McCormick hat trick lifts Firebirds to Game 3 win

Photo: Eric Fowler

PALM DESERT, Calif. ( … Playing on home ice for the first time in 18 days, the Coachella Valley Firebirds took a 2-1 series lead in the 2024 Calder Cup Finals with a 6-2 victory over the Hershey Bears on Tuesday night.

Game 4 will be played Thursday at Acrisure Arena (10 ET/7 PT, AHLTV, NHL Network).

Firebirds captain Max McCormick scored twice in the opening 6:03 of the game, and added an empty-netter with 1:36 remaining for the first hat trick in a Calder Cup Finals game since 2009.

Hershey rallied to tie the game at 2-2 on goals by Henrik Rybinski and Alex Limoges, but Lleyton Roed’s first pro playoff goal 4:06 into the second period put Coachella Valley in front for good.

Shane Wright notched a goal and two assists and Kole Lind added two assists for the Firebirds. Chris Driedger bounced back from a Game 2 loss by stopping 22 of 24 shots in the win.

Hunter Shepard allowed five goals on 36 shots before being relieved by Clay Stevenson, who finished with five stops.

NOTES: Coachella Valley is now 7-0 at home this postseason… McCormick’s hat trick was the first in the Calder Cup Finals since Game 2 of the 2009 series, when Jason Jaffray scored three times for Manitoba in a 3-1 win over Hershey… Shots on goal were 42-24 in favor of the Firebirds, who have a 99-64 advantage in the series… Coachella Valley’s 23 shots in the second frame were the most in a Finals period since Rochester took 24 shots in the second period of Game 5 against Hartford in 2000… Attendance was 9,034 at Acrisure Arena.

(Coachella Valley leads series, 2-1)
Game 1 – Fri., June 14 – Coachella Valley 4, HERSHEY 3
Game 2 – Sun., June 16 – HERSHEY 5, Coachella Valley 2
Game 3 – Tue., June 18 – COACHELLA VALLEY 6, Hershey 2
Game 4 – Thu., June 20 – Hershey at Coachella Valley, 10:00
Game 5 – Sat., June 22 – Hershey at Coachella Valley, 9:00
*Game 6 – Mon., June 24 – Coachella Valley at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 26 – Coachella Valley at Hershey, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern