AHL Morning Skate: June 6, 2024

A1-Hershey Bears vs. N1-Cleveland Monsters
Game 4 – Tonight, 7:00 ET, , NHL Network
(Hershey leads series, 3-0)

Game 1 – Thu., May 30 – HERSHEY 5, Cleveland 4 (OT) | Recap/Highlights
Game 2 – Sat., June 1 – HERSHEY 3, Cleveland 2 (OT) | Recap/Highlights
Game 3 – Tue., June 4 – Hershey 6, CLEVELAND 2 | Recap/Highlights
Game 4 – Thu., June 6 – Hershey at Cleveland, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., June 8 – Hershey at Cleveland, 7:00
*Game 6 – Mon., June 10 – Cleveland at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 12 – Cleveland at Hershey, 7:00
*if necessary... All times Eastern

GAME NOTES
Hershey is one victory away from the Richard F. Canning Trophy and its 25th trip to the Calder Cup Finals after taking a 3-0 series lead with a 6-2 win over Cleveland in Game 3 on Tuesday night... The defending Calder Cup champs are already the only franchise to reach the Finals in consecutive years this century, doing it in 2006 and 2007 and again in 2009 and 2010... Ivan Miroshnichenko (6-4-10) notched a goal and two assists in Tuesday’s victory, while Joe Snively (1-8-9), Chase Priskie (3-8-11) and Ethen Frank (8-3-11) added a goal and an assist apiece... Frank has scored a goal in each of his last six games for the Bears, and has totaled 7-8-15 in seven games against the Monsters this season... Priskie (seven games) and Garrett Roe (six) are also riding points streaks for the Bears... With his 27-save performance in Game 3, Hunter Shepard (9-1, 1.84, .927) improved to 23-7 (2.13, .918) over the last two postseasons... Eleven different skaters have scored a goal for Hershey through the first three games of this series... Alex Whelan (4-2-6) and Trey Fix-Wolansky (2-3-5) scored for Cleveland on Tuesday, tying the game at 2-2 before the Bears responded with three goals in the final 2:46 of the second period... Whelan has points in five straight games for the Monsters... Hershey was 3-for-6 on the power play in Game 3, improving to 6-for-18 (33.3 percent) in the series and 12-for-47 (25.5 percent) for the postseason... The Bears are 7-0-0 against Cleveland in 2023-24, outscoring the Monsters by a total of 36-13... Attendance at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Tuesday was 14,675, the largest crowd for a Calder Cup Playoff game since the Monsters sold out Game 4 of the Finals (19,665) in 2016... Teams are 137-3 in Calder Cup Playoff history when holding a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven series; only Rochester (1960 vs. Cleveland), Adirondack (1989 vs. Hershey) and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (2013 vs. Providence) have come back to win a series after losing the first three games.

P1-Coachella Valley Firebirds vs. C1-Milwaukee Admirals
Game 4 – Tonight, 8:00 ET,
(Coachella Valley leads series, 3-0)

Game 1 – Wed., May 29 – COACHELLA VALLEY 2, Milwaukee 1 | Recap/Highlights
Game 2 – Fri., May 31 – COACHELLA VALLEY 3, Milwaukee 1 | Recap/Highlights
Game 3 – Tue., June 4 – Coachella Valley 5, MILWAUKEE 2 | Recap/Highlights
Game 4 – Thu., June 6 – Coachella Valley at Milwaukee, 8:00
*Game 5 – Sat., June 8 – Coachella Valley at Milwaukee, 7:00
*Game 6 – Mon., June 10 – Milwaukee at Coachella Valley, 10:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 12 – Milwaukee at Coachella Valley, 10:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES
Coachella Valley is closing in on a piece of AHL history with a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals heading into Game 4 in Milwaukee tonight... The Firebirds need one more win to secure the Robert W. Clarke Trophy and become the fourth team ever to reach the Calder Cup Finals in each of their first two seasons of play, joining the Maine Mariners (1978, ’79), the Nova Scotia Voyageurs (1972, ’73) and the Syracuse Stars (1937, ’38)... Coachella Valley took a 5-2 decision from the Admirals in Game 3 on Tuesday, scoring in the opening minute for the second game in a row and eventually racing out to a 4-0 lead... It was the ninth consecutive victory for the Firebirds, and nine different players have been credited with a game-winning goal... Cale Fleury (4-3-7) notched a goal and an assist in Game 3, giving Coachella Valley nine goals from defensemen this postseason... Wisconsin native Max McCormick (5-3-8) added his first goal of the series and his team-leading fifth of the postseason... Chris Driedger (9-1, 2.08, .934) stopped 31 of 33 shots in Game 3, giving him a .961 save percentage in the series... Marc Del Gaizo (4-2-6) and Fedor Svechkov (4-4-8) scored Milwaukee’s goals on Tuesday, the fourth of the playoffs for both... Admirals forward Egor Afanasyev (5-4-9) is still looking for his first point of the series after putting up 5-2-7 in five games during the division finals against Grand Rapids... The Admirals are 0-for-11 on the power play in the series, and scoreless in their last 20 chances overall... The Firebirds have not trailed in the series, playing with the lead for 160:37 out of the 180 minutes played (89.2 percent)... The Admirals are 4-0 this postseason (all at home) when facing elimination... Today marks the 20th anniversary of Milwaukee winning the 2004 Calder Cup championship with a four-game sweep of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton... Teams are 137-3 in Calder Cup Playoff history when holding a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven series; only Rochester (1960 vs. Cleveland), Adirondack (1989 vs. Hershey) and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (2013 vs. Providence) have come back to win a series after losing the first three games.

Tuesday’s loss in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals left the Cleveland Monsters looking for answers, but head coach Trent Vogelhuber is fond of pointing out that each game in a playoff series is a new start.

The Monsters have at least one more new start in them tonight when they try to avoid elimination in Game 4 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. After back-to-back overtime losses at Hershey to begin the series, the Monsters again fought back to tie Game 3 after Hershey had taken a 2-0 lead but eventually fell, 6-2.

“We’ve got to regroup,” Vogelhuber told reporters afterward, making it a point to stress that the Monsters have to show more discipline. “The message is we’ve had an outstanding season up to this point, and whether it’s one game left or 11, whatever, we just have to play in a way that makes our season proud. You can’t go down like we did in the third [period of Game 3].

“Play for each other like you have all year.”

The Milwaukee Admirals can more than relate to Cleveland’s plight. After all, the Admirals have been in this uncomfortable position before.

Milwaukee is already 4-0 this postseason when staring down elimination, but they face their biggest challenge yet after Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to Coachella Valley in Game 3.

“All the cliches are applicable now,” head coach Karl Taylor told reporters. “We’re up against it now. As a group, I like our mettle and how strong we’ve been in dealing with elimination games. Our locker room has been really strong in these moments.

The Admirals had to overcome elimination three times in their division semifinal series against Texas, and then took the deciding Game 5 from Grand Rapids in the division finals.

“It feels pretty similar,” defenseman Marc Del Gaizo said. “We’ve been here before.”

Added Taylor, “We’re not going to be an easy out.”

With Cleveland and Milwaukee looking to extend their seasons tonight, it has been 50 years since both league semifinal series ended in sweeps.

In 1974, the Hershey swept the Baltimore Clippers in the Southern Division final, while the Providence Reds knocked out the New Haven Nighthawks in four straight in the Northern Division final.

The Bears went on to win the Calder Cup in five games.

― with files from Patrick Williams

The 2024 Stanley Cup Final gets underway on Saturday, pitting the Edmonton Oilers against the Florida Panthers... Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch was named to that post on Nov. 12 after having spent more than four years as head coach of the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack... Panthers head coach Paul Maurice is also an AHL coaching graduate; he guided the Toronto Marlies in their inaugural season in 2005-06... Florida general manager Bill Zito was GM of the Lake Erie Monsters when they won the Calder Cup in 2016.

Watch the Calder Cup Playoffs on AHLTV
Don’t miss a second on the road to the 2024 Calder Cup championship. AHLTV features live streaming of every AHL game in high definition on desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile devices, as well as OTT platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV. A subscription is just $29.99 to watch every game for the entire postseason, or just $8.99 for a day pass. Visit AHLTV.com for details.