American Hockey League

Firebirds take Game 6, push Finals to the limit

PALM DESERT, Calif. ( … The 2022-23 American Hockey League season is down to one game.

Coachella Valley got two goals from Kole Lind and 20 saves plus an assist from Joey Daccord to defeat Hershey, 5-2, in Game 6 of the Calder Cup Finals at a sold-out Acrisure Arena on Monday night.

The AHL championship will be decided with the 12th Game 7 in Finals history, Wednesday evening in Palm Desert.

The Bears registered seven shots on goal in the first two minutes of the game and grabbed a 1-0 lead on Connor McMichael’s goal at the 1:33 mark. It was the first time in the series that the road team had scored first.

But the Firebirds responded with three goals in a span of 6:42, beginning with Max McCormick tallying his league-leading 13th goal of the postseason.

John Hayden notched his first goal of the playoffs to put Coachella Valley in front; it marked the first lead change of the series.

Cameron Hughes then scored his fourth goal of the series to give the Firebirds a 3-1 cushion at the first intermission.

Beck Malenstyn brought Hershey back within a goal early in the second period before Lind scored twice, giving him a league-best 30 points for the postseason.

Andrew Poturalski, Ville Petman and Ryker Evans tallied two assists each for Coachella Valley, which has won five times in these playoffs when facing elimination.

NOTES: This is the eighth series in Calder Cup Playoffs history in which the home team has won each of the first six games; home teams are 4-3 in the previous Game 7’s… All five Firebirds wins when facing elimination have come on home ice, by a cumulative score of 25-11… The Bears are 0-3 on the road in the Finals after going 6-0 away from home in their first three series… The Firebirds will be the first team in AHL history to play four winner-take-all games in a single postseason… Coachella Valley has won seven straight home games, scoring a total of 35 goals, and has outscored Hershey 14-2 in three games at Acrisure Arena.

P2-Coachella Valley Firebirds vs. A2-Hershey Bears
Game 1 – Thu., June 8 – COACHELLA VALLEY 5, Hershey 0 | Recap/Highlights
Game 2 – Sat., June 10 – COACHELLA VALLEY 4, Hershey 0 | Recap/Highlights
Game 3 – Tue., June 13 – HERSHEY 5, Coachella Valley 4 (OT) | Recap/Highlights
Game 4 – Thu., June 15 – HERSHEY 3, Coachella Valley 2 | Recap/Highlights
Game 5 – Sat., June 17 – HERSHEY 1, Coachella Valley 0 (OT) | Recap/Highlights
Game 6 – Mon., June 19 – COACHELLA VALLEY 5, Hershey 2
Game 7 – Wed., June 21 – Hershey at Coachella Valley, 10:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

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