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Under 250: The VHLM Review (S73 #2)


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Hello, and welcome to the first edition of a new season of Under 250: The VHLM Report. In these series, we will be taking a look at the trends and topics from the past week in the VHLM. What twists and turns will our minor league hold? Stay tuned to find out!

 

Speaking of other VSN content, make sure to check out the other great work from the greater VSN family! Here are a few handy links to check out, from our weekly podcasts to in-depth history articles, scouting reports, and more! 
 

VHL Weekly | VSN Australia | Ringless | Future Watch EU
 

The Review

 

There hasn’t been a lot of movement within the standings since last week; primarily, the lines have just been further drawn in the sand as to which teams are looking more like competitors. Realistically, we have six teams over 50 points, all of which could be strong competitors come playoffs, with another team at 43 that could prove spoiler to one of our top teams in the postseason. Without further ado, let's check out our standings. 

 

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Starting in the Eastern Conference, we see that the Miami Marauders maintain their number one position, but only on tiebreakers, as the Ottawa Lynx have equaled their 54 points. Following just behind is the Minnesota Storm, with just one fewer win than the two other teams. These three teams will be battling it out to see who can get the top spot in the Conference, ensuring favourable opposition in the playoffs. Following the Storm, we have the Mississauga Hounds barely ahead of the Philadelphia Reapers, with both teams hovering in a playoff spot around 20 points, as they try to stay ahead of their Western Conference peers. Rounding out the East is the Halifax 21st, whose 5 points is the lowest in the league, with only two wins and an overtime loss in 35 games. 

 

Onto the Western Conference, we now have a new overall leader in the league! The Houston Bulls, on 58 points, have overtaken the Marauders, at least for now, with a strong run of games that saw them go 11-1-0. The Las Vegas Aces come next, followed by the San Diego Marlins; both teams have also been performing well as of late, coming in second and third over the last 12 games played with a 10-1-1 and a 10-2-0 record. The West has been strong over the past week! Following the Marlins we have an interesting team in the Saskatoon Wild, in that the Wild are heads and shoulders above the teams below them, but are significantly behind the teams ahead of them. Since our last update, in which the Wild were tied for second in the West, they have dropped off, going 5-5-2, and are now 8 points behind San Diego. Granted, there is a lot of time left in the season, but one wonders if the Wild will be looking to rebuild sooner rather than later, cutting their losses and moving on with the process. Time will tell; they certainly aren’t out of contention yet this season, as such a balanced top half of the league means anything is possible. The Mexico City Kings, closely followed by the Yukon Rush, round out our standings at 5th and 6th in the conference, respectively, each fighting with the Hounds and Reapers for that final playoff spot thanks to crossover. 

 

This rounds out our review of the standings. Let’s take a look at our ELO charts to see if they paint a clearer picture of the first week of the season:

 

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As mentioned in the review of the standings, there’s a new leader in town, marked by a significant uptick in the Bulls’ ELO rating by the end of this string of games. There hasn’t been too much movement otherwise; we see Saskatoon’s steady decline over the past 12 games, while the Lynx, Marlins, and Aces have all been steady climbers - although, the Wild still rank ahead of the Aces, despite being lower than them in the standings. In fact, the Aces are probably the most “overrated” team purely from the perspective of the standings, according to our ELO charts. The Storm had a large drop off at the end of the period but still outpace their place in the standings, maintaining their lead over the Lynx despite their worse record. 

 

As mentioned previously, there is a huge gulf between the contenders and non-contenders, with about 250 points between the Aces and the Kings. That being said, despite their current record is worse than their Eastern Conference counterparts, the ELO charts suggest that either the Mexico City Kings or the Yukon Rush will be your final playoff team once all is said and done if their performances continue. 


The Highlights

 

Merrick’s Marlins

 

Leading all skaters in points over the past 12 games, John Merrick of the San Diego Marlins has been leading the line as Marlin’s offence has been unstoppable in recent times, with four of the top six skaters by points. Merrick is number one, as he leads his team in points, having scored 13 goals and assisted 15 times for over a point per game. Merrick is closely followed by defenceman Han Jae Kuk whose fantastic 27 assists for 27 points have propelled him to be tied for assists with Houston’s Riley Knight Gee (who still leads the league in points). Following Han Jae Kuk we have the ever fantastic Roadkill Steve who has scored 16 goals in the past 12 games, the most of any player. The Marlins, should they keep up this output, may prove a dangerous opponent come the postseason. 

 

Poremba in Control

 

Philadelphia’s number one goaltender John Poremba has been absolutely stellar this season. Despite a tough record, sitting at just 10 wins over 35 matches, the American leads the league in SV% with .919, .017 more than second-placed Ajay Krishna, and seems the runaway favourite for this season’s Benoit Devereux Trophy winner, should his performances continue. Poremba has been consistently fantastic, as a goalie needs to be to average nearly a .92 in the M, and despite the second-worst GAA in the league, has been one of the main reasons the Reapers are still in playoff contention. Look to Game 146, in which the Reapers shutout Halifax, for an example of perfect performance from Poremba. Game 160 saw him achieve a .951% against the Yukon Rush in which his 39 saves were vital to the Reapers’ 4-2 victory. Well done John!

 


That’s all for this edition of Under 250: The VHLM Review. Thank you all for reading, and stay tuned next week for the inside scoop on all that’s going on in the league. Until next time!

 

@VHLM GM

Players Mentioned: @Steve, @Dtayl, @KnightRiley, @stevo, @CrlineDijohn14, @Hooperorama

 

 

VSN Writer Mr_Hatter
 

Edited by Mr_Hatter
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