Firebirds jump out to Game 1 win over Eagles

Eddie Wittchow scored twice, Max McCormick added three points and Coachella Valley opened their Pacific Division semifinal series with a 6-2 win at Colorado on Wednesday evening.

The teams go right back at it in Game 2 of the best-of-five series on Thursday.

For Wittchow, who scored four goals in 56 regular-season games for the Firebirds, it was the first two-goal game of his AHL career.

Jimmy Schuldt broke a 1-1 tie and put Coachella Valley ahead for good late in the first period. McCormick, who played 25 games for the Eagles in 2018-19, tacked on a goal and two assists, and Jeremy McKenna set up a pair of goals on the night.

The Firebirds were without Tye Kartye in Game 1 for the first time all season; Kartye, who won the Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding rookie in 2022-23, was making his NHL debut with the Seattle Kraken 50 miles down the interstate in Denver. He scored a goal and was named the game’s first star in the Kraken’s 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.

Joey Daccord (3-1) stopped 25 of 27 shots to earn the win in net.

Mikhail Maltsev scored both goals for the Eagles. Justus Annunen (2-1) made 33 saves, taking just his second regulation of the season on home ice (13-2-5).

Pacific Division Semifinals (best-of-5)
P2-Coachella Valley Firebirds vs. P3-Colorado Eagles
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 26 – Coachella Valley 6, COLORADO 2
Game 2 – Thu., Apr. 27 – Coachella Valley at Colorado, 9:05
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 30 – Colorado at Coachella Valley, 6:00
*Game 4 – Wed., May 3 – Colorado at Coachella Valley, 10:00
*Game 5 – Fri., May 5 – Colorado at Coachella Valley, 10:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern