Firebirds Dominate Game 3 with 6-2 Victory in Calder Cup Playoffs

Vince Carbonneau
June 19, 2024  (9:57)

Shane Wright in action
Photo credit: The Desert Sun

Game Notes: Firebirds Dominate Bears in Game 3

Picture this: two games with nearly identical statistics. In Game 3, the Firebirds completely controlled the game while the Bears only managed sporadic resistance, primarily due to defensive errors. This time, the Firebirds capitalized on every mistake Hershey made, punishing them thoroughly. With the Acrisure crowd buzzing, the Firebirds took control of the game from the opening six minutes when Max McCormick netted two goals, putting himself well on the way to a hat trick. The Bears were left guessing, unable to match the Firebirds' intensity and precision.
Special recognition goes to Lleyton Roed, who scored his first playoff goal in a big way. Congratulations to him! Shane Wright delivered another classic performance with a goal and two assists, including a beautiful goal where he sliced through the Bears' defense effortlessly. Wright looks ready for the big leagues, with only the Calder Cup left to conquer.
Kudos to Ryan Winterton, Cale Fleury, and Kole Lind for their exceptional play all over the ice. Their contributions were crucial to the team's success. Max McCormick completed his hat trick, a dream for many in a playoff game, making it an incredible night for him.
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With two more games at home, the Firebirds need to make them count. Home ice has been favorable, as the Coachella Valley Firebirds averaged a league-best 4.5 goals per game at Acrisure Arena heading into Game 3. They surpassed that number with a 6-2 victory in this intense matchup.
The Firebirds are now halfway to winning the Calder Cup, with the challenging third and fourth wins still ahead. Game 4 is scheduled for Thursday in the southern California desert, with a 7 p.m. puck drop.
The game began with an unusual twist for Hershey coach Todd Nelson, who faced Firebirds coach Dan Bylsma for the fourth time in the AHL's championship series. Hershey started with the wrong lineup, resulting in a delay-of-game bench penalty. Firebirds captain Max McCormick scored on the ensuing power play with assists from veteran forward Kole Lind and 2022 first-round draft pick Shane Wright, making it 1-0 just two minutes into the game.
McCormick scored twice more: at the six-minute mark of the first period on a rebound off a Wright shot, and completing his hat trick on an empty net with under two minutes left. McCormick, a new father and respected teammate, now has eight goals this postseason.
Defending Cup champ Hershey managed to climb back into the game, scoring once mid-first period and tying the game early in the second period on a power play. However, a franchise-record 23 shots on goal in the second period overwhelmed Hershey's goalie Hunter Shepard and defense.
Lleyton Roed, a college free agent signed from Bemidji State this spring, scored the Firebirds' third goal, assisted by Ryker Evans and Jacob Melanson. Roed was playing in only his second AHL game, filling in for injured alternate captain Andrew Poturalski.
As the Firebirds look ahead to Game 4, they are in a strong position, with home advantage and momentum on their side. The dream of lifting the Calder Cup is becoming more tangible with each victory.
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Firebirds Dominate Game 3 with 6-2 Victory in Calder Cup Playoffs

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