Kraken Club Continues …
With a forecheck that resembles that of the Seattle Kraken and a goalie who’s been perfect so far, the Coachella Valley Firebirds took a 2-0 series lead in the Calder Cup Final on Saturday night with a 4-0 win over the Hershey Bears.
Firebirds netminder Joey Daccord made 33 saves for his second consecutive shut-out, having made 25 in his unblemished Game-1 performance.
The only other time an AHL goalie started the final with two consecutive shut-outs was back in 1939.
Losing the first two games on the road in a series isn’t that unusual, but being blanked for 120-minutes could be particularly difficult to overcome for the Bears in terms of offensive confidence. They’ll hope the change of venue and the potential for some home ice advantage lights a fire.
Right now it’s the burning birds with all of the momentum. The Kraken affiliate playing at home at the Acrisure Arena in Coachella Valley overcame a 15-to-5 shots-on-goal disadvantage in the 1st period to score four unanswered goals in the second.
Part-time Kraken forward Jesper Froden — he played 14 games this season for the big club and had four assists — scored for the second consecutive game to get things started with the game winner at 5:08. Austin Poganski added insurance just 1:14 later. Dynamo defenseman Ryker Evans scored again, his 4th goal of the postseason, followed by Cameron Hughes with his 1st playoff goal to round out the scoring.
Lefty D-man Evans also added an assist, his 17th of the Calder Cup playoffs, giving him 21 points in the postseason. He’s third overall behind teammates Kole Lind (27) and captain Max McCormick (24) on the league leader board.
The highly touted 21-year-old prospect is proving he can score even when not playing with top-overall 2023 NHL Draft prospect Connor Bedard, a forward and Evans’s teammate on the Regina Pats in the Western Hockey League. Bedard was the Canadian Hockey League’s (CHL) top prospect, top scorer, and best player this past season with 100 points in 62 games while Evans added 61 points from the blueline.
Cats Comeback Clipped
The Florida Panthers fell short Saturday night in their attempt to pull off a second consecutive 3rd-period comeback against the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final, losing Game-4 by a score of 4-3 to fall behind in the series 3-games-to-1.
After scoring late in Game-3 and winning it in overtime on home ice 3-2, the Cats tried similar heroics but ran out of time. After cutting the Vegas lead to one goal with 14-minutes remaining they simply couldn’t find the equalizer despite a frantic final few minutes. The Panthers stormed the net in the closing seconds, only to see Vegas goalie Adin HIll make the final stop and the game end in a melee.
Roy Wants Back
In an exclusive interview with the great NHL writer Dave Stubbs, Quebec Remparts head coach Patrick Roy, fresh off a Memorial Cup championship victory in Kamloops, BC, says he wants to coach again in the NHL.
Let’s just call him a bit temperamental. Roy left the Colorado Avalanche organization abruptly in March of 2016, leaving both the head coach and vice president of hockey operations positions.
“I know I made some bad choices,” Roy told Stubbs. “I know the way I left, everything I did, could have an effect on today’s perspective on myself. I have to live with that. I know that I’ve learned from my mistakes. The past is the past but sometimes, you have to live with your past. I understand the situation.”
Roy jumped back into coaching at the major junior level in 2018-’19 and has obviously found success. He’s says he’d love to make it back to hockey’s highest level while not combining a coaching position with one in management.