A heavyweight battle between the AHL’s top two clubs began with Coachella Valley grabbing a 6-3 victory over Calgary in Game 1 of their Pacific Division final series at Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday night.
Game 2 of the best-of-five battle goes Friday in Calgary.
The Wranglers (first) and Firebirds (fourth) both had top-ranked defenses during the regular season, but the series started with the teams combining for five goals in the first 8:19 of the game and Coachella Valley taking a 3-2 lead into the first intermission.
The Firebirds added goals from Kole Lind and Carsen Twarynski to chase AHL MVP Dustin Wolf at the 8:24 mark of the second period. Wolf allowed five goals on 21 shots before being relieved by Oscar Dansk.
Lind finished the night with two goals and an assist, and continues to lead the AHL in playoff scoring with 14 points in nine games. Max McCormick notched a goal and two assists and Cameron Hughes recorded four assists for Coachella Valley, which has won four of its five visits to the Saddledome this season.
Joey Daccord stopped 32 shots to pick up the win for the Firebirds, and is now 3-0 in series openers this spring.
Dryden Hunt led Calgary with a goal and an assist.
Pacific Division Finals (best-of-5)
P1-Calgary Wranglers vs. P2-Coachella Valley Firebirds
Game 1 – Thu., May 11 – Coachella Valley 6, CALGARY 3
Game 2 – Fri., May 12 – Coachella Valley at Calgary, 9:05
Game 3 – Mon., May 15 – Calgary at Coachella Valley, 10:00
*Game 4 – Wed., May 17 – Calgary at Coachella Valley, 10:00
*Game 5 – Fri., May 19 – Calgary at Coachella Valley, 10:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern