Kraken Franchise …
The Seattle Kraken’s top affiliate in Coachella Valley (California) will host Game-1 of the Calder Cup Western Conference Final on Thursday night at Acrisure Arena against the Milwaukee Admirals. The Firebirds learned of their next round opponent on Sunday when the Admirals defeated the Texas Stars 5-2 in the deciding game of the Central Division final.
Finnish forward phenom, 19-year-old Joakim Kemell scored two goals in the 1st period to lead Milwaukee.
The Firebirds advanced Friday with a 6-5 overtime win against the Calgary Wranglers in the deciding game of the Pacific Division final.
The conference final opens Thursday night with Game-2 slated for Saturday evening. The middle three games including Game-5 if necessary, will be played in Milwaukee. If the series continues, the Firebirds will have home ice for the final two matches of the series.
The winner of this best-of-7 will take on the winner of the Eastern Conference final, one that involves two traditional AHL powers. Between them, the Hershey Bears and Rochester Americans have won 17 Calder Cups. The Bears have been in continuous existence since 1938 while the Americans joined the league in 1956.
More Happy Seattle Pucks …
The Memorial Cup participants are set. Joining the host Kamloops (British Columbia) Blazers and the Western Hockey League champion Seattle Thunderbirds will be the Peterborough Petes from the Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Remparts from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
The Petes beat the London Knights in Game-6 of their playoff final 2-1 on Sunday to claim the OHL playoff championship for the tenth time.
The Remparts went the distance against the Halifax Mooseheads before winning Game-7 on Sunday by a 5-4 final. The ending was dramatic to say the least and a huge disappointment for the home fans in Nova Scotia. The Mooseheads blew a 4-3 third period lead as the their visitors from Quebec City scored twice in the final 2:08 to win it.
The round robin style tournament to crown the champion of the collective Canadian Hockey League begins this Thursday, May 25th and culminates with the Memorial Cup championship game on June 4th.
The Thunderbirds participated in the event on two previous occasions, as the hosts in 1992 and as WHL champions in 2017. They failed to reach the final both times.
More Tournament Talk …
Although some NHLers, particularly Europeans, will often jump “The Pond” and join their respective World Championship rosters after being eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, no Seattle Kraken players were invited or took the opportunity to do so. It’s rare for players who make it through the duration of two full playoff rounds to hop to their national teams anyway.
The preliminary round is nearing completion and Team USA is undefeated with their biggest Group-A challenge coming Tuesday again Sweden in Tampere, Finland. The Swedes are in second place in the group with 14 points, four behind the Americans. Teams earn three points for each regulation victory and Team USA is 6-and-0.
Switzerland is the lone undefeated team in Group-B with games being played in Riga, Latvia. Next is Czechia with 13 points followed by Canada, the defending champs, and host Latvia, both with 11 points.
Once the preliminary round wraps up, the win-or-go-home crossover quarterfinals begin, with the top seed in each group taking on the 4th place team from the other group, and with similar match-ups between the two-seeds and the three-seeds.
The semi-finals and medal games will all be played in Tampere.