First-year Firebirds win Western Conference crown

Photo: Mike Zitek

The AHL’s newest franchise has a date with its most storied one.

AHL Rookie of the Year Tye Kartye scored twice to lift the Coachella Valley Firebirds into the Calder Cup Finals with a 4-3 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals at Acrisure Arena on Monday night.

The first-year Firebirds will host the Hershey Bears in Game 1 of the Finals on Thursday. The top development affiliate of the Seattle Kraken defeated the Admirals, four games to two, to capture the Robert W. Clarke Trophy as Western Conference champions.

Coachella Valley becomes the first team to reach the Calder Cup Finals in its inaugural season since the Texas Stars in 2010.

Alexander True and Ryker Evans scored to give the Firebirds a 2-0 lead after one period, and the Admirals cut the deficit to one on three separate occasions but never found the equalizer.

Kartye’s second goal, with 14:40 to play in regulation, held up as the game-winner. The power-play marker snapped an 0-for-18 slump for the Firebirds dating back to Game 1 of the series.

Joey Daccord finished with 29 saves on the night, preserving the Coachella Valley lead while the Firebirds were outshot 22-8 over the final two periods.

Michael McCarron, Egor Afanasyev and Kiefer Sherwood scored for the Admirals.

(Coachella Valley wins series, 4-2)
Game 1 – Thu., May 25 – COACHELLA VALLEY 6, Milwaukee 4 | Recap/Highlights
Game 2 – Sat., May 27 – COACHELLA VALLEY 5, Milwaukee 3 | Recap/Highlights
Game 3 – Mon., May 29 – MILWAUKEE 3, Coachella Valley 1 | Recap/Highlights
Game 4 – Thu., June 1 – MILWAUKEE 5, Coachella Valley 2 | Recap/Highlights
Game 5 – Sat., June 3 – Coachella Valley 2, MILWAUKEE 1 | Recap/Highlights
Game 6 – Mon., June 5 – COACHELLA VALLEY 4, Milwaukee 3