With the playoffs upon us the Semipro franchises look to book their tickets to Colorado with one team already planning. A few weeks ago the Sertaozinho Outbackers, led by former Colorado Springs Thunder D-man Pablo Navarro, won a thrilling 5-game series over their rival Sao Jose dos Campos Aviators to take the PIHA Brazil division. All but one game were one goal battles, but after the smoke cleared the Outbackers prove to be too much.
The Appalachian and Atlantic Divisions will face off this coming weekend at ISCA in north Jersey and all series should be very competitive. The Atlantic will decide their winner Friday night as the 1st seeded Delco Gladiators will take on the New Jersey Braves and the Garden State Warriors look to dispose of the 3rd seeded Suffolk Sting. That same night the two remaining teams will battle it out for their shot at the PIHA Finals. In the Appalachian Division the Scottsdale Inferno looks to be the team to beat but they will have to get through the Pottstown Team Blue squad. The 2 vs 3 series will see the Wallington Grizzlies take on the Lancaster Typhoon. This division’s Final series is scheduled for Saturday afternoon and will place the final Atlantic Division Semipro team into the PIHA Finals.
In the West the Semipro playoffs will be held on Saturday, January 18th and will not disappoint. The North Division looks to be a battle of the Catz but both teams will need to get through tough first round opponents. The 1st seeded Westminster Catz will take on the Omaha Outlaws and the Greely Catz will face a quick Lakewood Miners squad. The South Division could be anyone’s to win but a depleted Front Range Thunder squad led the division all season and will battle the Old Colorado City Stallions. The New Mexico Venom will make the trip up to face a surprise Black Forest Thunder squad but all of these teams have a great shot at playing in late February.
It will be interesting to see who will join the Outbackers during February’s PIHA Finals as all 5 divisions will be represented and scrum to see who will take home the league’s KIHA Cup.