With the regular season in its final third and the Playoffs right(ish) around the corner, i thought it might be a good idea to take a little snap shot of the ol' Asia League of Ice Hockey. Now information in English is quite difficult to come by, so much of what i can figure out is from looking at stat sheets and box scores. Nevertheless there are some trends and interesting stories that emerge! Including:
1. Freeblades Attack - Despite having only been in the league for 1 full season, the Tohoku Freeblades wield the ALH's most high powered offense, having scored 30 more goals than their closest opponent. Led by Go Tanaka, the Freeblades have the top 3 goal scorers, top 2 players in assists, and 4 of the top 5 point getters in the league. All that offense has put the Freeblades battling for top spot the Oji Eagles.
2. The Fall of Halla - Last year's ALH Champion, has struggled this year, after being a dominant regular season team over the last few seasons. The Bears are currently sitting in 3rd place, 7 points behind 2nd place Tohoku. Halla may be battling the Nippon Paper Cranes and the Nikko Icebucks for that 4th and final playoff spot. Of no threat are Halla's Korean rivals High1, who sit far back in 6th place with 5 wins and 25 points.
3. The Mighty Dragon - The China Dragon have a new logo, no website and have picked up where they left off last year. They are the league's worst team, with no wins in 21 games, and have been outscored 25-125. Surprisingly, many of the Dragon's games have been close, and they have picked up 2 points for losing a game in overtime and one in the shootout. Despite their lackluster record, they hold the balance of power in ALH. Since playing the Dragon almost guarantees a win, A team can pick up valuable points against China's only ALH Team. Look for standings to be in flux every week and for the Dragon to pick up at least 1 win by the end of the season.