Coast To Coast: Playoff Layouts

Coast To Coast: Playoff Layouts

With the NCAA’s Frozen Four set to begin Thursday, college hockey is reaching its championship peak, as other leagues prepare for their own playoffs.

Apr 7, 2023 by Jacob Messing
Coast To Coast: Playoff Layouts

Coast To Coast is FloHockey’s monthly, cohesive news on North American hockey and livestreaming partnerships.

With the NCAA’s Frozen Four set to begin Thursday, college hockey is reaching its championship peak, as other leagues prepare for their own playoffs.

Atlantic Hockey Adieu

Atlantic Hockey champion Canisius gave Minnesota a 40-minute run to open the national tournament, before the Golden Gophers showed the dominance that earned them the No. 1 overall seed.

The Golden Griffins entered the final frame with a manageable 3-2 deficit.

Just 27 seconds into the third period, Griffins forward Stefano Bottini was issued a misconduct penalty for a hit to the head, sending the Gophers to the man advantage.

Two quick power play goals later, the Gophers suddenly held a commanding 5-2 lead that shifted all momentum and saw a six-goal third period end the Griffins season by a final score of 9-2.

With the 2022-2023 Atlantic Hockey season officially wrapped up and the national tournament underway, the transfer portal has opened, and some shuffling can be expected in and out of the conference.

CCHA Conclusions

The Minnesota State Mavericks and Michigan Tech Huskies saw a quick end to their 2023 national tournaments.

The Mavericks fell 4-0 to St. Cloud State in the first round, while the Huskies fell 8-0 to Penn State.

It marks the first time since 2019 that a CCHA program (formerly WCHA) has not participated in the quarterfinals.

The pair of shutouts fell in stride with the first-round theme of lopsided wins.

The eight opening-round matchups saw wins that included 11-1, 9-2, 8-0, 8-1, 5-1 and three shutouts.

ECHL Earners

With a range of 3-6 games remaining in the regular season, the ECHL playoffs are taking shape for the 16-team, best-of-seven format.

The Idaho Steelheads have claimed the regular-season title, leading them to the top spot in the Mountain Division and the only divisional team with a locked playoff spot.

The three remaining spots in the Mountain Division remain open, led by the 69-point Allen Americans, who are followed by the Utah Grizzlies, Kansas City Mavericks and Wichita Thunder, each sitting with 68 points.

Out of the Central Division, the Cincinnati Cyclones, Toledo Walleye, Indy Fuel and Fort Wayne Komets have locked in their division’s postseason berths and are likely to stay in such order for seeding.

The winner of each division will face each other in the Western Conference Finals.

In the East, the winner of the North Division will face the winner of the South Division.

In the North, the Newfoundland Growlers hold a 10-point lead for the division, followed by the Reading Royals and Maine Mariners, each with a locked playoff berth. The race for the final spot is led by the Worcester Railers, who sit one point up on the Adirondack Thunder, who hold three games in hand.

In the South, only the South Carolina Stingrays have settled a playoff berth.

The defending champion Florida Everblades sit with 82 points, while the Jacksonville Icemen hold 82 points and a game in hand. The Greenville Swamp Rabbits are next up with 81 points and a commanding six-point edge over the Atlanta Gladiators.

Don’t miss any ECHL action. Watch every regular-season game and every playoff game live, right here on FloHockey.

NHL Notes

The Boston Bruins have claimed the Presidents’ Trophy for the league’s top record and now await the final few games until their first-round opponent is settled.

For the second consecutive season, the Toronto Maple Leafs will face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the playoffs. The Lightning claimed Games 6 and 7 for the series win and eventual third-straight trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Overshadowed by Boston, the Carolina Hurricanes continue to win and hold the advantage for the Metropolitan Division’s top spot, where they’ll draw the top wild-card team in the opening round.

In the West, the six of the eight playoff spots have been cemented by the Vegas Golden Knights, Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild and defending champion Colorado Avalanche.

In the wild card fight, the Seattle Kraken are in prime position to earn their first playoff berth in franchise history, one year after a disappointing inaugural season.

The final spot likely will go to Winnipeg, Calgary or Nashville, with the Predators facing an uphill climb, depleted roster and just six games remaining.

Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @Jacob_Messing.