ECHL Conference Finals: Toledo, Allen Advance


The ECHL playoffs continued this week as several teams advances to their respective conference finals.

Earlier in the week, the South Carolina Stingrays already advanced past the Florida Everblades. They finally learned their opponent last night when the Toledo Walleye eliminated the Kalamazoo Wings.

The 4-2 victory in game seven of the semi finals was led by Toledo goaltender Jeff Lerg who made 27 saves. Tyler Barnes scored two goals to pace the offense.

The Stingrays won their series over divisional rival Florida after having an interestingly streaky season. Their star is goalie Jeff Jakaitis, who broke the ECHL shutout streak record this season.

Meanwhile, the western potion of the conference finals finally have some answers. The Allen Americans knocked off the Rapid City Rush 4-2 to advance in six games. Jamie Schaafsma led the way with two goals for the Americans.

“This was a great team win,” said Allen Americans defenseman Aaron Gens to the Dallas News. “We came out hard in the third period and capitalized on a couple big opportunities to get the win. Ontario is a really good team and the challenge will be even tougher this round.”

The opponents of the Americans will be the Ontario Reign. The southern California based team is the current ECHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings. The Reign defeated the Utah Grizzlies in five games to advance on their end.

“I don’t think anybody talked about losing tonight,” head coach Steve Martinson said to the Star Local Media. “We just talked about what we had to do to win, and I think they did a good job executing what we had them do.”All four of the teams in the conference finals are interesting in their own ways. Toledo and Allen were the top seeds in their divisions. South Carolina was in second, just eight points behind Florida, whom they knocked off.

Ontario was also a second place club. They finished six points behind the top seeded Idaho Steelheads, who were eliminated in the playoffs as well.

Toledo will host the first two games of the series with South Carolina. Meanwhile, Allen will be the host to the Reign.

This is the first time the Walleye have advanced to the conference finals while the Stingrays bring more expierience than just about any team. They have a league record three Kelly Cup titles to their resume. Toledo has advanced to this point thanks to two game seven victories over Wheeling and Kalamazoo.

Allen and Ontario split their season series with one game a piece.