, could make a push for #1 overall.
Teams like Black Panther Party, God Tier, Lavetten and murohoki (who has been a team on a mission since they signed a few new key players) continues to battle hard for a playoff spot with Alliance being the cunning shark lurking at the bottom of the sea with a solid points average but just 12 games played.
Moving on we find Hawks Hockey Club, AK47, Squirt Hockey and Nemesis who hope to grasp that final straw for the playoffs while at the same avoiding relegation. Finally, Bare Knuckles Hockey prepares to defend their spot in Pro in the Pro-Lite qualifiers.
ECL 5 Pro - Group 2
Pro Group 2 has a little more separation between the so-called "top dogs" and the playoff hopefuls. Baltic Sea Eagles, Nordic Stars, Shameful Knights and Unlucky Boys has a firm grip on the Top 4 spots and will most likely hold on to these spots in some combination. Look out teams 5-8 in Group 1, because these guys look ready for the playoffs.
The biggest surprise to me in Group 2 is Pata Hellalla who has quietly put together a good season and looks poised to clinch a playoff spot if they keep their current form. Giving chase to these underdogs we find what I like to call the "Caps Lock 4"; EN HUND, THE UNITED KNIGHTS, DEAD END KINGS and J P T J. In the mix for playoff spots we also find Sypperstaars, Speedy Bros Hockey, Clowns on Ice. Caught up in the same battle we also find the lost 5th "Caps Lock brother" in GHETTO FIREBIRDS and veteran Swedish team Free From Rodents.
Finally, Banterfield Battalion will have to shift into a higher gear to avoid the negative qualifiers that Bellizzi will have to start preparing for.
See you next time right here at NHLGamer.com when it is time to take a look at ECL Lite.