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UFHL Playoff Preview: Higher Seeds Sweep, Advance to Second Round

UFHL Playoff Preview: Higher Seeds Sweep, Advance to Second Round

The Klein Cup playoffs didn’t provide much suspense in the first round, with all eight of the higher seeds advancing and only one relatively close matchup. The second round should be more competitive now that we’re into the conference semifinals, with the top four seeds facing off on both sides of the bracket.

First Round Results Legends Conference 1) Grizzlies defeated 8) Crypto Knights 2) Gators defeated 7) Stallions 3) Titans defeated 6) Duckman’s Domination 4) Monarchs defeated 5) Yetis Allan Conference 1) Defenders defeated 8) Dynasty 2) Strong Island defeated 7) Battle Hawks 3) Tornadoes defeated 6) Power Players 4) Rock Republic defeated 5) Snipers Second Round Matchups Legends Conference 1) Grizzlies vs. 4) Monarchs 2) Gators vs. 3) Titans Allan Conference 1) Defenders vs. 4) Rock Republic 2) Strong Island vs. 3) Tornadoes

Here is how the franchises stack up for the second round, with a roster comparison followed by a bit of analysis. NOTE: These eight playoff franchises are leasing players from the 15 non-playoff UFHL franchises (listed in parenthesis). Second Round Legends Conference 1) Grizzlies vs. 4) Monarchs

1) Grizzlies Forwards (9) Gabriel Landeskog — Colorado vs. Dallas (Blades of Steel) Nazem Kadri — Colorado vs. Dallas J.T. Compher — Colorado vs. Dallas Matt Nieto — Colorado vs. Dallas (Blizzard) William Karlsson — Vegas vs. Vancouver Nick Cousins — Vegas vs. Vancouver (Warriors) Jake DeBrusk — Boston vs. Tampa Bay (Blades of Steel) Sean Kuraly — Boston vs. Tampa Bay Jay Beagle — Vancouver vs. Vegas (Bombers) Defencemen (5) Samuel Girard — Colorado vs. Dallas (Brutes) Erik Johnson — Colorado vs. Dallas (Vengeance) Ryan Graves — Colorado vs. Dallas Mikhail Sergachev — Tampa Bay vs. Boston Nick Holden — Vegas vs. Vancouver Goaltenders (1) Robin Lehner — Vegas vs. Vancouver (West Coast Express) 4) Monarchs Forwards (10) Nikita Kucherov — Tampa Bay vs. Boston Brayden Point — Tampa Bay vs. Boston (Red Army) Tyler Johnson — Tampa Bay vs. Boston (Royals) Anthony Cirelli — Tampa Bay vs. Boston Alex Killorn — Tampa Bay vs. Boston Yanni Gourde — Tampa Bay vs. Boston Mitchell Stephens — Tampa Bay vs. Boston (Vengeance) Carter Verhaeghe — Tampa Bay vs. Boston Nate Thompson — Philadelphia vs. New York Islanders (UFHL Free Agent) Ross Johnston — New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia Defencemen (5) Travis Sanheim — Philadelphia vs. New York Islanders (Chilean Sea Bass) Justin Braun — Philadelphia vs. New York Islanders (UFHL Free Agent) Victor Hedman — Tampa Bay vs. Boston Miro Heiskanen — Dallas vs. Colorado (Bombers) Nikita Zadorov — Colorado vs. Dallas Goaltenders (1) Ben Bishop — Dallas vs. Colorado

ANALYSIS: This is going to be a great matchup between longtime friends and former university hockey teammates. It is another all-female matchup between Andrea Charanduk and Ashley Murray, who played together at the University of Regina. Andrea previously defeated Chericce Schulz’s Crypto Knights in the first round. Ashley’s Monarchs will present a bigger challenge, especially if Tampa Bay fares well against Boston and lights up Jaroslav Halak. The Monarchs are loaded with Lightning players, so that series is crucial to their success. The Grizzlies are heavy on Colorado players and will be hoping for a Colorado-Vegas matchup in the Western Conference final. The Monarchs have one extra skater in the second round, but this matchup will likely be decided by that Tampa Bay-Boston series.

2) Gators vs. 3) Titans

2) Gators Forwards (8) Anders Bjork — Boston vs. Tampa Bay Chris Wagner — Boston vs. Tampa Bay (Vengeance) Joakim Nordstrom — Boston vs. Tampa Bay (UFHL Free Agent) Nathan MacKinnon — Colorado vs. Dallas Valeri Nichushkin — Colorado vs. Dallas Max Pacioretty — Vegas vs. Vancouver (Outlaws) James van Riemsdyk — Philadelphia vs. New York Islanders Tyler Motte — Vancouver vs. Vegas (Elite Assassins) Defencemen (6) Nate Schmidt — Vegas vs. Vancouver (Elite Assassins) Alec Martinez — Vegas vs. Vancouver Brayden McNabb — Vegas vs. Vancouver (Norse Stars) Zdeno Chara — Boston vs. Tampa Bay Jan Rutta — Tampa Bay vs. Boston (Vengeance) Oscar Fantenberg — Vancouver vs. Vegas (Murder Hornets) Goaltenders (1) Thatcher Demko — Vancouver vs. Vegas (Bombers) 3) Titans Forwards (8) David Pastrnak — Boston vs. Tampa Bay Nick Ritchie — Boston vs. Tampa Bay Travis Konecny — Philadelphia vs. New York Islanders (Blizzard) Nicolas Aube-Kubel — Philadelphia vs. New York Islanders Steven Stamkos — Tampa Bay vs. Boston (Murder Hornets) Reilly Smith — Vegas vs. Vancouver Andre Burakovsky — Colorado vs. Dallas Micheal Ferland — Vancouver vs. Vegas (IR) Defencemen (4) Philippe Myers — Philadelphia vs. New York Islanders Robert Hagg — Philadelphia vs. New York Islanders (Blizzard) Cale Makar — Colorado vs. Dallas Esa Lindell — Dallas vs. Colorado (Norse Stars) Goaltenders (2) Andrei Vasilevskiy — Tampa Bay vs. Boston Curtis McElhinney — Tampa Bay vs. Boston (Norse Stars)

ANALYSIS: This promises to be another terrific matchup on paper. The Gators have three more skaters (counting Ferland’s injury absence), but the Titans have the only starting goaltender. That should balance out. This matchup could come down to whether Steven Stamkos returns for Tampa Bay, which would give the Titans a big boost in terms of offensive firepower. Regardless, two Harty Trophy contenders are going head to head in this matchup with Nathan MacKinnon on the Gators and David Pastrnak on the Titans. They will be big factors, but the Titans seem to have more scoring depth despite having fewer skaters.

Allan Conference 1) Defenders vs. 4) Rock Republic

1) Defenders Forwards (8) J.T. Miller — Vancouver vs. Vegas Tanner Pearson — Vancouver vs. Vegas Tyler Toffoli — Vancouver vs. Vegas (IR) Jamie Benn — Dallas vs. Colorado (Elite Assassins) Denis Gurianov — Dallas vs. Colorado (Royals) Brad Marchand — Boston vs. Tampa Bay (Blizzard) Sean Couturier — Philadelphia vs. New York Islanders (Chilean Sea Bass) William Carrier — Vegas vs. Vancouver Defencemen (3) Jamie Oleksiak — Dallas vs. Colorado (Ice Vikings) Andrej Sekera — Dallas vs. Colorado (Elite Assassins) Chris Tanev — Vancouver vs. Vegas Goaltenders (0) None 4) Rock Republic Forwards (4) Mikko Rantanen — Colorado vs. Dallas Jonathan Marchessault — Vegas vs. Vancouver Jake Virtanen — Vancouver vs. Vegas Casey Cizikas — New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia Defencemen (4) Charlie McAvoy — Boston vs. Tampa Bay Jeremy Lauzon — Boston vs. Tampa Bay Ryan McDonagh — Tampa Bay vs. Boston (Ice Vikings) Erik Cernak — Tampa Bay vs. Boston (Vengeance) Goaltenders (1) Carter Hart — Philadelphia vs. New York Islanders

ANALYSIS: Rock Republic produced the most fantasy points of any franchise in the first round but also lost the most skaters. The Defenders have two more skaters for the second round (three if Toffoli returns from injury), but Rock Republic have the lone goaltender left. On paper, the Defenders appear to have an advantage thanks to their extra forwards, so Rock Republic might need a couple more shutouts from Hart.

2) Strong Island vs. 3) Tornadoes

2) Strong Island Forwards (7) Corey Perry — Dallas vs. Colorado (West Coast Express) Blake Comeau — Dallas vs. Colorado (Royals) Jason Dickinson — Dallas vs. Colorado Patrice Bergeron — Boston vs. Tampa Bay Jordan Eberle — New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia Brandon Sutter — Vancouver vs. Vegas Cedric Paquette — Tampa Bay vs. Boston (Bombers) Defencemen (5) Torey Krug — Boston vs. Tampa Bay Matt Grzelcyk — Boston vs. Tampa Bay Ryan Pulock — New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia Zach Bogosian — Tampa Bay vs. Boston Jon Merrill — Vegas vs. Vancouver (Blades of Steel) Goaltenders (2) Jacob Markstrom — Vancouver vs. Vegas Anton Khudobin — Dallas vs. Colorado (Warriors) 3) Tornadoes Forwards (8) Mathew Barzal — New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia (Blades of Steel) Brock Nelson — New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia Derick Brassard — New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia Blake Coleman — Tampa Bay vs. Boston Barclay Goodrow — Tampa Bay vs. Boston Pat Maroon — Tampa Bay vs. Boston Alexander Radulov — Dallas vs. Colorado (Warriors) Radek Faksa — Dallas vs. Colorado Defencemen (2) Devon Toews — New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia (Warriors) Scott Mayfield — New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia Goaltenders (1) Pavel Francouz — Colorado vs. Dallas

ANALYSIS: Strong Island has three more players for the second round — two skaters and one goaltender — but the Tornadoes shouldn’t be counted out, especially now that Francouz has been thrust into Colorado’s starting role with the Game 1 injury to Philipp Grubauer. Strong Island will need a big effort from Boston, while the Tornadoes will be wanting another upset from the Islanders. Both have a vested interest in Dallas as well, but whoever has a better showing between Boston and the Islanders could tilt this matchup.

Non-Playoff Franchises NOTE: These 15 non-playoff UFHL franchises are loaning players to the eight playoff franchises. The non-playoff franchises are listed in order of most players remaining in the Klein Cup playoffs.

Blizzard Forwards (5) Brad Marchand — Defenders Travis Konecny — Titans Vincent Trocheck — Gators Jonathan Drouin — Rock Republic Matt Nieto — Grizzlies Defencemen (2) Brett Kulak — Rock Republic Robert Hagg — Titans Goaltenders (1) Corey Crawford — Tornadoes ANALYSIS: Blizzard are now leading the pack with eight players spread across the final eight playoff franchises — two each on Titans and Rock Republic. The way it works with the payouts and the loan system, the eventual champion will be paying out approximately $17 per leased player on their 23-man roster — $17 translates to 850 score coins (SCO), which is the in-game token on the UFF Sports’ platform. The total prize for the Klein Cup champion is $780 USD, which equates to 39,000 SCO, with 50 per cent of that purse ($390 USD or 19,500 SCO) going straight to the winning franchise (owner/GM), while the other 50 per cent is evenly distributed to every player on their roster. Like the NHL, this is a winner-takes-all tournament, with only the Klein Cup champion receiving a prize — at least for this year.

Blades of Steel Forwards (4) Gabriel Landeskog — Grizzlies Jake DeBrusk — Grizzlies Mathew Barzal — Tornadoes Sammy Blais — Rock Republic Defencemen (2) Haydn Fleury — Grizzlies Jon Merrill — Strong Island Goaltenders (1) Darcy Kuemper — Defenders ANALYSIS: Blades of Steel are one of three franchises with seven players left, including three for the regular-season champion Grizzlies.

Norse Stars Forwards (1) MacKenzie MacEachern — Gators Defencemen (5) Esa Lindell — Titans Robert Bortuzzo — Titans Carl Gunnarsson — Titans Brayden McNabb — Gators Connor Murphy — Tornadoes Goaltenders (1) Curtis McElhinney — Titans ANALYSIS: Norse Stars also have seven players left and will continue cheering for the Titans, who are rostering four of them, while two others are with the Gators.

Vengeance Forwards (3) Brock McGinn — Grizzlies Chris Wagner — Gators Mitchell Stephens — Monarchs Defencemen (4) Seth Jones — Rock Republic Erik Cernak — Rock Republic Erik Johnson — Grizzlies Jan Rutta — Gators Goaltenders (0) None ANALYSIS: Vengeance are the third franchise with seven players left, including two for the Grizzlies, Gators and Rock Republic.

Royals Forwards (6) Alex Ovechkin — Strong Island Max Domi — Strong Island Blake Comeau — Strong Island Tyler Johnson — Monarchs Tyler Bozak — Titans Denis Gurianov — Defenders Defencemen (0) None Goaltenders (0) None ANALYSIS: The Royals are one of six franchises with six players remaining, including three on Strong Island’s roster.

West Coast Express Forwards (5) Johnny Gaudreau — Strong Island Corey Perry — Strong Island Evgeny Kuznetsov — Gators Dylan Strome — Tornadoes Brad Richardson — Titans Defencemen (0) None Goaltenders (1) Robin Lehner — Grizzlies ANALYSIS: West Coast Express also have six, including two with Strong Island.