The end of the line.
That's where we've come. Season 7 of ECL Elite consisted of 15 teams in total, fighting tooth and nail for each and every point available. The regular season was tougher than ever - no, that isn't an overstatement. We were treated to exciting matchups all the way to the end as the last regular season matchups were decisive for the outcome of the regular season winner, as well as regulation matchups and the very last few available playoff spots.
Your ECL 7 Elite Final matchup:
In competitive matchups, FILADELPHIA and Symphony have gone head-to-head a total of six times within the last few months, game wins being tied at 3-3 as it stands currently. FILA managed to overcome SYM in two games during the Finnish Championship Semifinals, but it's worth noting that SYM has swapped centerman @ADETIKKI for @tbnantti since. Their more recent ECL games ended 2-0 and 3-2 in favor of SYM, meaning FILA is yet to win against Symphony 2.0.
@Eki and @PleeMaker of the FILA lineup have a big weekend behind them, with some tight 1vs1 games in the Finnish Championships that eventually had the pair meet in the Finals, where Eki was able to come out on top and win the title. We'll see if the wear of grinding live games for a day straight is still taking its toll as the big ECL games start tonight. It's an interesting game FILA plays, as their tasks are rather nicely divided on the ice. They have a more defensive defenseman in @Janzuh, who controls the pace of the game at appropriate times whereas his partner @vatalisti is the more offensive part we get to see more of on the breakout. Wingers Eki and Plee link up beautifully while "Mr. Selke" @Patzlaf hangs back and provides danger coming in the second wave. @Zande95 has been the brick wall we are used to seeing in net.
Symphony's gone through an intriguing development during the season. They went from being just a shell of the former SJK eSports to an Finnish Championship (IS Cup 3) bronze medalist to an ECL Finalist. Some would call that a decent development curve, which is exactly what I'm doing in this preview. Their opponent is absolutely stacked to the gills with talent, but so is Symphony. Goaltender @ICappeI has been dominating the competition, setting a new Elite regular season record of 8 shutouts in 10 games. I don't regard their defense with @vSilenttio and @Ilmari_30 as balanced as FILA's counterpart, but the duo has still proven that they can swing against the best of them. @tbnantti at center seems to be what the doctor ordered for Symphony as the team has consistently improved since his addition.
A few interesting notes stat-wise are that Symphony is the more physical team of the two, with especially Puantso and vSilenttio leading the way in that department. The explanation for this might be that FILA is controlling the puck more in most of their matchups. FILA seems to shoot slightly more than Symphony, as the shots for differential is 110 to 92 in favor of FILA in the playoffs so far.
This is really a tough battle that can go either way and neither team winning would be an upset. FILA has, however managed to build quite the winning culture both as a team and for their individual players and head into the series as the favorite.
Our prediction: FILADELHPIA wins 4-2
FILADELPHIA starting lineup evaluated by @ICappeI
LW @PleeMaker 9GP, 7+12=19
FILADELPHIA's best player. Always a threat when he has the puck.
C @Patzlaf 9GP, 7+5=12
Mr. Selke. Great two-way player.
RW @Eki 9GP, 6+10=16
Also a great two-way player, who’s linking up good with Plee.
LD @Janzuh 9GP, 0+3=3
Their most experienced guy. A calm player who doesn’t do a lot of mistakes.
RD @vatalisti 9GP, 1+5=6
The best offensive d-man in the game. Will be interesting to see if he can handle Hans Moleman. (Puantso)
G @sibeelius 7GP, 7W, 91.89 SV%, 0.42 GAA, 4 SO
Amazing G! Looking forward to play against him. I think that both of us is going to face our most difficult challenge of the season in this series.
Vatalisti scored the decisive goal of the Finnish Championship 6vs6 finals. (Picture courtesy of Mika Tuononen)
Symphony starting lineup evaluated by @Eki
LW @Buantso 9GP, 6+8=14
The best player in symphony and one of the best players in the game . You can see he was born in a hockey family 🙂
C @tbnantti 9GP, 7+10=17
Symphony started playing better as soon as Antti started playing. Is that a coincidence? I don't think so.
RW @indi969 9GP, 7+4=11
Solid two way forward. Very easy player to play with.
LD @vSilenttio 9GP, 0+11=11
Good sense of humor.
RD @Ilmari_30 9GP, 2+5=7
Very good offensive defenseman, one of the best in the game. But could improve defensively.
G @ICappeI 7GP, 7W, 94.44 SV%, 0.57 GAA, 4 SO
The 2nd best goalie in the game. Haven't really been tested this year so I'm interested to see how he does in the Finals.
Symphony finished 3rd in the Finnish Championships and have a chance to go all the way in ECL 7. (Picture courtesy of Mika Tuononen)
How to watch the finals?
All of the ECL Elite Finals will be broadcasted with English commentary on our Twitch channel, which can be found at twitch.tv/NHLGamer, be sure to join us for the action!
Schedule for the finals:
Game 1: Monday, 17th of December 20:30 CET Symphony vs FILADELPHIA
Game 2: Monday, 17th of December 21:00 CET FILADELPHIA vs Symphony
Game 3: Tuesday, 18th of December 20:30 CET Symphony vs FILADELPHIA
Game 4: Tuesday, 18th of December 21:00 CET FILADELPHIA vs Symphony
Game 5: Thursday, 20th of December 20:30 CET Symphony vs FILADELPHIA
Game 6: Thursday, 20th of December 21:00 CET FILADELPHIA vs Symphony
Game 7: Thursday, 20th of December 21:30 CET Symphony vs FILADELPHIA
Tonight's matchups for games 1 & 2
What are your expectations for the games? Let us know your thoughts below!