Down the stretch they come. With one week and eight games left in the 2017/18 MASL regular season, there is one playoff spot still up in the air. Other than the Ontario Fury and Tacoma Stars everyone else is just trying to finish strong and not get anyone hurt.
If Ontario can upset the San Diego Sockers Thursday, then Tacoma will need to beat the Kansas City Comets at home on Friday to clinch the final Pacific Division playoff spot.
While four teams have already concluded their schedule, the El Paso Coyotes, Florida Tropics, Kansas City, and San Diego have two games this weekend.
The Fury/Sockers match-up Thursday is always compelling, and Sunday gives us two playoff previews with the Baltimore Blast playing at the Syracuse Silver Knights and the Monterrey Flash hosting the red-hot Sonora Soles.
Monterrey’s spot at #1 in the Power Rankings seems secure regardless of Sunday’s result, a position they have held through the entirety of the first 18 weeks.
In a small consolation, the Turlock Express were able to escape the bottom of the Rankings, by handily defeating the Rio Grande Valley Barracudas.
The pileup of teams at #7-#11 hasn’t worked itself out, although Syracuse and Sonora have separated themselves from the middle of the pack. If we see any movement in next week’s final rankings it will likely be in that glut of middle teams.
|The Flash weren’t dominating, but they picked up two more road wins last week. They will close the regular season and open the postseason against Sonora.|
|The Sockers were dominating in their 13-3 rout of Rio Grande Valley. They can eliminate Ontario from playoff contention with a win tomorrow.|
|The Blast always live on the edge, but beat Milwaukee and Florida to finish 11-0 at home.|
|The Wave have lost five times in their last nine games after a 12-0 start. They rallied for an inspiring win in Syracuse, but goalkeeper Josh Lemos got banged up and had to leave the game.|
|The Soles finished 10-1 at home, but finish the regular season at Monterrey in what could be called a postseason preseason game.|
|Syracuse got a needed wake-up call at just the right time. Even with little on the line, losing to Harrisburg and blowing a 7-4 lead at home against Milwaukee are not how teams want to head into the playoffs.|
|The Rampage played Monterrey to a 2-2 tie through three quarters before falling 5-3. They get two weeks to prepare for Milwaukee.|
|The Tropics playoff chances came to an end with an emotional OT loss in Baltimore.|
|The Stars can clinch a playoff spot with a Fury loss tomorrow. Otherwise they will need to beat the Kansas City Comets at home to clinch a spot. We like their playoff chances.|
|The final showdown against Tacoma with everything on the line was a big anticlimax as the enigmatic Fury failed to make it competitive.|
|The Coyotes blew a 9-2 halftime lead and won in OT despite allowing 11 second half goals.|
|The Comets have figured out how to erase six and seven goal deficits, but can’t figure out how to not get blown out in the first half.|
|The Heat ended a disappointing seasons with some improved attendance and a season-ending win.|
|Some incremental improvement, but the Ambush finished with the same 19 losses as last year.
|The Express won their Sour 16 game against the Barracudas to finally escape the Power Rankings cellar.|
|Rio Grande Valley lost to Turlock and then clinched the bottom spot with a 10-goal loss in San Diego and a league-worst -93 goal differential.|