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The Missouri Mavericks remain at the top of the ECHL taking a commanding lead this week with 85 points. The Mavericks are now 14 points in front of the closest Eastern Conference team, the Manchester Monarchs, and 22 points in front of the closest Western Conference teams, the Fort Wayne Komets and Allen Americans.

The Western Conference Idaho Steelheads, who were the first in their Division last week at this time, have now dropped down into 5th as the Utah Grizzlies resume their lead in the West Division. At the bottom of the Western Conference, Rapid City and Alaska switched places with Rapid City moving up into 13th. Rapid City was 3-1-0-1 in their 5 games this week, while Alaska was 1-2-0-0 in their 3 games.

Special Note: For a team who has been sitting on the bottom of the entire league since early December the Wichita Thunder have had an interesting resurgence this week. All of their last four games since Feb. 14th have gone into overtime (vs. Tulsa, Quad City and Idaho), with their game vs Quad City ending in a shootout. Wichita split their two weekend games against the Idaho Steelheads with a win and a loss, both in overtime. At Sunday’s game Wichita’s regular goalie David Shantz was injured and replaced by their 40-year-old Emergency Backup Goaltender Kevin St. Pierre late in the 1st period. St. Pierre is the team’s EBUG as well as their bus driver and color commentator while on the road. He also serves as the Wichita Thunder Jr. team’s goalie coach. St. Pierre had not played since 2010-11 and while Idaho’s first shot against him was a goal, he managed to save 11 out of 13 shots on goal taking the team into overtime. The Thunder lost last night in OT but it was a great game for a goalie who had not played professionally in five years! Post game St. Pierre told Wichita Eagle’s reporter Jeff Lutz: “I’ve been playing men’s league, but this is the first time I’ve skated in almost three weeks because I’ve been driving the bus. I didn’t start the game and sat for almost a whole period, so it’s a little tough. It’s a good challenge, a fun challenge, good times.”

For the Eastern Conference the Manchester Monarchs have moved into 1st with 71 points, while the Florida Everblades move into 2nd with 70 points. In the biggest move this week in the East, the Wheeling Nailers jumped up into 9th place from 11th as a result of their 4 wins against Adirondack, Elmira (OT), and Brampton (1 win, 1 OT win). This week the Nailers will face Greenville and Elmira (2 games) at home — will they be able to continue their streak? For now they are tied with Greenville with 55 points but have one game in hand.

Explanation for each team’s Maximum Points and their Pace Points:

Pace is the team’s point percentage over 72 games. For example, in the case of Wichita, 31.1% of 144 (max points) is 45.

Mathematical cutoff is when the maximum points of the 9th through 16th ranked teams fall below the actual points of the 8th ranked team. To use Wichita again as an example — once the 8th place team earns 72 points Wichita would be eliminated since their maximum possible points is 71. Wichita has already been eliminated by pace points, but not mathematically as yet.

Feb 22 2016 Western Conference

Feb 22 2016 Eastern Conference

According to the ECHL 2016 Playoff format the Division winners are seeded 1, 2 and 3 (noted with * above) and the next five highest point totals in the Western conference will qualify for the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

We will revisit the ECHL Conference Playoff Race weekly and update teams Pace and Maximum points.

Note: Points based on standings as of noon, 22 February 2016. Thanks to Eric Rodgers for his Division formulas and explanations.