AHL Morning Skate: June 3, 2023

A2-Hershey Bears vs. N3-Rochester Americans
(Hershey wins series, 4-2)

Game 1 – Tue., May 23 – Rochester 5, HERSHEY 1 | Recap
Game 2 – Thu., May 25 – HERSHEY 2, Rochester 0 | Recap
Game 3 – Sat., May 27 – Hershey 4, ROCHESTER 2 | Recap
Game 4 – Mon., May 29 – Hershey 4, ROCHESTER 2 | Recap
Game 5 – Wed., May 31 – Rochester 4, HERSHEY 1 | Recap
Game 6 – Fri., June 2 – Hershey 1, ROCHESTER 0 | Recap

P2-Coachella Valley Firebirds vs. C2-Milwaukee Admirals
Game 5 – Tonight, 7:00 ET,
(Series tied, 2-2)

Game 1 – Thu., May 25 – COACHELLA VALLEY 6, Milwaukee 4 | Recap
Game 2 – Sat., May 27 – COACHELLA VALLEY 5, Milwaukee 3 | Recap
Game 3 – Mon., May 29 – MILWAUKEE 3, Coachella Valley 1 | Recap
Game 4 – Thu., June 1 – MILWAUKEE 5, Coachella Valley 2 | Recap
Game 5 – Sat., June 3 – Coachella Valley at Milwaukee, 7:00
Game 6 – Mon., June 5 – Milwaukee at Coachella Valley, 10:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 7 – Milwaukee at Coachella Valley, 10:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

The Western Conference Finals have been reduced to a best-of-three as Milwaukee hosts Coachella Valley in Game 5 this evening... The Admirals have held serve with back-to-back wins on home ice to even the series at two games apiece, squaring things with a 5-2 decision on Thursday night... Milwaukee scored three special-teams goals in Game 4, with Isaac Ratcliffe (3-1-4) and Joakim Kemell (8-1-9) converting on the power play and Michael McCarron (3-3-6) potting a shorthanded marker... Kemell’s goal was his second consecutive game-winner and fourth GWG of the postseason... Phil Tomasino (2-6-8) and Egor Afanasyev (4-6-10) added a goal and an assist each for the Admirals in Game 4... Devin Cooley (2-0, 1.50, .951) made his second straight start and turned aside 30 shots... Defensemen Jimmy Schuldt (5-2-7) and Eddie Wittchow (3-0-3) scored the Firebirds’ goals in Game 4... Joey Daccord (10-7, 2.41, .923), who made 21 saves in Thursday’s loss, is 2-4 (3.04, .905) on the road this postseason... Coachella Valley fell to 0-6 this postseason when scoring two goals or fewer; they are 10-1 when scoring three or more... Thursday was also the Firebirds’ second consecutive loss when scoring the game’s first goal; they had four regulation losses in that situation all season entering the week (39-4-4)... The Admirals are now 3-for-14 on the power play in the series and 12-for-46 (26.1 percent) overall this postseason... The Firebirds’ power play is 0-for-14 since scoring on its first opportunity of Game 1... In Calder Cup Playoff history, 141 previous best-of-seven series have been tied 2-2; the Game 5 winner has won the series 116 times (82.3 percent).

Phil Tomasino has started to heat up when the Milwaukee Admirals have needed him most.

Part of a contingent of players sent from the Nashville Predators to Milwaukee for the Calder Cup Playoffs, the 21-year forward had a quiet first two series with the Admirals in which he recorded three assists in 10 games. Now through four games against Coachella Valley in the Western Conference Finals, he has put up five points (two goals, three assists). He picked up a goal and an assist in Milwaukee’s 5-2 win in Game 4 that evened the series at two games apiece.

“I don’t think that personally I got off to the start that maybe I wanted to,” Tomasino told reporters after the win. “As the playoffs have gone on, I think my play has amped up. I think my linemates [Anthony Angello and Jimmy Huntington] and I have really been connecting, especially this round.

“Those guys are two horses on the ice. They skate hard, and they retrieve pucks.”

Tomasino divided his third pro season between Nashville and Milwaukee. He had 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) in 38 games with the Admirals while also posting 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) in 31 NHL contests. The 2019 first-round pick had spent all of last season in the NHL before being assigned to the Admirals out of training camp. When the Predators sent prospects like Tomasino back to Milwaukee last month, this kind of playoff experience is what they had hoped would be possible.

“It’s a lot of fun for our group right now, and we’re enjoying every moment of it,” Tomasino said.

― Patrick Williams

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