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Can you beat the League? Follow the Stanley Cup Bracket Challenge
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - Submitted by AIHL Newsdesk

Add a little spice to your NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs by following the AIHL's top picks for the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge and see if you can beat the odds - and maybe even beat the League! 

This year, as part of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge the AIHL created it's own league for fellow ice hockey enthusiasts and would-be punters to fashion a bracket and see whose picks come out on top. 

As the gates closed on team nominations, the AIHL league stands with 111 members and plenty of variety in the selection of Stanley Cup Champions. 

Overall it seems punters favour the Nashville Predators to win with 26% of the AIHL League's vote. It's a big step down in confidence to the next set favouring the Pittsburgh Penquins to clinch a three-peat, with 12.6% of the League's support. Another perenial favourite, the Boston Bruins are close behind with 12 brackets for the win (10.8%). With 11 votes, clearly some fans are keen to see NHL debutants the Las Vegas Golden Knights finish a dream season with a Stanley Cup. Then there's 7 Toronto Maple Leaf hopefuls, pining for a break to their Stanley Cup drought, given the team hasn't won a Championship since 1967. While the New Jersey Devils, Washington Capitals, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Colorado Avalanche all made the board as potential champs, the last minor grouping goes to the Winnepeg Jets with support from All Blacks, Tomi.1, Derek.1 and Josh's Jets Victory. 

Not to be outdone, we asked some AIHL personalities to put up some brackets of their own. Here's their early Stanley Cup Playoffs analysis. 

Rob Malloy 

Captain Newcastle Northstars and member, Australian National Men's Team, 2018 IIHF World Championship.

"I like Boston’s chances because they have firepower and effective role players. They have an excellent blend of youth and experience.

Nashville because they know how to get there, I think their team is better than last year."

Ben Breault

Perth Thunder forward and AIHL 2017 Top Scorer. 

"Boston has made some big last minute trades to strengthen their experienced team which I think will help them upset the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern conference final, but after last year's vibe in the Nashville community with their amazing run, I think this year is the year they win it all."

Ellie-Marie Watts

Journalist, Newcastle Northstars

"My picks are based on gut and loyalty. I think the Sharks will roll the Ducks easily enough, but I think they can go distance this year. While they coasted into the Playoffs, I think the return of Thornton will boost the team. Kane's youthful addition and a record-tying season for goals has me confident they have a decent run at the final.

"In the East, the Pens have been dominant the past two seasons and they haven't slowed down in their third consecutive run for the Cup. I think if any team at all is going to be in the final match-up, it will be the Pens."

Stephen White 

Commentator and AIHL Podcast Host

"Nashville were dominant in the West all season and I think they have the goods to go one better after last year's Stanley Cup Final. 

Washington have a point to prove in the East and with Ovechkin and Grubauer having incredible seasons, they have their best chance in years to grab Lord Stanley's Cup."

Burnie Mac 

AIHL Podcast Host

"The Penguins will make it three Cups in a row, captain Sidney Crosby is at the peak of his career and goalie Matt Murray has never lost a Stanley Cup series! 

I think the Kings will be a surprise package in the west. Goalie Jonathan Quick conceded the fewest goals against in the regular season and captain Anze Kopitar is in the running for league MVP after a bounce back year, don't underestimate them!"

 

One thing's for sure - there's plenty of Playoffs hockey to come! Be sure to keep up with the AIHL in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge and see if you can beat the league!

 

 

 
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2017 AIHL GRAND FINAL HIG
STANDINGS
TEAM GP W L D OW OL TP
Brave 18 14 4 0 0 0 42
Ice Dogs 18 8 5 0 3 2 32
Thunder 18 8 6 0 3 1 31
Northstars 19 7 6 0 3 3 30
Bears 17 7 5 0 2 3 28
Mustangs 19 6 10 0 1 2 22
Ice 19 5 9 0 2 3 22
Adrenaline 18 2 12 0 2 2 12
SCORING LEADERS GOALIE LEADERS
PLAYER GP G A PTS
P Grandmaison (PT) 18 16 26 42
G Wudrick (SID) 18 15 23 38
B Breault (PT) 18 12 23 35
L Oslanski (PT) 15 10 25 35
T Gerling (CB) 15 12 22 34
G Toulmin (SID) 15 13 19 32
A Podzins (CB) 15 14 16 30
W Darge (CB) 16 8 22 30
SCORING LEADERS GOALIE LEADERS
GOALIE GP W GAA SV%
A Kimlin (SB) 16 8 2.01 .932
M Hewitt (CB) 17 14 2.13 .923
C Skip (SID) 13 9 2.31 .926
J Pine-Murphy (MI) 5 0 2.91 .895
D Davis (NNS) 15 8 3.56 .894
M James (MI) 9 4 3.62 .869
P Pitkänen (MM) 15 5 3.63 .869
P Di Salvo (PT) 18 11 3.67 .901
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Geordie Wudrick
GEORDIE WUDRICK (Dogs)

18 games, 38 points (15 goals, 23 assists)

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Peter Di Salvo
PETER DI SALVO (Thunder)

18 games, 11 wins (3.67 GAA, 0.901 SV%)

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Trevor Gerling
TREVOR GERLING (Brave)

15 games, 34 points (12 goals, 22 assists)

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