VGAHL Season 19 Snap Shots, Volume 8: The Four Horsemen
I don't think I've gone on about how much I love the franchise, but you guys gotta play YAKUZA. It's like a combination of Sleeping Dogs and Dynasty Warriors, with a fun-filled open world full of eccentric characters to contrast the emotionally gripping narrative of the main story. The combat is intense, taking on groups of enemies at a time in hand to hand combat with brutal finishing moves, and makes GTA look like ballet. Start with Yakuza 0, it's dirt cheap on the Playstation Store and you guys got nothing better to do right now.
Ahh, the concept of the Four Horsemen. It can refer to the Apocalypse, being Famine, Death, Pestilence, and War. It could refer to the best professional wrestling stable ever, and the initial lineup of Flair, the Andersons, and Blanchard (with Dillon as their manager). It could also refer to that killer Metallica song, and the four men who changed metal forever in Hetfield, Hammet, Ulrich, and Burton (R.I.P.). While all four of those representations of the phrase are valid portrayals, we'll be heading in a different direction with this article.
The Four Horsemen of the VGAHL are the four teams that have made it to the conference finals: the Hershey Bears, the Rochester Americans, the Tucson Roadrunners (what?!) and the Rockford Ice Hogs (the fuck?). I don't think anybody in the VGAHL has a correct bracket after seeing how unpredictable these playoffs have been. I had Charlotte and San Diego in the finals, so I feel like an idiot. However, we've repeatedly insisted that anything can happen in the playoffs,
Congratulations to these four teams, as pairs of these teams now have the chance to compete for the Richard F. Canning Trophy and the Robert W. Clarke Trophy respectively, as they aim to add one more trophy to their case: the Calder Cup. For the other four teams that were eliminated, you guys let me the fuck down. San Antonio got SWEPT by Rockford, while the Gulls could only get one game against the Frenchies. Nonetheless, congratulations on a moderately successful season, back to the drawing board with you!
Let's see what happened in round 2, and look ahead at what the Conference Finals will bring.
Let's take some snap shots!
Series 1: Hershey Bears (1) vs. Charlotte Checkers (3)
Result: Hershey Bears win 4-1
DD Prediction: Charlotte Checkers win 4-3.
What Happened: after an exhausting first round matchup against the Penguins, the Checkers had another tough test in front of them. After Hershey took the first two games (4-3, 3-0), Charlotte rebounded with a big game 3 and scored 6 goals. However, this offensive explosion was exclusive to this game as the Bears mauled the Checkers, beating them in 5 games to move on to the Eastern Conference finals.
Series 2: Syracuse Crunch (1) vs. Rochester Americans (3)
Result: Rochester Americans win 4-2.
DD Prediction: Rochester Americans win 4-2.
What Happened: Nailed it. Nostradietrich is back, baby! The Crunch had lost some steam heading into these playoffs, and although they easily disposed of the Thunderbirds, they were down 3-1 after the first 4 games (only being outscored by a goal). After a one goal game in game 5 that went to Syracuse, the Americans finished off the series emphatically with a 4-0 victory in game 6.
Series 1: San Diego Gulls (1) vs. Tucson Roadrunners (4)
Result: Tucson Roadrunners win 4-1.
DD Prediction: Gulls win 4-1.
What Happened: I got it backwards! The Gulls, penned into the finals by yours truly and many others, were disposed of in five games by the hottest team in the league. Tucson took the first two games in a pair of closely contested games, and after the Gulls looked to have corrected their course with an 8-4 blowout in game three, the Roadrunners returned the favour. They outscored the Gulls 13-4 in the next two games to take the series in five and advance to the Conference finals.
You guys should have seen the message cpenn sent me about the Roadrunners. You thought I presented him as Trump-like in these articles, he looked like he pulled a tweet straight from his account.
Series 2: San Antonio Rampage (1) vs. Rockford Ice Hogs (2)
Result: Rockford Ice Hogs win 4-0.
DD Prediction: Rockford Ice Hogs win 4-3.
What Happened: MLG Owen wasn't so MLG this series, or at least his team wasn't. The Rampage scored three goals through their first three games, while Rockford outscored them by ten goals in that time span. San Antonio found their scoring touch in game four, putting up 6 goals. Rockford put up 8. Get fucked. Get swept! Don't sleep on the geek!
I got 2/4 winners right and 1/4 series spot on that round. A far cry from my first round performance, but these playoffs have been something else. However, we now get the chance to look forward to two Conference Finals matchups that will be incredibly competitive. 27 teams have fallen, and the only squads left standing have proven themselves to be the 4 best teams in the league. Let's see who makes the final cut.
To guide my analysis, I will be putting on Winnipeg hardcore band Comeback Kid's 2005 album "Wake the Dead". If you like heavy music at all, this is a fantastic album with frenetic pace, fantastic guitar work, melody in the right places, and harsh, confessional vocals.
Man, half of this article is just turning into me referencing things I love that most people have no fucking clue about. I gotta do this more often. Let's get back to business.
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
Hershey Bears (1) vs. Rochester Americans (3)
HersheyBears: entering the playoffs as the best team in the Eastern conference, the Squirts have only lost two games in this postseason, winning 80% of their games and maintaining consistency with their regular season standard (they won 47 out of 60 games). We've marveled about the Bears' offense, but Boog and Caps built a solid back end too: Snipeshotty is leading the AHL in save percentage (86%) behind a defensive core led by ct83 that also employs talented defenders in DClight and Josi. While Marty and Blades take care of business on offense, Hershey's odds of making it to the finals seem quite high.
RochesterAmericans: I'm so happy that Graham and FUCKNUTZ have made it this far in the playoffs, because I get to keep saying FUCKNUTZ. Knocking off Syracuse this past round brings their playoff record to 8-3, and they are averaging over 3 goals a game for and just over 2 against. With Devin and Wulf combining for the best goaltending tandem in the AHL playoffs, all Gostisbehere, Jesus, and Stoner need to do is play their game up front, and maybe hope for a resurgence from Overkill, and this deep Rochester team can make their way into the Calder Cup finals.
The Verdict: Rochester has definitely surprised some people in these playoffs, but they're up against one of the best teams in not only the East, but arguably the entire league. Hershey's offensive prowess will give them the advantage in this incredibly even series, and buy them a ticket to the Calder Cup finals. Hershey Bears win 4-2.
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
Tucson Roadrunners (4) vs. Rockford Ice Hogs (2)
TucsonRoadrunners: Hamanator and Chris went and found all the Frenchies like they were Infinity Stones and have assembled a team that has turned the opposition into dust. Over 11 games, they have only lost three and are the second highest scoring team in these playoffs with 48 goals. Boily and Skillz are the two highest scoring players in the postseason, with 44 and 35 points respectively, while Killerz and Angrod have been a very reliable pairing in front of The_dominator; a goaltender that may ultimately prove to be the MVP of this series.
RockfordIceHogs: the challenges have been progressively more difficult for Krazy and Sportsgeek, but their squad has handled every challenge perfectly, with a spotless 8-0 record in this postseason. With 50 goals, they have been the most productive squad in this postseason, while allowing only 23 against. Krazy, Nick, and Goostav have been a dominant force offensively, while Jockstrap and Sportsgeek have been staples of this team's back end, appearing in each game, and will likely continue this trend as they aim to make the Calder Cup finals.
The Verdict: this series has the top 5 scorers in these playoffs, and will be an incredibly fun series to watch. It's two Cinderella stories who struggled all season and turned it on when it became important. However, Tuscson have the more complete back end that will give them the advantage as they cut the Geek's run short. Tucson Roadrunners win 4-2.
Only two more of these articles, eh? Kind of a bummer. On the other hand, you fucks have started demanding the write-up so maybe it will be a nice reprieve.
The final four of the VGAHL begin their respective conference finals tonight, and so many stories are converging into these series: will Hershey continue their dominance, or will Rochester surprise yet another top seeded team? Will Rockford complete their historic run to the finals, or will Tucson bring the heat that they've generated all postseason and explode into the Calder Cup?
Four teams are eight wins away from championship glory, and the level of intensity is going to ramp up game after game over the course of the next five nights. Players will need to bust their ass, be responsible, and play the best they have over the course of the past three months to secure their spot in history. While you've all done incredibly well thus far, don't stop there: take it one step further.
Good luck to all four teams this week, see you next Sunday for the championship edition!