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  1. NHLGamers, The season in our ECL 10 Pro Division ended recently as Black Horse managed to win the Pro Division title and with that gain direct promotion to Elite for next season. With all of the skill level and excitement involved, the finals were the best possible PR for console hockey and our beloved 6v6 game mode and most of all - the ECL and it's players. The ECL 10 Pro finals had a bit of everything: tight games, great goals, great defending, tactical and disciplined play and a very dramatic game seven conclusion. All in all a very worthy series to conclude our 10th season. The winner overcame tough phases during the series and Enigma´s title would not have been a major injustice. Black Horse held up against the opponents momentum in critical phases of the games and at the most important moment, scored the winner in overtime. Regular season The best team definitely won the Pro title although there were several good teams in contention throughout the season. Over the course of the regular season, Enigma was obviously one of them and the youngsters of Riven Johdolla also made an impressive run in their first Pro season. Växjö Lakers HC had a slow start but improved their record as the season progressed. Another great showing by a newcomer was seen from HanaaHC, who also played well in the regular season and eventually continued their form into the postseason. In the regular season, Kaupallinen Yhteistyö had to fight hard for their playoff position, it's a bit surprising for a team that after all participated in the Elite Qualification series before the ECL. Also, Blackdawgs was a minor surprise for finishing 6th in their regular season group. The team is generally strong but improved the longer the season progressed. Exen Esports (former Alliance HT) I would have expected to finish a little higher at the end of the regular season, due to the sheer amount of experience in the team. Leksands IF won Group 1 with a tight margin but faced immediate elimination in a major upset against HanaaHC in the first round. The Swedes have to go back to the drawing board after an impressive eSHL run that did not continue in the ECL. Playoffs In the playoffs the most impressive contribution was made by Enigma and HanaaHC, who also left off where they ended their regular season - top form. Växjö Lakers HC improved from below average to their high standard level just in time for the playoffs but ended up running into Enigma in the second round whereas Reality Check also was a team that seemed to peak at the end of the regular season, in time for the playoffs. Riven Johdolla played a tremendous regular season but faced quick elimination and disappointment in the playoffs. Blackdawgs caused a minor surprise by knocking TIKI TALK out in the first round. The bigger surprise was Hanaa HC knocking out the Group 1 winner Leksands IF - rumbling heard throughout the division as the newcomers were gunning for bigger opponents now. Kaupallinen Yhteistyö played against Black Horse in the first round - the future champion to be - and fought bravely taking the series into a seventh game. Notable players in the regular season The forward trio of Riven Johdolla were one of the most dominant collectives in recent Pro history throughout the regular season, continuing into the playoffs. Their playoff performance was slightly weaker than in the regular season but still significant - one of the biggest reasons for the newcomers faring well in their first Pro season. @Nieppii transferred to Enigma for this season and instantly made a great contribution to his new team. He was one of the most impactful players in the regular season and a big factor to Enigma´s great performance in the playoffs and that fact they were able to challenge Black Horse as well as they did in the finals. Notable Players in the playoffs As previously mentioned, @Nieppii was arguably one of the most visible individual players that made a huge performance in the playoffs and had a major effect in Enigma´s journey to the finals. Black Horses @Tapparafan and @PCJP were also other great names in the playoffs and there's no doubt about the fact that both of them had an instrumental role in the fact that their team eventually won the championship. The solid star players combined with competent backup led to the victory of BH. Especially in Game 7 @PCJP kept the team alive saving the crucial penalty shot at the later part of the third period. Vaxjö Lakers HC star @EDHOLMINHO also deserves a shoutout for being one of the key factors in elevating his teams play. @EDHOLMINHO boosted his own standard of play significantly and helped his team to upgrade their level. The top 6 of ECL 10 Pro @Tapparafan (Black Horse) - @Pasi Modry (Black Horse) - @laitineen64 (Black Horse) @Crisu_rottis (Enigma) - @Raikkoneeh (HanaaHC) @PCJP (Black Horse) These "top 6"-lists are always controversial and that's something to love in itself. Playoff performances and consistency was valued highly in these selections and that's why you'll see many finalists among the selections, but also a player like @Raikkoneeh was selected due to a high level of play throughout the season. This season it seemed like the competition at the LW spot was extremely tough, players such as @Nieppii and @EDHOLMINHO were left out due to the extreme scoring power of @Tapparafan. Which players would our NHLGamers pick? Please comment below.
  2. NHLGamers, Tonight we're a starting the final series of the season in our Pro division and it's going to be a fierce fight between two capable teams that will give their all in order to rise to the top. Black Horse finished the regular season as the #1 seed in group two and the top team overall, whereas Enigma has had to cause an upset or two as they didn't have a cakewalk through the regular season, but have risen tot he occasion during the playoffs. Road to the finals Black Horse Round 1: vs Kaupallinen Yhteistyö 4-3 Round 2: vs Children of Ice 4-0 Semi-finals: vs Hanaa HC 4-0 Enigma Round 1: vs ZSC Esports 4-2 Round 2: vs Vaxjö Lakers HC 4-2 Semi-finals: vs Reality Check 4-3 The road to the finals has been very different for both of these teams. Black Horse had a tight first round against Kaupallinen Yhteistyo after which they have gone on an unbeaten streak and swept a bunch of skilled teams such as HanaaHC in the process. The key players of Black Horse have not been surprising. @Tapparafan as their top player in scoring stats and excellent goaltending by @PCJP has been the x-factor for this team without dismissing the contribution of the rest of the team. Especially the magnificient goaltending Black Horse have seen from @PCJP might provide an edge in the closing games of the season. As said, Enigma didn't run through the regular season without cough-ups, as expected from a newly formed team. The skilled guys went into the playoffs as 10th seed in total, which means they had to go up against better seeded teams in a few series - handled with ease. Enigma also has a very reliable goalie in @Jaakkomusta, who has been great for them in previous rounds. It is certain that the battle between the pipes will be one to keep an eye on throughout the finals. Enigmas offensive trio led by @Nieppii packs an impressive punch, but Black Horse is arguably a tighter unit. Despite having a tougher run to the finals, Enigma is no slouch and will put up an impressive showing which might very well grab them a handful of victories in this series. It's also impressive how Black Horse has managed to disassemble very skilled teams with ease. This is a series you won't want to miss. Prediction of the series The superb class of Black Horse will eventually be too much for Enigma who as experienced players with Elite experience under their belt could be exhausted by the season and not have the hunger that their opponents do. Although Enigma battled greatly in all rounds to the finals Black Horse is on a different level than Enigmas past opponents in terms of overall strength. Black Horse will win in 5-6 games. Watch games 1-3 TONIGHT at www.twitch.tv/nhlgamer starting 20 CEST!
  3. NHLGamers, The exciting regular season of our Pro division is over for now and heads are turning towards the postseason. For some teams that might mean shifting focus towards coming tournaments, but we'll be taking a look at the ones continuing into the playoffs. It's time to take a look at the round 1 matchups and examine some key points in each one of them. As always, all series are played in best-of-7 fashion, meaning that four wins will grant access to the next round. A general impression of the first round matchups show a bunch of really evenly matched teams. One of two clear favorites can be found but overall, it's a free-for-all. Predicting eventual winners could be an impossible task, but as per usual, speculation is what we will provide. Let's see how we fare this time around and start getting ready for the playoffs of ECL 10 Pro! Leksands IF (1) vs HanaaHC (8) Leksands IF played an incredibly strong regular season throughout. HanaaHC also had a great showing but had 3 consecutive defeats at the end, which pushed them down in the standings. Maybe they jumped the gun a bit and were concentrated on the playoffs? HanaaHC has been playing very disciplined and had enough scoring power to win the tight games. The youngsters certainly do have what it takes to be successful, but it'll be exciting to see whether the sheer experience that Leksands IF has will prevail. As stated, an upset isn't out of the question and HanaaHC might steal a couple, but in the end Leksand should advance. Players to watch: @Isindar (33+33=66) Leksands IF @Hazard-laser (27+23=50) HanaaHC @Mikka (16+32=48) HanaaHC Prediction: Leksands IF in 6 Black Horse (1) vs Kaupallinen Yhteistyo (8) Both teams had good regular seasons, although KY had some interesting player turnover which might have had an effect. Neither one went on longer losing streaks. Kaupallinen Yhteistyö got a major boost since acquiring JANURI98. They are a strong team and the 8th seed can give the wrong impression about their true capabilities. In this series, we've got all the ingredients for fierce battle and I predict we can be up for an upset and see KY win the needed tight games. Black Horse has had a major weapon in their attack with experienced Wirtsuuu. It'll come down to the battle between attack and defense, but also which team will have a stronger supporting cast. Players to watch: @Tapparafan (49+29=78) Black Horse @JanneK. (11 W, 75,79 SV%, 2,8 GAA, 2 SO) Kaupallinen Yhteistyo @Krisutus (22+37=59) Kaupallinen Yhteistyo Prediction: Kaupallinen Yhteistyo in 7 Team Frosty (2) vs Sulkavan Sudet (7) Team Frosty is known for their good disciplined teamplay and great defending with the ability to win tight games. They are a big favorite in this series against Sulkavan Sudet, who had a pretty good regular season that finished with three consecutive wins. Perhaps Sudet are peaking to start the playoffs and can challenge Frosty? As said, Team Frosty gave an impression in the regular season to be able to win the low scoring games but playoffs are a different beast. On the other hand, it is a similar situation for Sulkavan Sudet. By playing a bunch of tight games and coming away on top, I'd say that Frosty are already in playoff mode and by finding that same focus, they will come out on top. Players to watch: @Naikou88 (25+26=51) Team Frosty @SpiderRoyal (22 W, 77,82 SV%, 1,9 GAA, 1 SO) Team Frosty @Oxdoggi (25+31=56) Sulkavan Sudet Prediction: Team Frosty in 7 Nordic Stars (2) vs Children of Ice (7) Both team have a high average level. Children of Ice have had a weaker season than expected whereas Nordic Stars probably performed a little better than expected. NS is one of those teams that seems to practice almost every night which could give them an advantage. Then again, Children of Ice consist of some of the most experienced players out there. I predict this series to be tighter than you might expect if you look only at the finishing positions in the regular season. Although NS is a major favorite, Children of Ice have the ability to extend this series. Players to watch: @Jerax13 (37+26=63) Nordic Stars @Jorma Parola (23+29=52) Children of Ice Prediction: Nordic Stars in 5 RPEAT Esports (3) vs Vaxjö Lakers (6) Vaxjö Lakers had a slow start to the season. However, since then they have improved their game and results tremendously. Despite their struggles, the Swedes are a high-quality team that know how to play when going into a playoff series against a viable opponent such as RPEAT Esports. Most likely, both teams will find that next gear and we'll see an all-out battle on the ice. Vaxjö Lakers HC has EDHOLMINHO as their main weapon on attack which might turn the series in their favor even if RPEAT Esports have the advantage based on regular season performances. The key players for RPEAT are Aze and Magizam, who will do all they can to stop VLH. Players to watch: @EDHOLMINHO (32+45=77) Vaxjö Lakers HC @Aze (21+25=46) RPEAT Esports @Magizam (17 W, 83,73 SV%, 1,71 GAA, 5 SO) RPEAT Esports Prediction: Vaxjö Lakers HC in 6 TIKI TALK (3) vs Blackdawgs (6) To cap off the regular season, TIKI TALK took the giant leap from 6th to 3rd place. They are in good form and a slight favorite in this series. Blackdawgs aren´t by any means without a chance in this series. They managed to win group 1 1st seed Leksands IF twice in the regular season, which shows that they have the ability to win big teams. TIKI has one of the best goalies in the Pro Division with Petterson12, who is a giant obstacle for Blackdawgs to overcome. Pettersson is the determining factor which will push TIKI to a win in this series. TIKI TALK must be aware of Blackdawgs' two top players responsible for over a total of 100 points combined: XxProArskaxX and ItzYung_Dzouvi. Players to watch: @itspardytime (39+30=69) TIKI TALK @Pettersson12 (21 W, 83,47 SV%, 2,07 GAA, 4 SO) TIKI TALK @TheArska (30+30=60) Blackdawgs @dzouvi (24+23=47) Blackdawgs Prediction: TIKI TALK in 5 Riven Johdolla (4) vs Reality Check (5) For me, this is without a doubt the series to watch in round 1. Riven Johdolla has a tremendously skilled line of attackers who all dominated the regular season in scoring statistics. They also have a very balanced team with reliable defense and a goalie that is capable of stealing games. Reality Check is a very similarily built team with equal scoring power and a capable defense. I predict a very tight series with few goals and a high likelihood of a game 7 finish. Playoffs are a different world compared to the regular season so can Riven Johdolla maintain their tremendous level in playoffs? Riven has all the chances to go through to the next round but I see Reality Check as a minor favorite in this series. The key to this series will be which offensive powerhouse can eliminate their counterpart. Players to watch: @Vattu__ (35+39=74) Riven Johdolla @BensaPoju (30+44=74) Riven Johdolla @ilikkaa (35+37=72) Riven Johdolla @jorma2001 (28+33=61) Reality Check @James (29+26=55) Reality Check @Pursuitti (20+31=51) Reality Check Prediction: Reality Check in 7 ZSC Esports (4) vs Enigma (5) In the regular season Enigmas performances were notable, having former Symphony player Nieppii lead the way for them. Although Enigma has some star players, I don't see the skill gap between these two teams as too large. Enigma left a very positive impression on me in the regular season and I wouldn't be surprised to see them advance. ZSC Esports have a special weapon in their defense. Their two go-to guys are high-scoring Bille1009 and Haldeem, who know how to quarterback plays but can also shut down the opposition. On the other hand, Enigma also has firepower in the defense with Crisu_Rottis at the forefront. We'll see if ZSC can match what Enigma throws at them in this exciting series. Players to watch: @Bille1990 (4+20=24) ZSC Esports @Haldeem (4+20=24) ZSC Esports @Nieppii (25+45=70) Enigma @Crisu_rottis (7+22=29) Enigma Prediction: Enigma in 6 As always, have fun - play hard!
  4. NHLGamers, With the Pro season past the halfway point, it's time to take a look at the action that's been going on in our second highest division. The competition is fiercer than ever and as we're closing in on the playoffs, the stakes will only get higher. Let's get on with our midseason report: Top Teams Riven Johdolla has had a tremendous season so far. They were leading Group 1 and have successfully taken command of the top three positions in the point totals department. Also, their defenders are the leading players in the defenders point totals and +/- statistics. The success of young and hungry Riven Johdolla isn't a big surprise at all. The fact that they have several players leading the statistics of their positions isn´t a coincidence and has a significant connection to the overall performance of the team success like you may expect. In the last few days, Riven Johdolla has experienced some minor fluctuations in their positioning, but looks to be heading towards the playoffs with a high group stage finish. Team Frosty has also had a strong start in Group 1. In the games I have seen from them, their overall teamplay has been very well organized. Most of Team Frosty's games have seen very minimal scoring - both scored for and conceded. RPEAT Esports and Leksands IF recently made an incredible climb to the top positions in the standings after having the youngsters of Riven Johdolla lead the Group 1 earlier last week. In Group 2 Black Horse and HanaaHC are leading the pack - as they have been doing for a while now. HanaaHC I saw last week against Shooting Stars and the strong team spirit of Hanaa was apparent as the joy those guys play with was visible through their performances. Nordic Stars and ZSC Esports are also determined to fight for the leading positions in Group 2 as we are proceeding to the second half of the regular season. Playoff Battles Recently I saw the games of two teams battling for playoff positions: Exen esports (Group 1) and Shooting Stars (Group 2). Both were good in their games and still have chances in their near future, but utilizing their scoring opportunities must be way more clinical than before. Differences between the teams in contention of the last playoff spots are minimal in both groups, so none of the teams around those positions can afford to drop points. Another interesting team is Vaxjö Lakers, who are also battling for playoffs in Group 2, which is quite surprising after an exciting campaign in the eSHL. Kaupallinen Yhteistyo lost several key players recently, which has sent the team into something of a whirlwind. However, newly acquired goalie @JanneK. has been off to a hot start with the team and is a crucial component as they are battling for playoff position in Group 1. In the same group, Enigma is in pursuit of a place in the playoffs. Enigma should have been a title candidate but has surprisingly found that Pro competition wouldn't be a cakewalk for the skilled team. Notable players Some of the most notable players during the first half of the season has been without a doubt the attackers of Riven Johdolla, including @Vattu__, who has represented the white and blue for the last two seasons in the Lite Division. In Riven Johdolla, vattu_ seems to have found the right group of guys around him that have helped him to elevate his game to the next step. So far he has combined for nearly as many points as last season and there are still games left to go. There have been goalies in good form in several teams including Team Frosty, Exen Esports, Riven Johdolla, and Shooting Stars. We've seen many low scoring games and despite none of few goals - there have been opportunities to score a whole bunch. One of the key goalies has been @JanneK. from Kaupallinen Yhteistyo as mentioned earlier. He is a really important player as the team is battling for a their place in the postseason in Group 1. @Nieppii from Enigma has also showed his Elite-proven skill this season. He previously represented Symphony, but has recently moved to Enigma. The team is still battling for a playoff spot and Nieppii has been a key player in that push. In Group 2, Vaxjo Lakers LW @EDHOLMINHO has been in great form and is his teams leading scorer by a wide margin. In a somewhat underperforming team, he has been a glimpse of hope. Edholminho has maintained his level regardless of his teams performance. Matchups to watch going forward In the second half of the season, the battles for top seed will be interesting in both groups. In Group 1, Rpeat Esports and Leksands IF are scheduled to play each other on April 30th in a heated battle. On the same day there is a game between Kaupallinen Yhteistyö and Exen esports in which some important points in the battle for the last playoff spot are to be determined. we should see a low-scoring game with two teams showing a disciplined approach to the game, and on KY's side, we'll see one of the best goalies in the division. On the other hand, if we end up seeing either team in a desperate position, we might be in for a scoring explosion - you never know! In Group 2, Nordic Stars and Black Horse are scheduled for a battle on May 4th. That is a heated rivalry, which might be deciding someone's fate in the top 3 of the group. These teams are likely to make the postseason and therefore also have a chance to force their game on their opponents a bit more. That's going to be it for this snapshot into the action of the Pro season so far. What do you expect going forward? Let us know in the comments! As always, play hard - have fun!
  5. NHLGamers, The ECL 9 Pro season is in the books with the last games in the finals having been played at the end of January. At the end of the line we got to see arguably the most talent packed final series ever on our second highest tier of competition. Both Delusion and Vesa Pompa HC consists players possessing tremendous personal skill. Both teams have also seen previous success, as Vesa Pompa are the reigning SCL champions and Delusion recently paved their way into the finals (and almost won!) of IS Cup 4. We've decided to take a closer look back at the final series between these two teams. Here's the road to the finals for both teams: Delusion 🏆 Vesa Pompa HC 🥈 Group stage record: 29-0-1 (1st) Group stage record: 26-2-2 (2nd) Round 1: vs Pata Hellalla (8) 4-0 Round 1: vs ZSC Lions (8) 4-0 Quarterfinals: vs Black Horse (8) 4-0 Quarterfinals: vs Reality Check (7) 4-2 Semifinals: vs GHETTO FIREBIRDS (4) 4-1 Semifinals: vs Gotham Knights (3) 4-3 Vesa Pompa HC had two tough series against both Reality Check and Gotham Knights. On the other side of the finals, Delusion had easier series in the first two rounds but somewhat tougher in the semifinals against the ever so strong GHETTO FIREBIRDS. The main question before the finals was which one of these teams were in better form, since Vesa Pompa had truly been battle tested whereas Delusion has been able to cruise through the season quite casually - granted this might be due to their overpowering skill compared to their competition. Games 1 & 2 - Tuesday, 28th of January, 2020 Game 1 - 4-1 Delusion W The first period was a rather tight ordeal but eventually Delusion led 1-0. In the second period Delusion was the more dominant part and with that widened their lead to 1-3 even though Vesa Pompa HC managed to score a lone goal. Throughout the remainder of the game, we did not see a comeback from the Swedes and Delusion takes game 1 in a convincing fashion. Game 2 - 3-4 Vesa Pompa HC W The second game of the series was certainly an outstanding bounce back by Vesa Pompa after getting embarrassed a bit to start the series. They were determined to even up the score and did so in a shootout. Delusion took a quick lead but the skilled Swedes countered with two of their own. All in all, the first night was a great indicator of the kind of action we were to see throughout the rest of the series. Games 3-6 - Wednesday, 29th of January, 2020 Game 3 - 5-1 Delusion W In game three, Delusion scores two nearly identical goals at the end of the first period - @Beniittto finds a breakaway opportunity twice and tickles twine with a great backhand shot on both chances. The second period was no different, but Delusion only netted one goal. We finish with an equally dominant third and chalk up another victory for the Finnish team. Delusion was simply the more efficient team and took advantage of the momentum in the game. Game 4 - 3-4 OT Vesa Pompa HC W We see a very similar storyline to the second game in the series, where Delusion opens the scoring, but Vesa Pompa quickly manages to gather themselves and get back in the game, this time with three quick unanswered markers. Once again, Delusion mounted a comeback and we entered overtime, in which Vesa Pompa's Finnish star @Nampa77 steps up and becomes the hero that ties up the series. Game 5 - 2-0 Delusion W To our surprise, the fifth game of the series was the one game where strict defensive play and patience finally was the key. The score was kept low due to the high stakes of the game - the winner would be merely one win away from the title. Delusion is the only team to get some scoring going, as they manage to net two whereas Vesa Pompa isn't as effective and gets shut down completely by a stellar defensive effort and strong play by @uhNikke in net for Delusion. Game 6 - 4-2 Delusion W Delusion had the series in a stranglehold and therefore Vesa Pompa needed their best game of the series in order to keep the games going. It has definitely not been a matter of playing bad for the Swedes, but Delusion is simply such a difficult team to beat. The major difference between the two teams has been capitalising on scoring opportunities.Once again, fans are treated to a defensive battle in which Delusion finds the back of the net twice until Vesa Pompa got their first marker. We saw some drama as Delusion had an opportunity to close out the series with a penalty shot by @Joukki at the end of the second period, but @Thunborg5 in net for Vesa Pompa draws the longer straw this time. Eventually, Delusion finds a way to stay ahead and finishes the game with a victory - we're ready to crown a new champion! The entire series was a very exciting bout between two tremendously skilled teams. Personally, I thought the play was very tight at even strength and the series could have gone either way was it not for the deadly efficiency that Delusion had in their scoring chances. Vesa Pompa put forth a great challenge to the eventual champions, but in the later games of the series a difference was evident and Delusion is a rightful champion of ECL 9 Pro. Congratulations!
  6. NHLGamers, Playoffs in all our divisions are rolling on nicely and we're only starting to get into the really exciting games where the best of the best match up against each other. The Pro division this season has been as exciting as ever and as usual, we've seen some real powerhouses among the group. Without further ado, let's get into some previews about the upcoming series: Here's how the playoffs of ECL 9 Pro will be played from this point on: Quarterfinals: 9.1 - 15.1 Semifinals: 17.1 - 24.1 Finals: 26.1 - 2.2 All series are played in best-of-7 manner, meaning that the first team to amass four victories advances to the next round. Here are the matchups for the Quarterfinals of the ECL 9 Pro Playoffs: (1) Delusion vs Black Horse (8) To no surprise, Delusion had no difficulties in their first round series against Pata Hellalla. Advancing 4-0 and now meeting a slightly tougher opponent is not going to faze them either and their true test will come in the later stages of this tournament. Black Horse has a mountain to climb if they want to advance against a major favorite in this matchup. (2) Vesa Pompa HC vs Reality Check (7) Vesa Pompa HC played well in IS Cup 4 some months back and advanced with a comfortable 4-0 win over ZSC Lions in the first round of the ECL 9 playoffs. The team is expected to continue their good form, but beating a very skilled opponent in Reality Check won't be easy. Reality Check might challenge Vesa Pompa HC well and I would not be surprised if Game 7 is needed in this series. (3) Gotham Knights vs Vaxjo Lakers HC (6) This might be the one to watch in the quarterfinal round. Gotham might very well be the most long lived team in the NHLGamer era and they have eexperienced their fair share of ups and downs. After a fairly successful regular season campaign, they are looking to build on that foundation and overcome any obstacle they might face. Captain @ReDMisTi for Gotham is the biggest individual player in this series due to the x-factor that he possesses. Vaxjo on the other hand, I have some mixed feeling about. They are just about ready to get into their eSHL campaign which surely must be exciting but there is a risk that it takes away from their focus on this series. They are a solid team every step of the way and their performance will be determined by their level of focus. (4) GHETTO FIREBIRDS vs Kaupallinen Yhteistyo (5) I see GHETTO FIREBIRDS advancing from the first round as a minor surprise. They faced Sandstorm, who are a team stacked with talent, but this time it seems like the experience and teamplay of the FIREBIRDS prevailed. Kaupallinen Yhteistyo has a skilled roster lead by their high-powered offensive trio @Jooonasaurus, @Katuhessu (KrisutusB) and @Limbe65, who need to be shut down in the series. Overall I expect this matchup to be a tight one. The games ere expected to be rather low scoring and in the end the more disciplined team will come out on top. Good luck out there, as always - play hard and have fun!
  7. NHLGamers, The ongoing season of our ECL Pro Division has progressed to somewhere around its midway point and with that it is appropriate to look back on what has happened so far. As far as I'm concerned there has been some tight games, some not so tight but all of the action has definitely been up to standards and tremendously enjoyable for a spectator. Rakish has been one very positive team to me that I've taken a liking to. Despite not performing too well and struggling to find consistent winning, they have recently managed to win the likes of Växjö Lakers, which is showing better waters ahead for that group. Group 1 1. Vesa Pompa HC 2. Children of Ice 3. Virtual Horizons eSports In group 1, Children of Ice and Vesa Pompa HC are at the top and it seems like it's going to be between the two of those to compete for the first position in the final standings. Vesa Pompa have some impressive performances as of late in the rearview mirror, a hard-fought IS Cup playoff series against the Elite table topping FILADELPHIA to mention one and that surely shows that they are one of the stronger teams in this division. The middle of the pack in this group is extremely tight and there's really no telling at this point which teams will be securing the last playoff spots. This upcoming week will be important for all teams. One of the most important games of this group is scheduled for Tuesday, December 10th as the top two in Children of Ice and Vesa Pompa HC will battle it out in a so called eight point matchup. Apart from the group title, there's a psychological edge at stake here, since it is almost inevitable that these teams will meet again down the line. Another very important bout in this group is the one between Horror Hockey and Shooting Stars, since both teams are currently below the playoff line but look to better their standing by acquiring some wins in this tight matchup. Group 2 1. Delusion 2. Reality Check HC 3. Kaupallinen Yhteistyo Group 2 is showing some more separation mostly due to the fact that Delusion a bit less surprisingly is wading through the pack with a clean record and the rest of the teams seem to have split points quite a lot. Rakish is probably the biggest upset in this group as they have a rather accomplished roster but have struggled mightily for the opening half of the season. Sandstorm, who fought well in IS Cup haven't found their stride yet in ECL and as a result are struggling to secure a spot in the playoffs. Växjö were expected to do a bit better, but will definitely be going to the playoffs if they keep up their current level of play. Kaupallinen Yhteistyo will be clashing with Växjö for a tough matchup preliminarily scheduled for this upcoming Tuesday. Sandstorm and Cowabunga Hockey will also be facing in an important matchup which determines an advantage near the playoff line. In this group, we will also be looking forward to the meeting between top two teams Delusion and Reality Check HC, Delusion will be going into that battle as a heavy favorite and Reality Check is looking to spoil the party. When taking a look at the point totals, it's clearly visible that Delusion has been the highest scoring team by a wide margin. Their dynamic duo @Joukki and @Beniittto reigns supreme with both of them being almost 20 points ahead of Reality Check duo @jorma2001 and @Pursuitti who are in... well... pursuit. It'll quite clearly be a battle within Delusion of who will be the top scorer this season. That'll be it for my short and sweet insight into what's been going on in our Pro division this season. The playoffs are right around the corner and we are as excited as ever to see who prevails when the big games start. Who would you guys pick out as a dark horse in the playoff race?
  8. NHLGamers, Round 2 of the IS Cup 4 playoffs saw an interesting matchup rivalry as the 2018 Finnish champions FILADELPHIA faced the Swedish champions of this year - Vesa Pompa HC. The stacked rosters are led by good friends Eki and eken45jr respectively. Expectations for this series were through the roof even though FILA was widely considered the favourite heading into the games. Head-to-head (Regular season stats) TOP SCORER I_Eki_I (12GP, 12+38=50) vs eken45jr (12GP, 9+13=22) GOALTENDER FinKonna (6GP, 6W, 85.10 SV%, 1.16 GAA) vs Thunboorg (12GP, 9W, 84.80 SV%, 1.58 GAA) Game 1 Like a typical opening game in a series, we saw a tight game with a disciplined tactical approach on both sides, as a result very few goals. FILADELPHIA took the lead and in the third period Vesa Pompa equalized. Both sides defended well but we also saw a couple of stellar scoring chances in both ends of the rink. In overtime FILADEPHIA scored in an instant, just like they must have determined during the short period break. FILADELPHIA - Vesa Pompa HC 2-1 OT Game 2 FILADELPHIA took the lead by putting up two goals relatively early in the first period. Their play seemed superior to what felt like most of the game but just before the end of the second period Vesa Pompa scored to make it 2-1. After their disastrous beginning, Vesa Pompa managed to compose themselves and really deserved their first goal. The start of the third period was a cold shower to say the least, as FILA managed to get an early goal increasing the differential to two goals again. Vesa Pompa didn´t give up and about five minutes before the buzzer they notch another one. There were some chances for the Swedes at the end but overall FILADELPHIA was the better team and deserved their win. Looking at the big picture I think the differences between the two teams became clearer in this game despite the tight score and Vesa Pompas good performance. The series score is 2-0 and at this point it's hard to see Vesa Pompa mounting a comeback with how convincing FILA's game is looking. Vesa Pompa HC - FILADELPHIA 2-3 Game 3 It is commonly quite typical that the third win is hard to take in these best of 5 or best of 7 playoff series and that is exactly what happened this time around too. Vesa Pompa took the lead in the first period and they went for broke to get the their vital first win in this series. It was refreshing to see a new found confidence and a true balls to the wall effort by the Swedes but FILADELPHIA weathered the storm and knew that losing this game could end up being costly. FILADELPHIA dominated the game in terms of the shot statistics and did by no means resort to merely playing defense. Vesa Pompa was also in good form and kept the lead until the third period. FILADELPHIA managed to equalize on the powerplay when @PleeMaker acted as the closer at the end of a beautiful passing play. We had overtime and lots of it to ensue. These teams played well past the halfway mark of the second overtime period when finally FILA managed to strike gold. This time @Juunas finished a one-timer from close range. FILADELPHIA moves on by a sweep. FILADELPHIA - Vesa Pompa HC 2-1 OT Above: FILA OT goal in Game 3 to win the series All the games in this series were tight and two went to overtime. FILADELPHIA showed their strength and experience by managing to win games after being down by a goal twice. It was not result of coincidence but a result of determination and experience in playing together and a strong team spirit. Vesa Pompa put forth an enormous effort in challenging this top team and gave their best but this time, that wasn't enough. FILA was the better team in all areas and deservingly moves on to the quarterfinals. Which series should we cover next?
  9. NHLGamers, The expectations were high both in the stands and on the ice as two Swedish top-tier teams clashed in a round 1 playoff series in IS Cup 4. On one side we have Växjö Lakers, a newly established team stacked with unrealized potential, full with youth and energy - on the other we have Synergy, who are now the juggernauts of Swedish virtual hockey. These teams competed in the same division in the group stage, where Växjö was the challenger and Synergy managed to win both games 4-1 and 3-0. That and the fact that we saw two outstanding Swedish teams go up against each other created a good hype for the matchup. Head-to-head (Regular season stats) TOP SCORER F_Normark (8GP, 10+21=31) vs EDHOLMINHO (12GP, 16+27=43) GOALTENDER Hullued (12GP, 8W, 76.52 SV%, 2.25 GAA) vs Rundqviiist (10GP, 9W, 90.90 SV%, 0.8 GAA) Game 1 Game 1 was quite the traditional affair in the sense that both teams started off with a tight set defensive scheme. The first period was scoreless but in the second Växjö took the lead only to see Synergy level the score minutes later. Växjö brought their young gun energy into game one and showed that they will be a force to be reckoned with. Both teams had their chances but at the 60-minute mark no additional goals had been scored. In overtime we saw a similar pattern continue, but eventually Växjö and @EDHOLMINHO managed to net a decisive goal. Synergy Hockey - Växjö Lakers HC 1-2 OT Game 2 The second game seemed to follow a very familiar agenda as both teams came out with a defense first mindset. In playoff hockey things change fast, however. Växjö seemed to be able to relax a bit more and find their stride offensively, which rather quickly led to them opening the scoring. Five goals for and a solid defense often wins you games as was the case with this one. Växjö puts a stranglehold on the series 2-0. Synergy is desperate to find new angles with their gameplan. Växjö Lakers HC - Synergy Hockey 5-1 Game 3 With Växjö being ahead 2-0 this third game was truly a do or die-situation for Synergy. A quite typical one at that too. This game was all about very disciplined and tactical play, few shots and even fewer scoring chances. Synergy managed to take the drivers seat with a goal late in the first. The meticulous trap game and solid team defense prevailed for what seemed to be an eternity until Växjö managed to break through and equalize. The goal came to start the third period and it was what you'd expect from these types of games - point shot with traffic at the net. Disciplined defensive battle ensued. It seemed the game was heading to overtime - like we saw in the first game - but Vaxjö executed a great playing pattern with quick passing and finished off a one-timer to score the decisive 2-1 goal with just 25 seconds to spare. The minor upset was reality. Synergy Hockey - Växjö Lakers HC 1-2 Synergy was a mild favorite to go through, but Vaxjö came to play and ultimately swept their opponents. With youthful energy, discipline and commitment to their gameplan they were clearly the better team in this series. Game two and the 5-1 win was surely the last straw that gave them the edge to take the whole series. Växjö also showed that they were the better team in the tight games. Good luck in the second round, boys! Which series should we follow closer in the next round?

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