So, now the big games start. We've weeded out the haves from the have nots and what we're left with is eight teams who definitely have what it takes to be the very best. Prior to the season, there were some concerns about thew level of play in Elite being inflated as we saw a lot of up-and-down movement with some teams folding. 30 games later I think it's safe to say that was not the case. If not for a few exceptions ECL 8 Elite has definitely been a league where each and every team could beat any opponent.
The primary game days for the ECL 8 Elite Quarterfinals are: Monday 11th of February, Wednesday 13th of February and Thursday 14th of February. These game days are to be prioritised in scheduling. Please communicate in the captains chat in order to ensure we have matchups in place for broadcasts.
These are the matchups for the ECL 8 Elite Quarterfinals:
As is often the case when the 1st seed faces the 8th seed in Elite it is rather unlikely to see an upset playing out. This series is no different in that in order for NOS to come out victorious, they will need an absolutely herculean effort from all players up and down their line-up, whereas for SKY they could in all likelihood ‘mail it in’ so to speak and still win each game quite decisively. The only saving grace for NOS is that they were one of the very few that were able to actually deal a blow to SKY this season in a 2-1 OT win a couple weeks back, whether this is something they can recreate however is up in the air.
Written in the Stars (Regular season record 26-3-1)
Familiar territory once again for Written in the Stars as they find themselves rolling into the playoffs with the number 1 seed for the second time in three seasons, and as one of hottest teams at the moment (8-2-0). Up to this point, SKY have completely manhandled almost everyone that they have played, establishing a record of 26-3-1 which goes down as the second best season in ECL Elite history (second only to SKYs own high water mark of 55pts in ECL 6), despite this, the most impressive part of their play is not their total points per se, instead more that they are just straight demolishing other teams. No other team in ECL history has finished a season with a goal differential of, or higher than, +74, not only does this speak to SKYs ability to score at will, but it underpins their growth defensively in that they now have a defence they can rely on it seems. To put into context how much of a beat down SKY has been dishing out, the next closest goal differential all time is +54. Of course, despite this there are still some doubts surrounding the team as their tendency to ‘choke’ once the playoffs roll around has been well documented in the past, sure the roster has changed quite considerably over the seasons but will the proverbial monkey-on-the-back remain? Only time will tell.
Leading point scorer (D): @willekunq // 30pts (8+22) in 30 games
Most winningest goalie: @Hansulinho // 86.36 SV% & 0.75 GAA in 16 games.
Northern Stars (Regular season record 12-9-9)
Someone had to draw the shortest straw, and that team just happened to be Northern Stars. That said, I do not imagine that they mind too much given the amount of adversity they have had to overcome to find themselves in this situation. Not only did they start the season to the tune of 3-6-5, but they also lost their stalwart forward in @Floor17 to illness. Despite this underwhelming start and turn of bad fortune, NOS have managed to fight tooth and nail to secure their 4th straight playoff appearance in Elite thanks in part to @cHIIMEERa catalysing the offense (having a hand in 76% of all goals scored by the team), as well as rookie acquisition @Nieppii slotting in rather nicely as the starting RW. Looking beyond this however, it would perhaps almost require a ‘Cinderella’ type of run / miracle for NOS to depose Written. Such an event would be fitting of its moniker, but even in the most outlandish scenario imaginable, I still do not see NOS besting SKY four times over the course of seven games.
Leading point scorer (F): @cHIIMEERa // 37pts (21+16) in 29 games
Leading point scorer (D): @ma0niii // 18pts (2+16) in 27 games
Most winningest goalie: @MajLeN-Gaming // 86.11 SV% & 1.50 GAA in 10 games.
Prediction: Written in the Stars, 4-1
We continue our trip through all the first round matchups with a banger. This matchup seems like a great one, where both teams boast great offensive upside and impressive goaltending. Both regular season bouts were won by FILA (2:3 & 2:0).
FILADELPHIA (Regular season record 23-6-1)
The question on everyone's minds must surely be how well FILA will defend their title. It certainly won't be an easy task as already the first round opponent could surprise them. One of FILA's strengths this season has been their offense, which looks exactly the same as last season. @PleeMaker boasts an impressive total of 60 points, with @Eki and @Patzlaf not trailing far behind. If these guys go confident into the matchup, they will be hard to stop. On defense, they also have two offensively talented but also responsible players, @Janzuh and @jtorro1233 combine for 41 points in the regular season. @FinKonna had one of the strongest seasons in the league stats-wise, but we expect @Zande95 to step up in the big games.
Leading point scorer (F): @PleeMaker // 60pts (23+37) in 30 games
Leading point scorer (D): @jtorro1233 // 21pts (6+15) in 28 games
Most winningest goalie: @FinKonna // 86.66 SV% & 1.00 GAA in 14 games.
Butterfly Effect (Regular season record 15-10-5)
FLY had a fluctuant season with some stretches of wins and losses. They made a nice push towards the end of the season and seem to have found some form as of late, so we expect them to be nearing their peak in time for the playoffs. @Joukki leads the team in scoring with 39 points amassed but he will need some secondary scoring if the team wants to advance. The team has been good defensively and we expect @JanneK. to show up big for his team in the playoffs.
Leading point scorer (F): @Joukki // 39pts (24+15) in 30 games
Leading point scorer (D): @Crisu_rottis // 10pts (0+10) in 30 games
Most winningest goalie: @JanneK. // 77.50 SV% & 2.25 GAA in 30 games.
Prediction: FILADELPHIA win 4-2.
This should be a rather even matchup and what's interesting is that the styles of these teams should matchup rather well against each other. Symphony is a clear puck possession team whereas Rusty Blades likes to counter and utilise quick passing plays. We also see two of the best goaltenders in the scene go at it as @swagx88 has stood tall in net for SYM and we are all very aware of how good @Supreex has been for RB for years now.
Symphony (Regular season record 21-5-4)
Things for Symphony are kicking well, as expected. There wasn't too much roster turnover in the offseason as the team basically switched a goalie as @swagx88 replaced @ICappeI and up front @RutonMosse replaced @Buantso on the left wing. Let me tell you these changes have worked out for them! An already strong team got even better and both new players have possessed leading roles in their run so far this season. An extremely important factor in Symphony's success has also been their centerman @tbnantti, who seems to have hit his peak this season. The experienced center likes to hold on to the puck and seems to do close to impossible things with it every time it lays at his tape. To start of the season, SYM looked a bit shaky, experiencing a loss against AIK and a double loss against Butterfly Effect but at the same time stealing points from regular season winner Written In The Stars. They seem to have found their stride towards the end of the season though, closing out the last ten games with a record of 9-0-1.
Leading point scorer (F): @RutonMosse // 51pts (26+25) in 30 games
Leading point scorer (D): @Ilmari_30 // 22pts (9+14) in 30 games
Most winningest goalie: @swagx88 // 80.76 SV% & 1.42 GAA in 14 games.
Rusty Blades (Regular season record 15-10-5)
Rusty Blades experienced something of a facelift over the offseason and oh boy has it been refreshing to see! Previously, "you get what you see" would have described RB quite perfectly. Everyone knew what they were about and sometimes they were effective with it, sometimes not. Well, this time around they added a few quality players to their lineup who definitely have taken the team to the next level. The duo @Foppatofflan-@MartindalexC from the former Northern Ascendancy definitely brings a whole new element to their offense and the addition of @The_Alpha_Furyan on LD has turned out in their favour too. All in all, the Rusty Blades 2.0 we're seeing this season is a team you could very well see go all the way if they manage to find consistency, something that has been difficult for them as of late.
Leading point scorer (F): @MartindalexC // 45pts (26+19) in 30 games
Leading point scorer (D): @The_Alpha_Furyan // 22pts (2+20) in 30 games
Most winningest goalie: @Supreex // 79.93 SV% & 1.96 GAA in 30 games.
Prediction: Symphony wins, 4-2
This matchup offers up the best chance of the series going the distance and being decided in game 7, in fact the stats alone dictate as much (2.03 vs. 2.07 GF/A & 1.53 vs. 2.00 GA/A respectively). Despite the slight stats advantage towards DPH, I still think that Dynasty hold the edge based on their experience in Elite at this stage, as well as their roster finally resembling full strength as of late.
Deadly Phantoms HC (Regular season record 18-9-3)
Heading into this season DPH already had amassed quite a reputation before playing a single game, in fact I would go as far to say that out of all teams in Elite, they are one of the most identifiable teams quite simply because of their style of play and their ‘community presence’. Whether that is a good or a bad thing is up for debate of course, nevertheless this reputation invariably led to some teams and players no doubt making it their sole mission this season to not lose to Deadly Phantoms HC. Well, seen as DPH clinched ‘home ice advantage’ for the 1st round, it would appear as though that the German team can, at the very least, be competitive in Elite, and at the most, be good at it. Heading up this team offensively we have the duo of @Tim_FlyersFan & @Playmaker who appear to have adjusted to the step up from Pro to Elite very nicely, with each of their seasons being their first in Elite. Defensively however is where DPHs ‘true’ strengths lie, as through 30 games they conceded the 3rd fewest amount of goals in the division with a stifling 1.53 GAA. As far as quick comparisons go then it would seem as though this series cannot be better balanced, however it should be said that as the playoffs roll in, the goals typically dry up thanks to a myriad of reasons, one of those being anxiety. Such a problem is often not a factor for veterans of the playoffs for Elite, yet for a ‘new’ team it is certainly something that could come into play in some form or another and drag down their performance.
Leading point scorer (F): @Tim_FlyersFan // 47pts (14+33) in 30 games
Leading point scorer (D): @gzell60 // 17pts (1+16) in 28 games
Most winningest goalie: @RPH_31 // 83.48 SV% & 1.42 GAA in 26 games.
Dynasty (Regular season record 18-10-2)
Stop the presses! Dynasty finished a season without clinching the 4th spot, or by recording around 42pts. Truly the end times are nigh! That aside, this season was once again a case of same old same old for those in DYN. Sure, they started a little slow, sure they had a bit of a wobble in the later part of the season, sure they perhaps did not look that impressive, yet here we are, in the playoffs again. In fact, their road to the playoffs could potentially be explained simply by the absolute ****show that went on regarding rotations over the season. Their most played goalie @Sandr0hh played 4 games as a skater (splitting it evenly between offence & defence), 6 players played as a skater, 5 players played as a defender and only one player actually played in 30 games (@hpkfani). Such a rotation is especially unusual considering most team rotate out one player at most really. Of course, none of this matters in the grand scheme of things going forward as I find it somewhat unlikely that such an arrangement it will continue into the playoffs. In fact, it may even serve to lull DPH into a false sense of security if DYN are able to come out swinging with their full roster clicking at a rate far above their season averages, which are admittedly astoundingly average going into this series. For instance out of the 8 playoff bound teams, Dynasty ranks dead last in GAA (granted by .03%) and 5th in GFA.
Leading point scorer (F): @hpkfani // 48pts (30+18) in 30 games
Leading point scorer (D): @Haldeem // 14pts (3+11) in 18 games
Most winningest goalie: @Sandr0hh // 85.28 SV% & 1.70 GAA in 20 games.
Prediction: Dynasty, 4-2
Stay tuned for announcements about the games on our social media channels, playoff matchups will be broadcasted at Elisa Viihde as usual.
We'll also have international broadcasts for you as best as we can. These will also be announced on social media.