Hello Everyone! Welcome back! In this article, I will review some results that took place in the first round of the playoffs and set the stage for whats to come in the semifinals. Most of the predictions moving forward will not be as detailed...Hello Everyone! Welcome back! In this article, I will review some results that took place in the first round of the playoffs and set the stage for whats to come in the semifinals. Most of the predictions moving forward will not be as detailed since I will not have the time that I had the past weekend to review every single team.
Overall, it was a pretty solid week for my first round predictions! I ended up going 6-1 overall, with 4 predictions ending up exactly the same as the result! There was only one upset last week, but it was a big one with Stockton sweeping the Regular Season Champion Roadrunners out of the playoffs. Credit to the Heat for stepping up and using my prediction as motivation to make a statement to the rest of the VGHL. Cleveland closed out the Phantoms in 4, who had most of their roster called up to the NHL last minute. Charlotte got the nod against a talented Sound Tigers team in 5 to move on to the next round. The Chicago Wolves closed out the Gulls in 5 as well to move on to the semis. Milwaukee moved on after beating the Stars in 5 games to end that series. The Thunderbirds got the best of the Marlies in 5 in a series that featured 3 brutal overtime losses for Toronto. The Colorado Eagles beat the Wild in 5 games, holding their opponents to only five goals in the whole series! Finally, in the most exciting series of the week, Binghamton took the Crunch to a surprising game 7, but were outplayed in the last game of the series to end their playoff run. Many teams wrote off the Devils as an easy opponent, but they proved they had a plan to make it a tough series for the Crunch. Credit to the Devils for making it interesting and to Syracuse for closing it out with authority in game 7. As the match-ups get tougher and more competitive, I can expect my predictions to not be as accurate as they were last week. To those teams that were eliminated in the first round, you should keep your head up and get ready to avenge your defeat come next season. To those moving on to the semis, congratulations and best of luck to you! Without further ado, let's take a closer look at the final 8 teams battling it out for the Calder Cup.
#1 Cleveland Monsters vs #2 Charlotte Checkers
The semifinals start off with a fantastic match-up between two great teams who have unique styles that lead to their success. Both team know how to put the puck in the back of the net, with multiple forwards averaging over 2-3 PPG in their opening series. Cleveland seems like a well-balanced team focused on cycling the puck and making their puck movement unpredictable. Their balanced pressure offensively help them in the defensive zone. In the last series, they allowed the 2nd fewest goals per game of any team in the first round. Their net minder cable guy did a great job last series and is looking to continue his impressive run in net against the Checkers. The Checker's offense flourishes on speed. They have a great up and down attack that keeps the opponent on their toes in transition. Their series victory over the Sound Tigers was impressive because that team is calm and defensive, but they couldn't handle the pressure of this Charlotte Offense. This series is going to come down to who dictates play and who wins the special teams battle. Cleveland was impressive when it came to penalty minutes, only taking two total penalties in their four game series. Limiting penalty minutes is a great way to keep control of the momentum swings game by game. Will Cleveland be able to set up and control play or will the Checker's transition attack be too much for the Monsters to deal with? Tough series to call, but I predict....
The Cleveland Monsters will defeat the Charlotte Checkers in six games to move to the Conference Finals.
#1 Syracuse Crunch vs #2 Springfield Thunderbirds
The Syracuse Crunch come off their thrilling series victory in game 7 to play the impressive Springfield Thunderbirds. Syracuse relies on their offensive pressure and the stick skills of their forwards to draw penalties and score goals in bunches against their opponent. In their last series, Springfield peppered the opponent net minder, averaging over 26 shots per game! Both of these team were in the top 3 in TOA in the first round. The true battle in this series will be in the neutral zone. Who can win that battle and get control in their offensive zone? Obviously, a thing that you have to consider when you look at stats from the first round is the opponent each team was facing. The Devils came in to the playoffs on a winning streak, while the Marlies used their division lead early in the season to barely hang on to a playoff spot. TO win this series, the Thunderbirds will have to keep the game close and frustrate the forwards of the Crunch. They were great against the Marlies offensively in the first series, but were 18th overall in goals allowed during the regular season. It will be interesting to see if they the changes that the Devils did to control this Crunch offense. Both teams are great, but I predict...
The Syracuse Crunch will defeat the Springfield Thunderbirds in five games to move on to the Conference Finals.
#2 Chicago Wolves vs #4 Stockton Heat
The next match-up pairs a well balanced Chicago Wolves team against the upset minded Stockton Heat. The Wolves come into this round with an impressive series victory against the San Diego Gulls. They did a fantastic job capitalizing on mistakes and the penalty minutes racked up by the Gulls in the series. They are a well organized defensive unit that is led by a brilliant goaltender named MaxAttack. Offensively, they are balanced and they work the puck around looking for the surprise one timer from the center and the wings. All season, they have been int he top 10 in multiple categories and will be a tough match-up for any of their opponents. The Heat come into this series looking for more blood led by Kozma and their well-disciplined attack. They managed to take only three penalties in their four game series, which will be important against the impressive Wolves' special teams unit. Stockton finished 2nd in goals per game in the first round, but have the highest goals against average out of any team remaining in the playoffs at a tick over 3. This may be due to the impressive offense of the Roadrunners, which they did a great job controlling for four games. I see this series being a battle between two teams focused on controlling the neutral zone. I expect most of the game to be low scoring overall, somewhere in the 1-0, 2-1, to 3-2 range. There may even be multiple games this series that go to overtime. I am impressed with what the Heat did in the first series, but I may have just overrated the Roadrunners all along. It will be fun watching them try to prove me wrong again against the Wolves team. Tough one to call, but I predict...
The Chicago Wolves will defeat the Stockton Heat in seven games to move on to the Conference Finals.
#1 Milwaukee Admirals vs #2 Colorado Eagles
This series will most likely be my favorite to watch unfold. Both of these teams, the Admirals and the Eagles, came into the playoffs on a tear to end the season. They both help their opponent to under 10 goals total in their five game series. They both rely on their defense and possession in the offensive zone to lead their teams to victory. They are both championship contenders and its unfortunate one of these teams has to fall in the semifinals. Milwaukee lead the playoffs in TOA and finished second in shots per game for the first round against a struggling Texas Stars squad. While both of these teams seem similar, the Eagles have an advantage in discipline, taking 22 fewer penalty minutes in their five game series. Penalties are that much more magnified in the playoffs and could make a difference in who moves on to the next round. Considering the amount of penalties they took, the Admirals did a fantastic job on the PK, with a 91% success rate. Sgtvandoos and JCFalcon did a great job putting together two balanced roster and this series is another tough one to call. I am going to go with my gut and predict that....
The Milwaukee Admirals will defeat the Colorado Eagles in six games to advance to the conference finals.
I hope you enjoyed my predictions for the semi-finals of the VGAHL playoffs. Best of luck to all of the teams remaining.
(P.S.- don't take my predictions personally. These match-ups are tough to call!)
Hey guys, welcome back to my preview and predictions article! If you did not get a chance, please take a look at the Eastern Conference predictions posted earlier in the day. As a reminder, these predictions are mostly going to be based off of...Hey guys, welcome back to my preview and predictions article! If you did not get a chance, please take a look at the Eastern Conference predictions posted earlier in the day. As a reminder, these predictions are mostly going to be based off of team stats and are meant to be fun and a means for discussion rather than a means to insult or demean a particular team. Also, as a member of the San Diego Gulls, I will preview the match-up between the Gulls and the Chicago Wolves, but will not make a prediction because of my bias (Go Gulls Go!). I hope you enjoy the final preview of the first round of the AHL Playoffs!
#1 Tuscon Roadrunners (63-17-2) vs #4 Stockton Heat (50-28-4)
The Roadrunners are racing into the AHL Playoff picture winning the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy for most points in the AHL regular season! They scored the 2nd most goals and allowed the fewest goals all season, making them the preseason favorite for the Calder. Some keys to their success are their ability to generate shots, just another stat which they lead the league in. This team will get the puck on the net and make things happen. They are ranked 12th in TOA as well, which is impressive because it shows they do damage even when they aren't in the offensive zone setting up the whole game. They take a minimal amount of penalties (3rd in the league) and when they do, it usually does not matter (1st in PK at 87%). No matter the line, the offense and defense is dangerous, and Carbo/GarRA deserve a ton of credit for building such a great lineup.
Stockton comes into the playoffs with a roster who finished 11th ins coring and 17th in goals allowed. The team went around .500 the last week of the season and look to turn it up against the roadrunners. They are above average in getting shots on net (11th), which will be important in this massive. However, the Heat were 2nd to last in hits. We all agree that positioning can be more important than hitting, but it will be interesting to see if the Heat turn up the pressure and get aggressive against a stacked team like Tuscon. The heat sit mid pack in penalty minutes and have an above average power play. However, their PK is a tick below average. It will be important for the heat to stay out of the box against their opponent. The heat do have a balanced forward line working in their favor, with 6 players all averaging above 2 PPG. Depth like that can be useful in this playoff format. The pair of Melting Snowman and Kozma are going to have to come up big for their guys to pull off the upset, but anything can happen.
I hate to say it, but my gut is telling me to get the brooms out. It is no disrespect to Stockton because they have had a great season, but this Roadrunner team is for real and it will take some solid defense from the Heat to pull out this series.
Prediction: The Roadrunners will sweep the Heat in 4 games.
#2 (58-22-2) Chicago Wolves vs #3 San Diego Gulls (50-22-10)
The Chicago Wolves come into this series ready to make some noise, led by PuckZone, Dxcibel, and Biebsinthetrap. They rank 7th is goals scored and 6th in goals allowed, a solid balance when it comes to production. They rank 4th in TOA and 13th in shots, which shows that they like to set up and try to find **** scoring opportunities. As a team, they tend to play fast rather than physical, ranking 9th lowest in hits. They also are ranked 4th in penalty minutes, which could be a sign of aggression with the R1 button instead of the hit stick. The Wolves do have a great special teams unit, finishing 3rd in both PP and PK. We all know the importance of those stats come playoff time. In net, they are led my MaxAttack, who is having a great season with a 2.61 GAA and an 82% save percentage.
The Gulls come into this series with some impressive wins and some momentum for their playoff run. The team comes in ranking in the middle of the pack in goals scored and goals against. They are led by impressive two way forwards like TylerisGod, Just_Heinz, Kroogs, Arpine, and BeerLeagueLegend. (I promised them all a shout out, I'll quit being bias now). The team ranks 11th in TOA and 16th in shots, a stat that they will most lucky try to improve upon during their first playoff series. The Gulls are ranked 9th in hits, with players like Rasta, Jaie, Smoked, and Mark setting the physical tone of the game. The team does not take many penalties, ranging in the top ten in fewest minutes, but they do have the 5th worst PK unit. That is something the team will have to fix against the Chicago Wolves. Finally, the Gulls have some solid goaltending, led by their 1-2 punch of Dat and ****** (What a goalie name...). While the team does not have the statistics like the Wolves, they do have heart, grit, and the ability to win tight low scoring games as shown by their record. It will be a fun series against the Wolves and I wish both teams the best of luck.
#1 Milwaukee Admirals (56-19-7) vs #4 Texas Stars (50-25-7)
The Milwaukee Admirals come into the playoffs on a tear to end the season. They ranked 6th in goals scored and 10th in goals allowed for the season. They are led by explosive forwards like Debarrd, Galchy, and Canucks. As a team, they rank 5th in TOA and 9th in shots, keeping the pressure on their opponent at all times. The Admirals are a fast team that is below average when it comes to hits, but above average when it comes to taking penalties. They must use R1 aggressively as well. With an above average PP and PK, this team has all the tools to get the job done and be a serious contender for the cup. To top it off, they also have a great net minder in Sgtvandoos, who finished the season with a 2.70 GAA and an 80% save percentage.
The Texas Star come limping into the playoffs after finishing the year 3-7 over their last ten games. They are led offensively by players like LuckyCeez and shockers, who both average around 2.5 PPG. The team comes in with an average amount of goals scored and goals allowed. They also come in 16th on TOA and below average in total shots for the season. This may be something they work on improving on come playoff time. Their special teams is also in the middle of the pack. They do not take a lot of penalties and they have the 4th fewest hits for the season. It will be interesting to see if they turn up the physicality to try to control the Admiral's offense. In net, they have a revolving door of net minders who are going to try to shut down this Milwaukee team.
Unfortunately, this looks like a situation where pre-trade deadline call ups poorly affected the outlook of this Stars roster. Hopefully, they are working on gaining chemistry and have a game plan in mind to stop their opponent. However, I am feeling a sweep once again.
Prediction: The Admirals are going to sweep the Stars in 4 games.
#2 Colorado Eagles (56-22-4) vs #3 Iowa Wild (55-21-6)
The Eagles come in flying high after a fantastic end to their season. JcFalcon has the group working together and with the help of in-season call-ups, has formed a contender in the West. The Eagles are 9th in goals scored and 3rd in goals allowed. This team looks to lock down skaters on defense, and capitalize on their opponent's mistakes. They are 2nd in TOA and 5th in shots, showing their patience in their offensive zone and their aggression to get pucks to the net. Colorado doesn't use the body often, ranging in the bottom 5 in hits, which is okay if positioning is great. This team does not take a lot of penalties, finishing 3rd in fewest penalties minutes for the season. With an above average PP and an average PK, this team is set for playoff hockey.
The Iowa Wild come into this series finishing 5-3-2 over their last 10 games. The Wild are 13th in goals scored and a fantastic 4th in goals allowed. This team leans on their defense to keep them in tight, close games. Their TOA is above average and they are 6th in shots taken, which means they like to pepper the opposing goalie at will. The Wild are another team that tend to be less physical and have great discipline when it comes to taking penalties. The Wild have a great PK unit, and an average PP that will look to improve in the playoffs. In net, the Wild are led by a great 1-2 punch in net (Bouyhead, cujokilla), who both have GAA under 2.50. This team will lean on its defense to try to create opportunities against the Eagles.
This match-up seems like a defensive battle that will have 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 final scores. While they are both great defensively, I believe the Eagle's offensive talent will make a difference in this series. I will give the Wild 1 or 2 games, but I do not think they can win 4 out of 7 games.
Prediction: The Colorado Eagles will beat the Iowa Wild in 5 games.
I hope you guys enjoyed my analysis of the 1st round of the VGAHL playoffs! I look forward to seeing which teams advance to the next round. Will there be an upset? We will have to wait and see!
Hey VGHLers! I figured it would be cool to look at the team stats page and make some predictions based solely on stats and head-to-head match-ups throughout the season. Since the start, many of the teams have changed, so the stats can be...Hey VGHLers! I figured it would be cool to look at the team stats page and make some predictions based solely on stats and head-to-head match-ups throughout the season. Since the start, many of the teams have changed, so the stats can be misleading and may not represent the current roster, but since this is just for fun, we will go with what he have. In this post, we will start with the Eastern Conference! I will try to get my preview for the Western Conference submitted by today or tomorrow!
Before I begin, I just want to state the obvious. This is an opinion piece and is meant to be a source for discussion involving each individual match-up. If you are insulted by a prediction that is made, don't be. **** luck to every team in the first round!
#1 Cleveland Monsters (59-19-4) vs #4 Lehigh Valley Phantoms (52-28-2)
The Cleveland Monsters finished the season strong going 9-1 in their final 10 games. They are lead offensively by JkHank07, who is averaging over 4.34 PPG. They are dangerous because every forward they put on the ice can do damage. The team is 4th in scoring and ranks 12th in goals allowed. The Monsters are also 3rd in time on attack and 7th in shots, showing a balance between cycling the puck and getting shots on net. When it comes to penalties, Cleveland is about mid pack, but hold a stellar PK% of 85, which is **** for 2nd in the league. In net, the Monsters are lead by Hucableguy1211, who holds a stellar 35-8 record with a 2.44 GAA and an 82% save percentage.
The Phantoms are lead by The Indian and JC, a fast two-way center who averages over 2.1 PPG. Lehigh valley is ranked 15th in scoring, but is solid defensively allowing the 9th fewest goals this season. In TOA, the phantoms are ranked 19th, which can be explained by their rush attack up and down the ice and their overall aggressive play. The Phantoms lead the league in hits, showing that they aren't afraid to throw around the body a few times. Lehigh valley does ranked 5th in PIM, but that could be flawed if the teams likes to fight and throw some leather at the end of the game. The special team numbers for the Phantoms are solid, mid pack for both PP and PK. In net, Lehigh Valley is led by the dynamic 1-2 punch of Bubba205 and Manetjam. Both goalies have the ability to shut the opposition down at anytime.
Looking at the stats, it seems that the Monsters offense could be too much for the Phantoms in this series. The Phantoms will have to rely on their physical play and ability to keep the game low scoring. One thing I will be focusing on is seeing if the Phantoms can stay out of the penalty box. The Monsters are solid on special teams, and the Phantoms will have to capitalize on every missed opportunity that Cleveland presents to them while it is 5v5. I could see the Phantoms stealing a game or two based on grit, heart, and physical play. But eventually, I think the Monsters' offense will be too much.
I predict the Cleveland Monsters will beat the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in 5 games to move on to round 2.
#2 Charlotte Checkers (55-21-6) vs #3 Bridgeport Sound Tigers (53-24-5)
The Charlotte Checkers come into the playoffs with a well balanced attack ranking 3rd in goals scored and 7th in goals allowed. They have 4 forwards averaging more than 3 PPG and 3 forwards with over 60 games played. Their chemistry up front has been clicking all season and they will look to ride that wave through the Eastern Conference. The team ranks 3rd in shots, but 14th in TOA. This team flies up and down the ice and ends each possession with at least a shot of two, keeping constant pressure on the opposing defense. Even though this team seems like a fast team that focuses on puck movement, they still rank a respectable 11th in hits and 10th in fewest penalty minutes. If you want to stay in the game, it would be for the best to avoid taking penalties against this team, who ranks 2nd on the PP AT 33%. In net, the checkers have a rotation of 3 goaltenders. They lean on their offensive and defensive play and their confidence on both ends allows them to trust any of the 3 net minders on the roster.
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers are ranked 12th in goals scored and 16th in goals allowed. They are a well-schooled unit that have played plenty of games together and used that experience to search for their opponent's weaknesses. They ranked 8th in both TOA and shots, proving to be a team that can hold the puck and take shots with the best of them. Another solid stat about the Sound Tigers is their pristine discipline, ranking 2nd in fewest penalty minutes. For teams to beat them, they have to be outplayed in the 5v5 setting. Even when they take a penalty, they ranked 4th in PK%. One place they struggle as a team is on the power play, where they rank 20th in the league. As an offense, their forwards work well together as evidenced by their similar PPG averages. In net, they are lead by Grytty, who holds a respectable 3.37 GAA and a 78% save percentage. This team is willing to put the work in and I have run into them many times playing an EASHL game with my current club.
As with most series, here is another match-up where an explosive fast-paced offense is taking on a team with experience, balance, and a knack for winning the tough games. Their records are similar, but their play styles are quite different. Looking at the rosters, I just consider the Checkers to be a better team in every aspect of play, but not by a large margin. I could see this series being a close one, but one where the Checkers prevail in the end.
I predict the Charlotte Checkers will beat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in 5 games to move on to round 2.
#1 Syracuse Crunch (58-19-5) vs #4 Binghamton Devils (51-25-6)
The Syracuse Crunch are lead by Tommy, a remarkable puck handler who can make any D-men look ******. Even though hes the most notable player, the roster as a whole is loaded. Mcanadiens24 did a fantastic job assembling this roster looking to make a run for the Calder. The Crunch lead the league in goals and are in the top 5 in almost every single offensive statistical category. It is going to take some serious defensive mastery to shut down this offense. They lead in TOA by over 90 seconds to the 2nd ranked team. It is clear they live by the motto that a team's best defense is a constant offense. The crunch have great defensive players on their roster, but the amount of time the team spends in the offensive zone makes it hard to gauge how well the team is when they are getting pressured by their opponent. it will be interesting to see if playoff hockey will just be more of the same or will be slightly different for this highly skilled Crunch team.
The Binghamton Devils are lead by Budz, a captain who has a lot of experience running and leading a team to the Calder Cup finals. The Devils ranked 5th in scoring and 8th in goals allowed, showing their ability to stay balanced against all oppositions. The team does 6th in TOA and 17th in shots, showing that they would prefer to set up and get great chances on net rather than pepper the goalie for rebounds and deflections. The team is 16th in hits and rank 11th in fewest penalty minutes, which will be a key factor in the playoffs. As we all know, special teams become that much more important in the playoffs, and the senators have that locked down. They lead the league on the power play and ranked 5th on the penalty ****. If any team is going to make it hard for the crunch to bull rush through the eastern conference, it is this team. This first round match-up will be grind, and I can't wait for it to get started.
It will be interesting to see what the Senator's game plan will be to stop the Crunch's offense. Also, if the Crunch get pushed into their defensive zone, will they get uncomfortable? Their dominance in TOA shows they spend most of their time game by game in the offensive zone. Both teams have experience in the playoffs. Game by game, the team that makes adjustments will win this series. In what might be a surprise, I will say I have this game going to a game 7. I think the Senators present the toughest match-up when you look at all the first round #1 vs #4 match-ups. I just cant pick against the Crunch's offense however and mrcanadiens' skills on defense will be enough to close out the series in game 7.
I predict the Syracuse Crunch will beat the Binghamton Devils in 7 games to move on to round 2.
Following the writing of this article, I reached out to the Senator's GM Budz and asked him..
What are your thoughts on your match-up with the Crunch and how do you see your playoff run panning out? Do you have any words for those who are viewing you guys as the underdog in the matchup?
Budz- "Hey man, thanks for reaching out! Most of the VGHL Community is probably viewing us as an underdog and that's okay! I see it as 2 teams who had **** regular seasons making a run for the Calder! I have respect for the Crunch, but this is the playoffs and anything can happen! I have been in the VGHL for a long time, made the playoffs on multiple occasions, and even won the Calder in Season 10 as a 5 seed. So if people want to talk **** about our chances, that's fine, but I have a proven track record of doing well in this league come playoff time. It is all about staying committed as a unit and buying into our system. As long as that happens, anything can happen. The Crunch will be a tough test, but we will work on being prepared for them each and every game!"
#2 Springfield Thunderbirds (50-28-4) vs #3 Toronto Marlies (45-33-3)
The Thunderbirds enter the playoffs ranked 8th in goals scored and 18th in goals allowed. They are lead by Lapointe, who has had a fantastic season so far for Springfield. Offensively, they are 10th worse in TOA, but are about mid pack in shots, meaning that their game plan will probably focus on firing the puck at will on net. They play a physical game ranking 5th in hits on the season. They also like to do damage on the power play, ranking 6th for the year. It will be important for the Marlies to stay 5v5. When the Thunderbirds take a penalty, they do a great job killing it off, ranking 8th on the season. When you consider their rankings offensively and defensively and compare it to their record, it is clear this team does a fantastic job winning the tight matchups. Their key to success will be to have a one or two goal lead going into the 3rd period and using their skills to make sure the opponent has no chance to tie up the game.
The Marlies come into the playoffs ready to plan a "shocking" upset of the Thunderbirds. Toronto ranks right in the middle when ti comes to Goals scored and Goals allowed during the season. During the year, they took the 7th fewest shots in the league, which help explain their ranking in goals scored. It will be interesting to see if their shot totals increase in the playoffs. When you go through the rest of their stats, you will notice that this team hangs around the middle in every statistical category. They will be a tough challenge for their opponent because no major weakness can be pinpointed for this team. In net, they are lead by Hawkeye, who had a fantasic season going 21-8 with a 2.31 GAA and an 82% save percentage. They will look to lean on their goaltending to steal a game or two during this series.
I expect this series to be a grind for both teams. This match-up will depend on who has the momentum game by game and which goalie can stand on his head for his team. Both teams are balanced, and the action should be up and down on both sides of the ice. I jsut worry that the Marlies' shot totals could be a concern in this matchup. it is hard to win in the VGHL if you held to less than 10-12 shots a game since so many goals are scored on weird bounces, rebounds, and deflections. For that reason....
I predict the Springfield Thunderbirds will beat the Toronto Marlies in 5 games to move on to round 2.
I hope you had a great time reading my article! Feel free to comment and let me know how I can improve this in the future! I plan on releasing my predictions for the Western conference today or tomorrow evening. Also, let me know your predictions below!