And here we go..the final week of the 2018/19 Elite League regular season has arrived! Before the Playoffs begin, the winners of the league title need to be decided and it all comes down to this week’s action. More on the Playoffs later…
Back to the Elite League and the Giants have, against the odds, taken the race for the championship to the last week of the season with the final two home games taking place this Friday, vs Fife Flyers, and Saturday, vs Dundee Stars.
You do NOT want to miss out on a GIANT weekend at The SSE Arena – tickets to catch the Challenge Cup champions in action for the final time in the regular season are now available online from Ticketmaster.ie.
The Elite League title race will go right to the wire thanks to a combination of results on Sunday as the Belfast Giants defeated the Sheffield Steelers 5-1 and Cardiff fell 3-1 to the Stars in Dundee, where the all new Elite League trophy was present and ready for a post-game presentation to the Devils.
However the results did not fall for the Welsh side which means the Giants will take the Devils to the final week of the season and go head-to-head for the major honours.
Belfast, the underdogs, are searching for a first league championship since 2013/14 and have dragged themselves back into the title race after trailing Cardiff by eleven points only nine weeks ago. The favourites for the title, the Devils, are going for a third straight championship and have led the standings for the majority of the season since September.
Here is your guide to the race for the 2018/19 Elite League title…
As It Stands
The Giants have battled bravely to take the title race to week #30 of the season. Despite being eleven points back at week #21 – Belfast, with two games remaining, currently trail the Cardiff Devils by two points, with the same number of games played
Belfast finish off against the Fife Flyers on Friday and then on Saturday against the Dundee Stars.
Cardiff end the season with a home game against last-placed MK Lightning on Saturday before facing the Coventry Blaze away on Sunday.
What Needs To Happen?
Despite this being the final week of the season & only two games to go – there are still a lot of permutations that can determine the final destination of the Elite League title, which we will not go into right now! Simply, if the Devils take three or more points this weekend – they will win. That is because the maximum number of points the Giants can get to is 92, with the Devils currently on 90.
Cardiff need to drop at least two points, one loss in regulation or two losses in overtime, to open the door for the Giants to take the title. If the Devils did drop two points – the Giants would need to win both of their two tough remaining games to force a tiebreaker.
If the Giants and Devils are tied on points – the tiebreakers are as follows:
- Total number of games won in regulation (Currently: Giants-36 & Devils-37)
- Total number of all games won (Currently: Giants-42 & Devils-42)
- The points won between the Giants & Devils – which the Giants lead having taken 8 points in this season’s series (4 wins) with the Devils picking up 6 points (2 wins + 1 OT loss + 1 SO loss)
How Can I Be Involved?
You do NOT want to miss out on the final two home games of the season – this Friday and Saturday at The SSE Arena against the Fife Flyers and Dundee Stars respectively.
A large crowd and a great atmosphere is expected at both games and we are encouraging all fans to buy tickets early to avoid disappointment from the SSE Arena Box Office in person, by calling 028 9073 9074 or online at ticketmaster.ie.
What happens next?
We did say we would get back to the playoffs… The Elite League regular season title is the most important trophy to collect over the course of the season. Once the season ends, the Playoffs get going – a ‘mini-season’ that determines the winner of the famous Playoff trophy.
The teams placed 1st – 8th at the end of the regular season will advance to the Playoffs. First up is the Quarter-Finals with a two-legged aggregate score series of games which must be completed on/by Sunday 7th April 2019.
The Elite League winners will be seeded #1 for the playoffs, the league runners-up #2 and so on down to #8. The 1st seed will play the 8th seed, 2nd vs 7th, 3rd vs 6th and 4th vs 5th.
The Giants have already qualified for the playoffs though still do not know who they will face – however they will play their home leg on Saturday 6th April. Click here for the full details.
The winners of those four games will advance to the ‘Final Four’ in Nottingham with two Semi-Finals on Saturday 13th April and the Grand Final on Sunday 14th April.