Yet another Pro season is in the books. We had some exciting times and now 30 games later the deserving playoff goers have been weeded out from the rest. Tomorrow we'll be kicking off the fight for the ultimate goal for any of these remaining teams - promotion to ECL Elite! We'll also have some quality relegation battles up for you guys. As no teams folded or were disqualified, the teams placed 13th to 16th in each group will battle against each other for the right to play in ECL 9 Pro.
The ECL Pro Playoffs Round 1 is to be played between Monday 11th of February and Sunday, 17th of February.
Without further ado, here are your ECL 8 Pro Playoffs Round 1 matchups:
(G1 #1) TIKI TALK vs. Bellizzi (G2 #8)
Both teams in this series are very experienced. TIKI TALK has started to find beck their winning ways after a bit of a struggle for the past few seasons. Bellizzi on the other hand has been a Pro competitor for a long time already, but they always seem to get stuck in the masses along the low middle of the table. It'll be interesting to see if they can match up to TIKI, who have found some convincing form lately.
(G2 #1) The Next Gen vs. GHETTO FIREBIRDS (G1 #8)
The Next Gen is a team whose talent cannot be understated. They have versus powerhouse @kriketski17 centering a line with @Thounii and @NikkeDangles on the flanks and boy have they been dangerous! @oGBioLan will play a crucial part in their playoff run as their most experienced ECL player. Opposing them is GHETTO FIREBIRDS, who are making a strong push back into the top of the Pro division after missing the playoffs last season. Going into the post season as an eighth place seed won't be easy but they should be able to put up a decent fight.
(G1 #2) Gotham Knights vs. SPARTANS (G2 #7)
Gotham Knights showed us what it takes to be one of the top teams in Pro. Their centerman @ReDMisTi finished the season with 36 points and was a valuable asset for the team all season. On the other side we have Spartans, who got the chance to play in the Pro division and they really made it count. With @rize1988 leading the team in points alongside the fabled @Drunkendefender on defense they managed to finish in seventh place in their group. This series is going to be a tight one but a Gotham win 4-2 is our prediction.
(G2 #2) Born With It vs. SIKA (G1 #7)
The battle of the veterans! Born With It has had a great season so far and most of it can probably be attributed to being one of the more experienced teams in the league. SIKA is better known as a team and the same could be said for them. We'll expect to see a scoring onslaught as neither teams have been all too convincing in their own end.
(G1 #3) Checkmate vs. Speedy Bros Hockey (G2 #6)
This is going to be a tough series to call. Checkmate has a stacked roster, featuring former Elite All-Star @Tuukka.R and long-time SIKA forward @Naikou88 to name a few. They seem to be rotating their roster quite much though - do they have chemistry? Their opponent Speedy Bros Hockey declined an Elite promotion during the offseason in order to improve their game for another season in Pro. We'll be waiting to see if all that practice pays off as they go head to head with their toughest opponent yet in this series.
(G2 #3) Mentula SKA vs. Rajatorpan Mafia (G1 #6)
Two teams that are playing their first Pro season face each other in the first round of the playoffs. Rajatorpan Mafias power play won't get many chances as Mentula SKA play a clean game where they had the least amount of penalties and third least hits in the regular season. Rajatorpan can challenge any team with their consistent play, they got at least a point from every opponent in the regular season. Additionally they had nine games that were decided in overtime. Mentula SKA has a core that has played together for four consecutive ECL seasons and the addition of ECL veteran Hanssonni makes them favorites in the series.
(G1 #4) Silver Sword Griffins vs. Black Horse (G2 #5)
SSG is one of the older ECL teams, they are in fact closing in on the 300 game mark as a franchise and that's something most teams could only dream of right now. They've gone through some rough times but lately it seems they've found their stride a bit. Maybe this is the season they will take the step back up to the highest level? Black Horse is their opponent. They're a new team that's built around the former Shameful Knights core of @Hullued, @Exel56 and @Tapparafan to name a few. They aren't total newcomers either so to speak. The interesting thing about them is the former top goaltended Hullued making the switch to the forward position and dominating at that too - 54 points in 28 games isn't too shabby for a guy who used to stop pucks more than shoot them.
(G2 #4) Raccoon Rampage vs. POGGERS (G1 #5)
This series is going to be an even one. POGGERS is the more experienced team, but Raccoon Rampage is a team full of young, hungry players who have successfully been building a decent buzz around themselves recently. Both teams are very responsible defensively and have great goaltending, but the prediction here would be that it all boils down to who can be more effective up front. The Poggers duo of @JaKurrii and @Chafak are something to keep an eye on.
We'd like to take this opportunity to thank all teams for participation, it was fun to watch and follow your games. Good luck for all teams with the further rounds and battles, good luck and most important - have fun!