FL 2s – #4 Tyrants vs #4 Blizzard – 6PM EST
by Brava Gunnar
The paths that both of these teams have blazed are incredibly similar. Both teams are coming into the matchup as 4 seeds. They both took down the #1 seed in their respective conferences and then swept the #3 seeds in their Conference Championship games. They both have 32 goals in the playoffs as well. Like I said, these teams have had an eerily similar path to this moment.
The Tyrants are coming into the FL Championship game after defeating the Bulls in the first round 3-1. They then swept the Pandas 4-0. GQSmooothh and Kiroxy have been working together very well in the playoffs. GQSmooothh has had some consistent play in the playoffs, scoring 9 goals in each of the playoff matches. Kiroxy had an awakening in the Pandas game, sending 10 shots into the net. They have a combined 32 goals, 22 assists, and 74 shots. They have a shot percentage of .432 and an on target percentage of .797. The Tyrants are on track to have their best playoff performance yet. They went 11-6 in Season 9, winning the Championship and went 11-5 in Season 10, also taking home another Championship. The Tyrants are on track for their 3rd FL Championship but must face off against an incredibly tough Blizzard team that has had carbon copy success in the Blue Conference.
The Blizzard are having a fantastic playoff run. They beat the #1 Wolves 3-1 and swept the #3 Foxes 4-0. Venturi and Bubluk both dominated in the first series combining for 15 goals, 7 assists, and 36 shots. Venturi returned for the second series with B33J, combining for 17 goals, 12 assists, and 30 shots. Venturi has had some very consistent play in each performance. The Blizzard have combined for a total of 32 goals, 19 assists, 66 shots and have a shot percentage of .484. They have an on target percentage of .893. The Blizzard are having their most successful FL playoff run at 7-1. Before this, the Blizzard had a 3-9 combined game record and an 0-3 series record in 3 appearances. They are looking to keep this hot streak going and take home their first ever FL Doubles Championship.
Regardless of who comes out the victor, this should be one heck of a match to watch!
AL 2s – #3 Sharks vs #1 Hurricanes – 7PM EST
Play-ins: 3-1 vs Demolition (GD: -2)
Quarterfinals: 3-2 vs Bulls (GD: +11)
Conference finals: 4-2 vs Elite (GD: +6)
Journey to the grand finals: Coming into the playoffs as the orange conference 3 seed, the Sharks advanced past the Demolition, winning 3-1 while letting in an uncharacteristically high 4.75 goals/game, including a 7-1 blow out in game 2. They must have kept this in mind when preparing for the quarterfinals against the Bulls, where they had a standout defensive performance of 1.6 goals/game, outscoring their opponents 19 to 8. The Sharks added to their portfolio with a capstone win in the orange conference finals against an Elite team that dramatically swept the #1 seeded Comets. In their conference final win the Sharks looked to be firing on all cylinders as they dominated for most of the series, including a strong start with 4 goals in the first 2:30 of game 1.
Player Profile: Dimensions- While the Hurricanes have a seemingly defined pairing of offensive and defensive focused players, the Sharks are the exact opposite; Both of these players’ strong suits are their coordination on both offense and defense, as well as their patience off the ball. Against the highly aggressive Elite lineup, they were able to pick their moments, neutralize offensive threats, and use very fast transition plays to catch their opponents on the back foot. Dimensions brought offensive pedigree to the conference finals with dribbles, intelligent 1v1 play, and a backboard double tap that will be an AL goal of the season contender.
Player Profile: Seeing- While Dimensions may have grabbed the headlines with an insane double tap goal, Seeing was provided offensive firepower of his own with long range booming shots, coordinated aerial passing, and constant pressure with smart touches and demos. Seeing also had a standout performance on defense against the Elite, seeming nearly unbeatable in the first 3 games as he had a number of goal line saves and fast, accurate clears that allowed for the Sharks’ aforementioned transition plays.
Keys to the game: The Sharks need a carbon copy repeat performance of last week vs Elite where they started strong and looked cohesive. They will be looking for a similar fast start against a Hurricanes team that tends to start slow and grow into games.
Quarterfinals: 3-2 vs Foxes (GD: +2)
Conference finals: 4-2 vs Spartans (GD: +3)
Journey to the grand finals: Clinching the 1 seed in the blue conference, the Hurricanes started their playoff campaign in the quarterfinals against the Foxes where they pulled off a reverse sweep after close losses in game 1 and 2. They shared a similar slow start in the conference finals against the Spartans where they conceded 5 goals in just over 2 minutes to lose game 1. THE JANITOR came on as a hotswap sub and helped the ‘canes to a 4-2 conference championship and a spot in the grand finals.
Player Profile: Blacklazer- The more defensive player of this Hurricanes 2s pairing, Blacklazer has looked like a solid platform player who allows his partner freedom to roam with precision clears, passes, and overall smart, calculated play.
Player Profile: THE JANITOR- The offensive pulse of the ‘canes partnership, THE JANITOR brings a range of offensive skills to the fight. Against the Spartans he played the role of midfield disrupter, not allowing the Spartans any breathing room on the ball and punishing them with aerial shots, dribbles, and strong 50s.
Keys to the game: The Hurricanes have had slow starts in both of their playoff games. They narrowly escaped a 0-2 start against the Foxes and looked shaky and indecisive on defense early against the Spartans. There’s little question of their ability to score goals, as they scored 3.8 goals/game against the Foxes and 3.3 goals/game against the Spartans, but they may find goals hard to come by against a well coordinated Sharks defense. The major key to the game for the Hurricanes is to sort their defensive positioning and minimize double commits. An important key for the Hurricanes will be utilizing THE JANITOR’s skills to disrupt the cohesive, structured play of the sharks defense.
Prediction: The Sharks have looked better and better in each of their previous 3 playoff series, Seeing 4 Dimensions on the field in their conference final win. While the Hurricanes will undoubtedly put up a fight, I see the cohesiveness of the Sharks giving them the edge in this grand finals. Sharks win 4-2.
CL 2s – #2 Sabres vs #7 Rhinos – 8PM EST
by Brava Gunnar
Both teams have had to win 3 series and defeat the #1 seeds in their respective conferences to make it to this moment. They both made the playoffs in different ways. The Sabres won their division with a 35-15 record (3rd overall best) and the Rhinos just made it in with a 27-23 record. (13th overall best) This is just the 2nd appearance in the playoffs for both teams.
The Sabres are coming into this game after defeating the #7 Knights 3-0 in the 1st round with the help of Buttermilk Biscuit and Needless. They combined for 13 goals, 8 assists, and had 30 shots. Their next victory came against the #5 Hawks. They won the series 3-1 with the help of Buttermilk Biscuit and Angelz. They combined for 17 goals, 5 assists, and 27 shots. In the 3rd round, they faced off against the #1 Blizzard and won 4-1. Buttermilk Biscuit and Needless combined for 22 goals, 16 assists, and shot the ball 54 times. Overall, the Sabres have 52 goals, 19 assists, and 111 shots so far in the playoffs. They had a shot percentage of .468 and an on target percentage of .837. The Sabres had some decent success in the Season 11 playoffs with a game record of 9-7 and series record of 2-1. They came up short in the Conference finals but have changed that this playoffs with their 10-2 game record and Conference title grab. They are only one more step away from their first CL Doubles Championship and that is through the Rhinos.
The Rhinos have outperformed expectations in the playoffs. Hats go off to the excellent performances and the close series! The Rhinos started off their stunning run against the #2 Pirates, in which they won 3-2. Spidey720 and The End Of You combined for 22 goals, 11 assists, and 51 shots. In round 2, they took down another giant, the #1 Demolition. Smitty Cena and The End of You won the match up 3-1 and combined for 10 goals, 4 assists and 31 shots. The Rhinos 3rd round matchup was against the #6 Flames. The End Of You, Smitty Cena, and Spidey720 all got involved in this full length series. They combined for 20 goals, 11 assists, and 64 goals. Overall, the Rhinos had 52 goals, 26 assists, and 146 shots. They had a shot percentage of .356 and an on target percentage of .828. The Rhinos have had success in the playoffs before with a 10-3 performance in Season 9. They took home the Championship then and are looking to take it home this season. They have another giant to take down, as they face off against the Sabres.
ML 2s – #6 Puffins vs #1 Bears – 9PM EST
The Bears come into the championship final looking strong, as is expected of a number one seed. The Bears received a first-round bye, defeated the Dodgers 3-1, then easily defeated the Demolition 4-1 in the Orange Conference finals. Top pair of Arju and Cheese look to bring the Bears back-to-back Master League Championships. In the series against the Dodgers and the Demolition, both players put up MVPRs over 6, while plastering their opponents with 109 shots over 9 games. One can expect for the Bears to continue with that same offensive pressure against Puffins.
The Puffins had a bit of an unorthodox path to the finals, but nonetheless, deserve their championship birth. After receiving a first-round bye due to a Non-Compete Penalty issued to the Express, the Puffins defeated a solid Sabres team 3-1. In their series against the Sabres, the Puffins were up 5-1 in game #2 when Sparta started experiencing connection issues. Poper could only do so much as they ended up losing that game in overtime. Instead of being utterly deflated from that development, they subbed in ripcheems and proceeded to win the next two games and the series. Then against the high-flying Ducks in the Blue Conference finals, Sparta and Poper slugged it out and took the series in game seven overtime. This Puffins team has faced adversity throughout this post season and has met the challenge admirably.
Arguably the Puffins have had to face stronger competition this postseason in comparison to the Bears. The Demolition did not field their top duo, while the Puffins faced off against the first seeded Sabres and the fourth seeded Ducks. This, in conjunction with their resiliency and ability to dictate the pace of the game, puts the Puffins in a favorable position. However, Arju and Cheese may just bring an offensive presence that Sparta and Poper cannot handle. Even during their two series together during the regular season, Arju and Cheese went 10-0 in games played and put up 135 shots. I fully expect these grand finals to go seven games and be an absolute shootout.
PL 2s – #1 Knights vs #1 Pirates – 10PM EST
by Brava Gunnar
The two #1 seeds of the PL Doubles are heading into a heated clash this Saturday. The Pirates coming in with the 1st overall record at 38-12 and the Knights with the 2nd overall at 30-20.
The Pirates have been dominant all season and showed that with their 4-1 over the Tyrants. Tater had a solid performance with 9 goals, 4 assists, 12 saves, and 25 shots. Madmaxrk also had a solid performance with 10 goals, 3 assists, 10 saves, and 30 shots. They combined for 19 goals, 7 assists, and 55 shots. They had a shot percentage of .345 and an on target percentage of .781. The Pirates made it to the Conference Finals in Season 10 with a 5-4 record but came up short. They also had an appearance in Season 12 but didn’t make it out of the first round with a 2-3 loss. The Pirates are looking to win their first Championship this season.
The Knights are coming off of a dominant season in the Blue Conference. They are coming off of a hard fought 4-3 victory against the Express. Perma had a nice performance with 11 goals, 8 assists, 19 saves, and 37 shots. Evil had a great performance with 15 goals, 5 assists, 11 saves, and 31 shots. They combined for 26 goals, 13 assists, and 68 shots. They had a shot percentage of .382 and an on target percentage of .985. The Knights only had 1 shot off target. The Knights are making their 4th playoff appearance. In their first appearance, they were knocked out in the first round. In their second, they made it to the Conference Finals but fell short. Last season, they won the Championship and are looking to repeat that this season.