The Fight for Playoffs

It’s time for me to attempt a Kyle-esque league update (inb4 mediocre post)! Each team has now played in 9 out of 14 regular season games and we have THREE teams equal in points at the top of the league. One couldn’t hope for a more important final 5 games for each and every team in this league. With the recent addition of 31 new plays via the Free Agent Draft, many teams now have a drastically new look on the ice.  With these new additions, predicting the playoff-bound teams is mere speculation.

1. Zenn Freeze:

With their recent win over the Korhal War Pigs, the Zenn Freeze have claimed the number one spot in the league.  However, this places them in a three way tie for most points in the league.  Since they are 1-1 agains the Korhal War Pigs this season, the tie breaker comes down to goal differential over the course of the season.  With the Zenn Freeze having a differential of +9 and Kohal having a differential of +8, the top two ranked teams in the league are currently separated by one single goal.

After starting of the season at 0-2 and having a goal differential of -10, Zenn was struggling to get their largely talented starting 4 (Kurt, RusH, LingKing, daggius) into full swing.  Since those first two games, Zenn has gone 6 of their last 7 and only losing that one game by a single goal vs the Mar Sara Threat Agents in OT.

With 5 games remaining, Zenn looks to keep the streak hot, but with revitalized teams such as the Tarsonis City Tigers still left on the schedule it will not be an easy feat.

2. Korhal War Pigs:

Recently removed from the number one spot by the Zenn Chill, the Korhal War Pigs 4-game win stream has been put to a halt.  Although sporting the potentially high powered forwards of Bulbasaaur and Athadox, the War Pigs have only had two games be decided by more than a two goal lead.  Chemistry issues between these two forwards has been the story for most of the season, however Bulbasaaur has put up 29 points (26 goals 3 assists) to come in second overall in the league.

Despite the lack of chemistry between these two explosive forwards, the strong support of htcp (14.33 passes per game) and Squid (starting goalie for all 9 games) have helped keep this team consistently in the fight for wins and continually coming out on top.

The Korhal War Pigs look to bounce back from losing to the Zenn Freeze vs the currently #7 ranked Shakuras Inquisition this Wednesday.

3. Mar Sara Threat Agents:

The Mar Sara Threat Agents also posted 19 points through the first 9 games of this season (three-way tie).  Although they currently have the highest goals per game (5.33) and are tied for lowest goals against (3.00), four out of nine games have been pushed past regulation time (1 overtime win, 1 overtime loss, and 2 shootout wins).  This team is tied for first in points literally by the skin of their teeth, but have put up the timely goals to deserve the placement.

Sporting the high powered offense of Maharishi (3rd overall in points with 28) and Droplets (5th overall in points with 25), the Mar Sara Threat Agents currently lead the league with 48 goals scored.  The returning defensive composition of Darkangel and CountryKen (Season 2 Korhal War Pigs posted a goals against average of 3.29 to tie for best during the regular season) again are tied for lowest goals against per game average with 3.00.  However with CountryKen (4 games played) restricted to primarily West servers, the biggest step-up performer of this team undoubtedly has been Crush who as stepped in as a goalie and also as a skater consistently throughout the season (6 games played).

Looking ahead, Mar Sara will be trying to continue its winning ways (least losses in the league with 2, with one being in an overtime loss) and possibly put a few more games away in regular time.  They will be taking on the New Gettysburg Flyers tonight at 9pm EST who will be fighting viciously to receive a playoff invitation.

4. Zerus Redlings:

As for the unanimously dubbed “Proster Team,” they came blazing out of the gates this season with a 3-0 start and a +7 goal differential.  Since then, they have been more of a day to day team.  They are still one of the most feared teams in the league since PrOsTeR is leading the league in points with 38 (26 goals and 12 assists) and is 9 points ahead of his runner-up.  However, the team does not stop at PrOsTeR.  MrAlertEyes is currently ranked 4th overall in points with 25.

The Redlings’ stall tactics that worked so well for PrOsTeR in season 2, has not seemed to have the same effect this season.  However, the Redlings still lead the league in average possession time (4.29 minutes per game). Despite puck control, Art has seen the most shots in the league amongst all goalies (107 shots against).  With an inconsistent defense and somewhat server dependent offense, the redlings hope to get back on track with the recent addition of Teroh.  Teroh and PrOsTeR played together in Season 2 and are expected to have some similar chemistry via quick goals and time kill tactics.

Through the remaining 5 games, the Redlings are looking to re-ignite the fire that they started off the season with and head to the playoffs with a player that seems near unstoppable when on west.

5. Kaldir Yetis:

Highly regarded as a weak team directly after the draft, the Yetis quickly erased that mentality with the outsanding goal-stopping capabilities of the well known defender Kaioken and the newly discovered goalie phenom Prime.  The combo of these two players has helped them post a league tying best of 3.00 goals against per game.

The Yetis didn’t have the greatest start to the season (1-2 witha -9 goal differential), but have come back strong with a 2.5 goals against per game average over the past 6 games.  With Eric playing great offense when isn’t a hindering factor, they look to find a permanent supporting player in the recently acquired stealth.  Also, the recently signed Free Agent Fable will add a bit more depth to the roster.  Currently sitting in 5th place, the Yetis have a new look after the stealth trade and took down the prestigious Redlings last night.  They will look to solidify their starting lineup and become a true defense to be reckoned with while adding the sneaky offensive playstyle of Eric and stealth.

6. New Gettysburg Flyers:

Simply after the first two picks of the draft (Vapour and ZachSmack), this became a team to be reckoned with.  With the addition of krazymen (skating) and Moose or Townkrier in net, this team appeared to be a first place quality team on paper.  However, a closer look shows that many of these players are east server players.  Notoriously known for some issues on the west server, Vapour has only been able to make 6 appearances, and a few of those also left him server handicapped.  In addition, they’ve needed 8 totally players to contribute to their ZHL team so far this season.  This didn’t stop them from winning down two games by a 6 goal difference, but they are yet to string consecutive wins together.

The volatile (…) gameplay of this potentially high flying (…) offense is still one to fear.  Catch them on a good day on east, and there is a good chance that all hell will ensue while facing the 6th overall point leader, ZachSmack (24p), and the second overall draft pick, Vapour (12p).  The high paced offense is currently leading the league with 47.60 passes per game (nearly 7 passes more than the next team), and is hoping for the newly acquired Levi will help give them a bit more stability on both servers and allow the flyers to show their true potential through these final 5 games and receive a playoff invitation.

7. Shakuras Inquisition:

PeterDLai (Season 2 MVP), IrishLad, and Critt.  On draft day, this team appeared geared and ready to teach the league some lessons on scoring.  However, as we figured out from season 2’s Tarsonis City Tigers, translating a good team on paper to a good team on ice takes more than just names.  Shakuras did manage to string together two well played games to start off the season, but they also did allow 9 goals through those two games.  From there, the Shakuras’ defensive weakness (7.78 goals against per game) really started to show after a 9-7 Loss to the Korhal War Pigs, and also followed by a mercy rule loss to the Zenn Freeze.

A large issue that simply cannot be ignored for the Shakuras Inquisition is their server choice at home.  PeterDLai is notoriously known for being an outstanding player on West, while definitely appearing a bit handicapped when on an East server.  Shakuras Inquisition owner, Critt, however is strictly vice versa.  Therefore whichever server they’re on, one of their top players is dealing with cross-server latency.

Despite these struggles, the future looks bright for the Shakuras Inquisition with the recently signed TinyTerran (goalie).  TinyTerran has the capability of being the brick wall in net that the Shakuras Inquisition so direly need.  If attendance issues do not continue to plague this team as it has over recent weeks, this team looks strong and ready to make a comeback into the playoff picture.

8. Tarsonis City Tigers:

Who is Amin?  This basically summarizes the beginning of the season for the Tarsonis City Tigers.  The disappearance of their first round pick left this team desperately searching for a name and a claim.  They’ve rotated through multiple goalies, made multiple trades, but still never seemed to find much definition of roles for players on their team.  However, despite the disappearance of their first round pick, the Tarsonis City Tigers still posess prestigious names such as Cafca (7th overall in points with 24), late round draft star Three (9th overall in points with 20), Ranchinator (who recently discovered he is a goalie phenom), and Perplex (best caster NA).  These players have been able to put together some impressive gameplay and keep many games quite close (4 games lost by 2 goals or less).

With the end of the season rapidly approaching, the Tarsonis City Tigers look to the free agent pick Watermelon (aka Waltermalone aka Watermylawn).  The Tarsonis City Tigers very wall may need to win the remaining games to have any chance of making the playoffs, but with this new impressive look to replace … wait, what’s his name again? nvm that.  The Tarsonis City Tigers are now a true force on the ice at all positions and won’t be pushed out of the playoffs without a fight.