Season 23
Finals
Wednesday // Series #1
Jun. 22
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S23 Round Deux or Die

Semi-finals, that's what is up, 239 gang. No time to waste on a stupid intro. ¡Ándale, ándale!

APPEAR OFFLINE (1)
vs. AIN'T NO SUNSHINE (7)

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A jubilant Yessssss was followed by a sinking Noooooo after Ain’t No Sunshine bested #2 seeded Pale (they weren’t #1: I triple checked) for the honor of playing Dmart’s top ranked squad. But the gap between the #1 and #2 seeds feels vast.

These teams haven’t met since week 3, when BLK and Co. managed to sneak an OT win (0-5, 3-2 OT, 2-4). The silver lining is Gala didn't play in that series, and he’s proven to be an important cog (Nooooo also managed to win 2/3 playoff games without Gala in the lineup). The bad news is Offline blew the doors off Sunshine in possession by well over double TOA.


HOW AIN’T NO SUNSHINE WINS THE SERIES:

Both of these teams take an exorbitant amount of penalties (145 PIMs for Offline, 120 PIMs for Sunshine), and we’re dealing with the top 2 ranked PPs. Except Offline boasts the 4th best PK compared to Sunshine’s dead last PK. Offline took 22 non-fighting PIMs last round, which feels excessive for a dominant sweep, but they didn’t allow a single goal shorthanded. Meanwhile, Sunshine’s PK finished a not sterling 7/14 against Noooo's 10th ranked PP. In their regular series matchup, Freak took 14 PIMs off 44 hits. If Sunshine wants to get into a PP duel, it’s a losing proposition. Gala also has the tough task of needing to contain Veds from getting below the circles and hitting Dmart for one timers, while not selling out and leaving Dali open for one timers. I did say it was a tough task. This is Team One T, and you stand no chance if you don't force them into mixing it up.


HOW APPEAR OFFLINE WINS THE SERIES:

Sunshine played blitzkrieg hockey in their last round, leading playoff teams in shots on goal and hits per game. Offline cannot be caught making slow plays through the middle or along the walls, and they need to clean up second chance opportunities. Sunshine is a team that always has two capable puck movers on defense, so the 2nd Appear Offline forechecker has to be exceedingly careful, and Greek needs to clamp middle exits/entries, because Sunshine's defense will be waiting on those cuts. After 13 goals in 30 games, Greek managed to pot 4 in 4 last round, and if an opposing team ever solves how to stop the high one timers on either side, a finisher around the net is of the essence. It doesn’t have to be pretty, just gravity creating outside the paint. I thought Chum was constantly dangerous as a scorer in round 1, so Dmart might need to help out Adam and send early doubles his way.


***APPEAR OFFLINE WINS IN 5 GAMES***


STRICTLY BUSINESS (3) vs. BIG BROWN BEAVERS (5)

[​IMG]


These teams are so eerily similar in their forward driven, high octane rush offenses, that it’s a shame we’re not getting each team at full strength. A little birdie told me that mashopta will not be there for the first 3 games, and it’s hard to see Beavers not immediately being behind the eight-ball. Beavers is spearheaded by mashotpa and Dutch, so they’ll need to find a way to steal even just 1 measly game the night of 3 games. In their late regular season matchup, Business took the series to the tune of 3-2 (OT), 3-1, 2-4.

HOW BIG BROWN BEAVERS WINS THE SERIES:

Surpriseme is one of the leading scorers in league history, and though he’s been fashioned as a 3rd forward here, he’ll have to be the dominant offensive winger without mash night 1 (they’ll miss him defensively too). It’s not unfamiliar territory, and Surpriseme did it with Dutch in season 21. They need every bit of him at both ends, especially causing transition roadblocks for Kosmic. In the 3 games, with Kosmic at center, offensive will be steered to RW-C, so Yam has to be trusted to stop jonmonkey 1v1; that turns into a situation where you cannot allow 1v1s when Kosmic shifts to LW. If the Beavers have one clear advantage to leverage, it’s the emergence of Thejsquad as a dependable starter. He needs to steal a game or two, and he’s proven capable. While Beavers managed to drive play evenly with Business in the regular season, one notable is that they had a tough time manufacturing shots, so possession must lead to pucks on net, especially if Pensfan has his bouts of inconsistency. It doesn't have to be a masterpiece to score on Business.


HOW STRICTLY BUSINESS WINS THE SERIES:

Liberty Biberty was one of the toughest defensive units in the league, and Business sliced through them like hot buttaaah. And yet, Beavers allowed even less goals than Liberty (2.6 GA/game, and only 2 GA/game in their 1st round matchup against Game of Throws). Business has to find a way to capitalize off the rush because Beavers has surprisingly stout defensive zone structure. Unfortunately, with Beavers missing a Hart caliber player for 3 games, there’s really no excuses for Kos and crew not going up 2-1 or even 3-0. I don't think Beavers excels as a creative passing unit, outside mash and Dutch, so I wouldn't be afraid to keep play in the corners and going low to high.

***STRICTLY BUSINESS WINS IN 6 GAMES***
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