In the final quarter of the ECHL's regular season, the Alaska Aces lead the race for the Brabham Cup, which assures the winner home-ice advantage throughout the Kelly Cup playoffs. Three of the current top five teams on the 23-team circuit come from the Western Conference, and here's how they stand:
Team Record Points Games Left
Alaska Aces 38-11-6 82 17
Ontario Reign 36-13-5 77 18
Reading Royals 35-14-6 76 17
Idaho Steelheads 34-15-5 73 18
Cincinnati Cyclones 31-17-6 68 18
- In the Alaska Aces' nine previous ECHL seasons, they are the only club to win the Brabham Cup, earned by the hockey league's regular-season champion, more than once.
- The Aces have won the Brabham three times (2012, 2011 and 2006) and are leading the chase for a third consecutive title as teams enter the final quarter of the 72-game regular season. They are the only franchise in the ECHL's previous 24 seasons to win consecutive Brabham Cups and also the only club to win the Brabham three times.
- The Brabham is meaningful on several fronts. The winner earns home-ice advantage throughout the Kelly Cup playoffs, the trophy is a nice reward for the winning franchise, which gets to hang a banner from the rafters, and the Cup-winning players split $4,150.
- Alaska owns a five-point lead on Ontario atop the overall standings and has 17 games remaining to Ontario's 18. Only three other teams -- the Reading Royals. Idaho Steelheads and Cincinnati Cyclones -- are within 14 points of the Aces.
- The three times the Aces won the Brabham have all come down to the wire -- they won it on the penultimate night of the regular season last year and in 2006, and in 2011 won it on the final night of the regular season.
- Only four times in ECHL history has the winner of the Brabham Cup gone on to lift the Kelly Cup. The Aces did it twice, though -- in 2011 and 2006.