AHL Morning Skate: June 5, 2023

Photo: Mike Zitek

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 6 – Tonight, 10:00 ET,
(Coachella Valley leads series, 3-2)

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 2, MILWAUKEE 1 | Recap
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 Coachella Valley Firebirds are one win away from a trip to the Calder Cup Finals as they host Milwaukee in Game 6 at Acrisure Arena tonight... The Firebirds became the first team to win a game on the road this series when they edged the Admirals, 2-1, in Game 5 on Saturday... Max McCormick (12-8-20), a native of De Pere, Wis., broke a 1-1 tie with 3:17 to go in the second period, scoring what would prove to be his third game-winning goal of the series... Also playing close to home, suburban Chicago native Brogan Rafferty (1-4-5) scored his first goal in 20 career postseason contests... Joey Daccord (11-7, 2.34, .925) turned aside 25 shots to halt a two-game losing slide... It was Coachella Valley’s first win of the postseason when scoring fewer than three goals (1-6), and Milwaukee’s first loss when allowing two or fewer (6-1)... Kiefer Sherwood (3-7-10) scored for the Admirals on Saturday, his first goal since Game 4 of the division semifinals vs. Manitoba on May 5... Devin Cooley (2-1, 1.68, .942) stopped 23 of 25 shots in the loss... Milwaukee is a perfect 17-for-17 on the penalty kill since allowing a goal on the Firebirds’ first opportunity of Game 1... The team scoring first has lost each of the last three games of the series... The Admirals are 3-0 when facing elimination this postseason; Coachella Valley is 3-2 with a chance to close out a series... The Firebirds are trying to become the first team to reach the Calder Cup Finals in its inaugural season since the 2009-10 Texas Stars... 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).

The Milwaukee Admirals have been here before.

Twice they fended off elimination in their Central Division semifinal series with Manitoba. Then they did it again in Game 5 of the best-of-five division finals against Texas.

So if an elimination game is an uncomfortable spot for the Admirals, at least it is a familiar one. They will revisit that win-or-go-home pressure again tonight on the road against Coachella Valley, where they dropped the opening two games of the Western Conference Finals.

“We’ve just got to go in and win the first game,” Admirals head coach Karl Taylor said via the team website after Saturday’s 2-1 home loss in Game 5. “We’ll focus on what we can do. We’ll prep for the building, prep for what they’re going to do, and make sure we’re ready to play.”

In Game 1 at Acrisure Arena, the Admirals had a 3-2 third-period lead before the Firebirds pulled away for a 6-4 win. And in Game 2 it was a one-goal contest deep into the third period until a pair of empty-net goals sent Coachella Valley on to an eventual 5-3 victory.

“We feel we left some opportunities there the last time we played,” Taylor continued. “We lost both games, but we felt there were opportunities to win both. We’re not afraid of that building.”

― Patrick Williams

In Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night, Zach Whitecloud scored the winning goal 6:59 into the third period to send Vegas to a 5-2 victory over Florida... Whitecloud was one of three players (Nic Hague, Keegan Kolesar) in the Golden Knights lineup who had reached the Calder Cup Finals with the Chicago Wolves as Vegas prospects in 2019... AHL alumni Jonathan Marchessault, Shea Theodore, Mark Stone and Reilly Smith also scored for the Golden Knights, and Adin Hill turned aside 33 shots... Eric Staal and Anthony Duclair scored for the Panthers.

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