March 25th, 2013
The regular season has come down to the final week and there still is so much that is to be determined.
Who will win the American Conference? Who will win the Canadian Conference?
Can the Giants finish their incredible second-half run with a playoff spot?
Who will win the Presidents’ Trophy?
Can a miracle happen for the Xtreme to qualify for the postseason?
Which team will end up with the first overall pick in the 2013 Entry Draft?
All these questions and many more will be answered between now and late Sunday.
Which matchups should you be watching?
Here are all the matchups this week that have playoff implications:
BOLD = Playoff Contention
Manhattan (8th) vs. San Diego (19th)
Lakehead (1st) vs. Pittsburgh (20th)
London (9th) vs. Oshawa City (10th)
Twin City (2nd) vs. Hamilton (3rd)
Montreal (14th) vs. Philadelphia (17th)
Buffalo (7th) vs. Toronto (5th)
Victoria (5th) vs. North Bay (6th)
Comox Valley (16th) vs. Washington (11th)
Deer Park (13th) vs. Boston (12th)
Which teams are guaranteed a playoff spot?
The Lakehead IceHoles (1st) are the only team that has clinched a playoff spot which means there is a chance that Twin City (2nd), Hamilton (3rd), Toronto (4th), Victoria (5th), North Bay (6th), Buffalo (7th) and/or Manhattan (8th) can miss the playoffs.
How many teams outside of the current Top 8 are still in the playoff race?
There are six teams still alive for a playoff spot. Those teams are London (9th), Oshawa City (10th), Washington (11th), Boston (12th), Deer Park (13th) and Montreal (14th). Montreal is currently 16 points out of 8th place.
Who is alive for the Presidents’ Trophy?
We’re looking at a six-team race between Lakehead, Hamilton, Toronto, Victoria, North Bay and Twin City. It should be noted that North Bay won the Presidents’ trophy last year and the previous year so they have a shot at a three-peat.
Firestorm forward Chris Kunitz has racked up 41 points in 33 games this season while playing alongside Claude Giroux in Hamilton.
“This final matchup of the season is not going to be about work or X’s and O’s,” Hamilton forward Chris Kunitz told the media after a team practice on Monday. “It’s going to be about passion and how bad we want it.”
Oshawa City GM Earl McNeill is enjoying the fight to the finish despite the fact that it may add a few grey hairs.
“This playoff race is good for everyone involved,” said McNeill. “It’s great for the league and great for the fans and the players. It’s funny how it always seems to come down to the final week and this year so many more teams are jockeying for positions because of the shortened season, so that makes it even more exciting.”
COORS LIGHT COLD HARD FACT OF THE WEEK:
The Hamilton Firestorm have the most college prospects in the league as well as the most unsigned prospects in the league.
“They’re the oldest (average age) active team in the AFHL,” said Manhattan GM Tony Furino. “But their scouting staff is quite possibly the best in the league. If I was a betting man then I would bet that at least one of their four unsigned college prospects turns into a solid point producer at the AFHL level.”