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2017 AFHL Playoffs Preview

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The AFHL Stanley Cup Chase Begins

March 20th, 2017

You won’t find any true bracket-busters in this year’s AFHL Stanley Cup playoffs.

There are eight teams in the hunt for the silver chalice, and from top to bottom every club can make a case that it can skate off with the AFHL’s biggest prize.

Going into the final week of the regular season, three teams were battling for the last playoff spot. The Comox Valley X-Men clinched that spot late Sunday night finishing the season with just a few more points than Deer Park and Boston.

“It’s been quite a year” said X-Men goaltender Robin Lehner. “We feel now that finally we got in, we can start over here hopefully and try to do something.”

Players from all eight teams talked to reporters after their morning practices today discussing everything from how excited their respective fan bases are to strategies against their opponents. 

“It’s nice to see our fans happy about us being in the playoffs,” said Laval Nomads forward Patrik Laine. “I noticed signs and well wishes for our team as I drove through the neighborhood to the arena today.”

Henrik Lundqvist was back at practice today for the Manhattan Supermen feeling “pretty close to 100%” and ready to respect the Nomads’ talents, but not prepared to bend a knee to a heavily-favored opponent.

“They’re fast, they’re good, but we know we can beat them,” Lundqvist said with a confident nod, practicing fully after leaving Monday’s session early for precautionary reasons. “It’s just going to be a very tough and challenging series.”

Washington coach Rick Charron cracked a wry smile when asked about playing against his good friend Keith Cancilla in the First Round and noted his Wolfpack is not getting much credit entering Game 1 of this first-round series Monday night in Port Hope.

“I don’t think a lot of people are picking us right now, which is fine and dandy,” the Washington coach said. “We’ll just go out, and we’ll play.”

Port Hope defenseman Kris Letang said he’s been skating but not practicing yet, although he had the familiar excitement and intensity in his eyes that come with his playing at this time of year.

“Every time you don’t feel 100%, obviously you don’t know exactly when you’re gonna feel great again, but today was good, a good skate for me,” Letang said. “Hopefully with another skate I will be ready.”

Pittsburgh Heroes forward Connor McDavid is excited for his first taste of the AFHL Playoffs. At a certain point during his presser though, he didn’t want to hear about how difficult it will be to beat the Toronto Red Devils.

“We know they’re good. We don’t need to think more than that,” McDavid said. “I think it’s important we focus on ourselves and what we need to do. It doesn’t matter what other people think.”

Toronto GM Jordan Carbone believes he has a decent shot this year to be the first in AFHL history to win two Stanley Cups.

“I’m definitely motivated to be the first to win two,” said Carbone after the Red Devils morning skate. “I’d love to get another one, no doubt, and I’ll do everything I can to try to do it.”

The number one seeded San Diego Gulls feel they are better prepared this year than in previous years to win it all.

“There are a few new guys who are going to come in here for the first time and be like, ‘Wow, this is crazy, I haven’t seen anything like this before,'” San Diego GM Lucas Main said. “But we have the same core of players so I think the difference will be experience. I think you soak it in through osmosis. It’s not the kind of stuff you can write down. It’s those feelings, it’s those rising to the occasions.”

Categories : Uncategorized

1 Comments

1
Comox Valley GM Pat McKenna
March 20th, 2017 at 6:15 pm

Bring it on San Diego. Great article Anthony

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