Hi there NHLGamers,
The playoff spring is starting to heat up as the sun shines brighter and we close in on the really important games of the season. For some, the season ends and a break from hockey ensues, but there is still a lot of action to keep your eyes peeled for.
Our Lite division is going on to it's second round of playoff action. This means that the best 16 teams in this division remain to compete for the title and promotion to the Pro division come ECL 7.
Let's have a look at the upcoming matchups:
(1) Bare Knuckles Hockey vs MotherPuckers (19)
Much like their last series, Bare Knuckles Hockey has all the pressure in this one. Once again, we will witness a David vs. Goliath-matchup. Although MotherPuckers have some experienced players in their lineup, their game hasn't really translated to the scoresheet this season. The outcome of this series will very much depend on the performance of Bare Knuckles top scorer Teroe94 (@Tero Paikkari). If the MotherPuckers up the level of their team defense, this series could definitely be up for grabs for them.
Prediction: 4:3 Bare Knuckles Hockey
(2) Cowabunga Hockey vs Bucketeers (17)
Cowabunga Hockey is one of my personal favourites as a title contender. A high-scoring offense (84 goals in the regular season) complemented with excellent team defense and a strong goaltender in @Jonitski makes them one of the best teams in the Lite division. In the second round, they will be facing Bucketeers, who rely heavily on a good neutral zone trap and simple decisions in the offensive end. Bucketeers isn't a team that will present the most beautiful hockey, but it surely is effective in winning the games.
Prediction: 4:1 Cowabunga Hockey
(3) SGWEER United vs Sektion K (15)
SGWEER United picked up right where they left after the regular season. Being the highest scoring team in the regular season, they scored 33 goals in 5 games during their first-round matchup against Kaksikymmentaseitseman. @Gregson91 and riNBF3 (@rene hackberger) are responsible for most of their production, so it will be crucial for Sektion K to shut down this dynamic duo. Sektion K will be relying on @Tauri in net to be a brick wall and @Edhoolm97 to produce for them in the offensive zone.
Prediction: 4:2 SGWEER United
(4) Hippo Rangers vs Pohjoista Voimaa (13)
Both teams swept their first round opponents. In other similarities, both teams finished their regular season in 2nd place in their respective groups. Both teams also have very strong goaltenders in @Perkkari for Hippo and @meiha for Pohjoista Voimaa. This will be a tough series - expect low scoring games.
Prediction: 4:3 Hippo Rangers
(5) Rukoilevat Hinkkaajat vs Freddie Mercury Insitute (12)
I'm expecting a tough clash in this series. Both teams are solid defensively, backed by good goaltenders in @hulkamaania and @TheSpeedo, who will be having their own battle of the goalies. The other significant battle in this series will be between the more experienced members of each team. @Samzoni on Hinkkaajat's end will need to elevate his game to match Kickingapollo (@kApollo) in what I see as the other pair of players that will make an impact on this series.
Prediction: 4:3 Rukoilevat Hinkkaajat
(6) Suomen Sonnit vs Style (11)
Personally, I saw Suomen Sonnit as one of the strongest contenders before the season. Inconsistency in the regular season might have lead to a surprisingly low seed for the playoffs, but I'm expecting this team to pick it up a bit the further we go into the important games. On the other side we have Style - a team in their first ECL season after dominating the Swedish OEHL. I'm expecting to see a tightly contested series as both teams know how to put the puck in the net and defend in their own end.
Prediction: 4:3 Suomen Sonnit
(7) GHETTO FIREBIRDS vs Korpens Finest (10)
In this series we have GHETTO FIREBIRDS who are looking to redeem themselves after a tough last season in Pro. The regular season didn't go as well as they maybe would've hoped, but the birds still easily made the playoffs and managed to overcome their first-round opponent 4-1. This series isn't going to be as easy, as Korpens Finest is hoping to put up a good fight. Although seeding 10th into the playoffs, we must not forget that Korpens topped their regular season group.
Prediction: 3:4 Korpens Finest
(8) EV Duisburg vs Etelan Vetelat (9)
Duisburg is one of the most experienced Lite teams. Having been close to promotion for a few seasons, this might be the time to shine for them. We know they won't be stumbling on goaltending with @FoxGoalie standing tall in net. Can they produce enough to move on to the next round? We're expecting to see great things, especially from @ShawnMcNeil and @GreatOne139 up front. The Germans will be facing an inexperienced Etelan Vetelat, led by @jouni29 on offense. Etelan will hope to cause an upset, but it is hard to see as they were struggling a bit in the first round against 5th Line Heroes.
Prediction: 4:0 EV Duisburg
We're expecting tight matchups and an exciting time. Be sure to post your streams on the frontpage so we'll be able to follow along!
The second round is going to be played from 23rd March until 29th March 2018 (next Thursday). No extra time will be given!
Special thanks to @Panarinz for assisting in the creation of this preview.