The time has come to crown a champion in our Pro division and with that also determine the team that will gain a direct promotion to compete at the highest level in ECL 10. As usual, we kicked off the season with 32 total teams that were divided into two groups and to not that much of a surprise, the two we see in the finals were the eventual winners of both groups - Delusion and Vesa Pompa HC.
Both teams have come a long way and are rather young both in terms of average age on their roster and in terms of the history of the team. Vesa Pompa has come a longer way as a group, the team first surfaced at NHLGamer when they participated in ECL 7 Lite under their previous name Lehmannens Badboyz. However, ECL 8 was their real breakout season as they finished their Lite division campaign as runner-ups and continued on that run into the SCL later that spring - you might know how that ended 🏆. Delusion is the ones we see on the other side of this battle, also an incredibly talented team that first surfaced in late 2019 before IS Cup 4. Some eyebrows were raised and there were a fair amount of doubters, but this group had set out on a mission to prove all those naysayers wrong. An impressive silver medal finish in IS Cup 4 launched the success story that is Delusion. Both teams are hungry for the direct promotion spot, as the runner-up will have to qualify against the German powerhouse BRAYCE Phantoms HC.
The argument could certainly be made that Delusion is competing in the wrong division, but due to rules and all that the team did not qualify for competition at the Elite level for their inaugural season despite their skill. It surely goes to show that they are a force to be reckoned with even on a higher level when competition has been destroyed convincingly throughout this season. The top three in scoring for the regular season consists of three Delusion players, which would be the case in the playoffs too if the games played column would show equal amounts. There's one massive exception though - Delusion has lost their right winger @Tuukka.R for the playoffs as he is serving his military duties. In his place we can see @sannteri who has had some big boots to fill, but has done so in a sufficient way. There's still a difference compared to the original lineup, but having marched through the playoffs with only one loss, Delusion will be a favourite going into the final matchup.
Vesa Pompa HC is experiencing somewhat turbulent times as the group is currently competing in the eSHL in the colour of Malmö Redhawks and doing so with a rather different roster. Trying to juggle between the two clubs must entail some challenges and has certainly had an effect on the level of play. Most recently Vesa Pompa clashed with Gotham Knights in the semifinals and played a series for the ages, where they ended up being down in the series but Gotham didn't manage to take the advantage. We ended up in a game seven in which Vesa Pompa came out on top in a scoring duel. The finals will be a hard challenge for the Swedes, who will need to find their prime form and execute at an Elite level in order to overcome Delusion. Much of the offense relies on @Nampa77 and @Eken45jr, who almost entirely by themselves have carried the team in that regard. Defensively the team will have to be on their toes constantly and @Thunborg5 in net will have his work cut out for him.
Where/when to watch?
The best-of-seven series will be starting tonight, Tuesday 28th of January at 21:30 CET and finished on Wednesday, 29th of January, 21:00 CET.
All games will be broadcasted live at the NHLGamer Twitch-channel. In the booth: @Tougie24 and @Cyn!