Firebirds edge Tucson in first round of AHL Playoffs!

Photography provided by Jennthulhu on Instagram

The Coachella Valley Firebirds began their playoff push last Wednesday, and nearly a week later and a concerning Game 2 later, they stare down the barrel of their newest opponent; the Colorado Eagles after taking an all-important Game 3.

The AHL Playoff Format, before we go any further:

The Firebirds played a tight series with Tucson due to the nature of the AHL’s playoff format, which is leagues more involved than the NHL’s “Best-of-7 across the board” approach. The team in first place in a division gets the first round off, effectively, and the rest of the league gets to duke it out in a much quicker first round; it being “Best-of-3”. Home Ice advantage in these scenarios was all-important, as the team with the better record got to host it. All the Firebirds had to do was win two games.

They didn’t do it consecutively, but they did get to advance on to their newest foe with aplomb.

How the Firebirds did it:

Kole Lind’s 6-point first round:

Kole Lind leads the entire AHL playoffs (well, okay, he’s tied) in points after three games, ginning up 3 goals and 3 assists across three games; he absolutely tore through Tucson and the Firebirds were more than happy to oblige him throughout these last four games.

Joey Daccord playing out of his mind:

Daccord has had his ups and downs when playing for the Kraken, but for the Firebirds, he brought the heat.

In the small sample size of three games, he faced 104 shots, and stopped 98 of them, finishing his round with the tidy SV% of 0.942%! No shutouts, I’m afraid; but he made Coachella’s net an absolute wall through games 1 and 3.

Just Beating the f#!king brakes off of Tucson when they got the chance:

Coachella raked Tucson over the coals throughout this first round; outscoring them 13-6 over the course of 180 minutes of playoff hockey and it was only barely close once. Sure, they started very slow in Game 2, but the Firebirds recovered and forced the Roadrunners to work for it.

But that’s nothing compared to Game 3, where the Firebirds absolutely demolished Tucson in a crushing first period where they scored four times in under four minutes. Including a goal from a certain someone by the name of Shane Wright:

Combined with everything above? No real chance for the Roadrunners this year. Better luck next time.

Who’s Next?:

The Firebirds take on the Colorado Eagles next, where they now face a Best-of-5 format, giving them slightly more wiggle room, but also a much more dangerous opponent; the Eagles were right below the Firebirds in the standings all year long, and played them tight all year: splitting the season series at 2-2, with both wins coming in under a goal apart. This has the makings of a hell of a series; as they start it on the road in Loveland on Wednesday.

You can personally get a hold of them by subscribing to AHL TV, which currently features a $30 dollar “All of the Calder Cup” game package, or a $9 dollar single day subscription.

We wish the Firebirds luck as they begin the second round! And we hope the big boy club will be right alongside them!