Hi there NHLGamers,
We've had a long season, champions have been crowned, promotions and relegations have been made, a whole bunch of W's and a whole bunch of L's have been experienced. ECL 6 started in late February and we've been going at it hard ever since. Each team has surely put in a great effort to make yet another season of the most competitive NHL esports league in Europe successful. I'm sure all teams have had their struggles and there's been tough moments where you haven't been sure of what the next move for the team be; Should there be roster changes? How can the best possible outcome be achieved? Well, you never know. Everyone has these moments and the truth is, it's really how you react to the results in these moments that can make all the difference - be it in your daily life on in the competitive NHL gaming scene.
With all this being said, we're not ready to call it a wrap quite yet - by now, we've reached the pinnacle of ECL 6, the ECL Elite Finals. This season, we'll see the clash of two extremely skilled teams coming off of rather similar runs this season. The teams we'll be watching are Carlsberg HC and Northern Ascendancy. Without further ado, let's get into what you're here for:
Without a doubt the best team at the moment. After they got rid of their captain @Joonas Paatiala and star winger @Joukki , they acquired one of the best centers in the game, two time ECL champion @Penatski. Is this the season they can hoist the cup? For sure they have all the right players to do it. After reigning champion Aapon Taikasauva disbanded, they only have a couple capable contenders in their way.
Taking a closer look at their team, no team should be able to match their offense. The best playmaker in the game (when he wants to) @Penatski, one of the most dangerous snipers in the game @Vilupoika, and the two-way workhorse @Tuukka.R. Also, the best players in their positions, defensive duo @Janzuh and @vatalistiwho can provide depth in the goal-scoring if the other teams defense can stop their forwards. If we take a look at Carlsberg's potential weaknesses, could it be a problem that both of their defenseman are so offensive-minded? What about their goalie duo? @Zande95 and @FinKonna are known for not shining the brightest in tight situations. Can the older players of the team calm down the younger players if the things get tough?
The playoff run of Carlsberg HC hasn't been as easy as it seems so far. They've won their series in convincing manner (4-2 vs Sjukstugan, 4-1 vs Dynasty) but have somewhat struggled with production in the playoffs. @Penatski hasn't quite reached the same level offensively he was at in the regular season. Without a doubt a major reason for their low scoring has been facing a team the caliber of Dynasty in the semi-final, but being able to shine even in these tight situations is what the playoffs are all about. A strong defensive effort saw Carlsberg shutting down Dynasty completely, with a GAA of only 1 in the semi's, Carlsberg is surely a strong candidate for the Elite title this season. If they can get their offense clicking even better in the finals, it will surely be an exciting one.
I believe it's safe to say our season preview really hit the nail on the head on this one. Carlsberg, as expected, managed to finish second highest in scoring by hitting the back of the net a total of 98 times during the regular season. Carlsberg will most likely improve their game on the offensive end in this series, as Northern Ascendancy isn't quite as famous for their defense as for their fast-paced offensive play. We might be seeing a scoring battle in this series.
Our season preview for Northern Ascendancy went as follows:
It's gonna be really interesting to see how NOR plays this season, since they've acquired two really good players in Haldeem and MukiMaisteri. Northern Ascendancy is known for their offense, especially their deadly counter-attacks. What was their biggest weakness?
Defense for sure, so thats why @Haldeem is such a great player to have. You can rely on him in the defensive zone and he's really good at breakout passes as well. MukiMaisteri on the other hand is a great add to any offense. His playing style might not be perfect match NOR's style of quick passes in the offensive zone, but he can score. Also if NOR wants to make it far, their goalie @poliskontroll needs to step up his game. For sure these guys can score, but the big question mark is whether or not their defense and goalie hold in the tight games?
Northern Ascendancy finished the regular season in fourth place after having some surprising difficulties in the regular season against teams such as Pata Hellalla and Falun Coal Miners, some they surely would liked to have won. Doubts about @hpkfani's (MuKiMaisteri) game not translating well into NOR's system were thrown out of the door early as the man kept on doing what he knows best - putting up points. The playoff run so far hasn't been a cakewalk for NOR either. Their first round opponent Unlucky Boys HC put up a real fight, taking the series to a game 7. However, NOR prevailed after winning the two last games. Facing the number one seed Written In The Stars in the semi-finals wasn't easy either. Although NOR beat SKY 4-1, the series was very tightly contested, with three games going into overtime.
The decisive factor on NOR's end will be whether their fast-paced passing can throw their opponents off or not. We'll most likely be seeing some scoring by MuKiMaisteri. @Foppatofflan will be setting him up, but we will need to see some variation if NOR wants to walk away with the victory in this series. Defensively, the team has been solid this year, letting in under 1.5 goals against/game this post-season.
Prediction: 4:3 Carlsberg HC
Below is what you guys predicted for this matchup in our twitter poll:
How to watch the Finals?
The games have been scheduled to be played as follows:
Game 1: Sunday 29th of April 2018 - 20:30 CEST
Game 2: Sunday 29th of April 2018 - 21:00 CEST
Game 3: Sunday 29th of April 2018 - 21:30 CEST
Game 4: Tuesday 1st of May 2018 - 20:30 CEST
Game 5: Tuesday 1st of May 2018 - 21:00 CEST (If necessary)
Game 6: Wednesday 2nd of May 2018 - 20:30 CEST (If necessary)
Game 7: Wednesday 2nd of May 2018 - 21:00 CEST (If necessary)
All of the ECL Elite Finals games will be broadcasted, so get ready to watch the action on our Twitch channel! Our first broadcast, covering the first three games, starts tomorrow, Sunday 29th of April at 20:15 CEST. All games will be commentated by @Janikka and @Kenu.
Below you'll find the lineups of the teams for at least the three first games:
Who is your favorite? Who do you expect to win? Will we see more game 7 and/or OT-drama? Let us know in the comments!
We'll see you tonight at twitch.tv/NHLGamerTwitch