NA3EHL Playoff Preview
March 9, 2016
The 2016 North American 3 Eastern Hockey League (NA3EHL) playoffs begin this weekend with the Divisional Semi-Final Round.
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The top four clubs from both the East and West Divisions have qualified for the playoffs. In the Divisional Semi-Final round, the club seeded first in each division will compete in a best-of-three series with the fourth seeded Club in the same division. The Club seeded second in each division will compete in a best-of-three-series against the Club seeded third in the same division. The #1 and #2 seeds will host all three games. Here is a preview of the four series:
East Division Semi-Finals
#4 Skylands Kings @ #1 Cape Cod Islanders – Cape Cod won the season series against the Kings, going 3-1 in four games. However, the series was very high scoring, with 55 goals being scored in the four games. The Islanders took the top spot in the East thanks in large part to their 17-game winning streak from November-January this season. Islanders forward Mike Jessman was tied for 4th in league scoring. Meanwhile, the Kings have hit the skids as of late, finishing the season with only one win in their final 10 games. Forward Cory Decosta finished 6th in league scoring.
#3 New England Stars @ #2 L/A Fighting Spirit – Despite having the same number of points (67) during the regular season, the Fighting Spirit claimed the #2 seed with one more win (33) than the Stars (32). The Fighting Spirit finished the season in fire, winning eight of their last nine games and forward Dylan Vrees won back-to-back East Division Star of the Week awards to end the regular season. New England won nine of their last 11 games and won the season series against the Fighting Spirit, winning five of the seven match-ups during the regular season. The series also may feature a match-up between the goalies with the two top goals against average marks in Claes Endre and Dominic Lamanno.
West Division Semi-Finals
#4 Lockport Express @ #1 Jersey Shore Wildcats – The defending NA3EHL Champion Wildcats finished with the top record in the league this season with 37 wins and 74 points. However, they won only five of their last nine games to finish the regular season. Meanwhile, the Express have been fighting for a playoff spot for a solid month and clinched on the second to final day of the regular season. However, Lockport is going to have to do twice what they couldn’t do once during the regular season, which is beat the Wildcats. Jersey Shore won all seven games between the two teams during the regular season, outscoring Lockport, 48-22 in the seven games.
#3 Roc City Royals @ #2 New York Aviators – The hottest team in the league entering the post-season may be the New York Aviators, who went 14-2-1 in their final 17 games. They also feature one of the league’s best offenses complete with the top two scorers in Jimmy Warrick and Daniel Backstrom. Roc City counters with Anthony DePetres, who finished 3rd in NA3EHL scoring. The Royals cooled off at the end of the regular season winning four of their final nine games. New York controlled the season series, winning five of the eight match-ups.
NA3EHL Division Finals
The two Clubs in each division that won a division semifinal series shall compete in a best-of-three series against each other in the division finals. The higher seed shall have the right to host all three games. The Division Finals may begin no earlier than Thursday, March 17, 2016 and conclude no later than Sunday, March 20, 2016. The first Club to win two games in a division final series will be declared the winner of the series and advance to the NA3EHL Finals.
NA3EHL Championship Finals
The two Clubs in each division that won their Division Finals series shall compete in a best-of-three series against each other to determine the NA3EHL Playoff Champion. The NA3EHL finals may begin no earlier than Thursday, March 24, 2016 and conclude no later than Sunday, March 27, 2016. The NA3EHL Finals will be played at the home arena of the remaining team with the highest seed. The first Club to win two games in the NA3EHL finals will be declared the 2015-16 NA3EHL Champion.