There was a slight setback in the efforts of the Seattle Kraken’s AHL affiliate Coachella Valley Firebirds when they lost Game-3 of the Calder Cup Final on Tuesday night 5-4 in overtime. Yet it doesn’t necessarily feel that bad.
Yes, the Hershey Bears jumped back into the series with the win, trailing the Firebirds 2-games-to-1, but the Kraken’s minor league brothers seemed to dominate play — I don’t have the final count on Grade-A scoring chances –, they out-shot the Bears 37-30, and were a goalpost away from going up 3-nothing in the series.
Top prospect D-man Ryker Evans ripped a shot off the iron midway through OT that almost caromed in anyway.
They hit another post late in the 2nd period, they piled up the chances and seemed to overwhelm the Bears at times with the forecheck. Very reminiscent of the Seattle Kraken this past season.
Firebirds and occasional Kraken goalie Joey Daccord proved to be human. After shutting out Hershey in Games 1 and 2 of the Final, the first AHL goalie to do so in 84 years, the Coachella Valley keeper gave up a few. The Bears opened the scoring in the 1st-period and took a 3-1 lead into the 3rd.
The Firebirds said “hold on a second” and stormed back to tie things up 4-4 and force overtime. Cameron Hughes scored the third and fourth goals for ‘The Valley’.
Six Sutter brothers from Viking, Alberta played in the NHL. Two of them were twins, Ron and Rich. Ron’s son Riley scored the game winner in OT at 13:34 for the Bears.
Game-4 is Thursday night at the Giant Center (it’s named after a grocery chain) in Hershey.
A Kraken Good Business
Hey, similar to the Kraken, the Firebirds, and the Bears for that matter, both have been enjoying sell-out playoff crowds. There were 10,000-plus at the game in Hershey on Tuesday night. The Bears just guaranteed themselves two more nights of that, as they host the next two games of the series.
If the Bears win either one, then the fans in Coachella Valley will get to enjoy at least one more home date for Game-6 at Acrisure Arena, and potentially a Game-7. Now that’s great for business, but you know what, I don’t think the series is going to go that long.
I have a feeling rookie Kraken/Firebird Tye Kartye (pictured) is gonna have a big say in the next game.
Vegas Wins Stanley Cup!
Now the comparisons are reeeallly going to start. The 2017 expansion Vegas Golden Knights just won their first Stanley Cup following season number six. So Seattle Kraken … when’s our turn??
So unfair really, but you know you’re gonna hear it.
Anyhoo, the Golden Knights dominated a banged up Florida Panthers team and rolled to a 9-3 victory in Game-5 to claim the Stanley Cup. Captain Mark Stone tallied a hat trick in the win.
Jonathan Marchessault, he of 13 postseason goals (tied for 1st in Stanley Cup playoffs) and 25 points (2nd), won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff most valuable player.
Keep in mind, the Golden Knights are a big team, on average 13 pounds heavier man-for-man than the Panthers, and big on the back-end. The Kraken have a pretty hefty blueline corps as well if you’d like to start your comparisons there.
Also, while the game has become more analytical, there is no replacement in playoff hockey for those things you can’t quantify. That would be pure guts and chemistry. The Golden Knights showed both through their two-month-long battle of attrition. The perfect example of a team built on math that doesn’t possess either … the Toronto Maple Leafs. But that’s a story for another time.
Congratulations to the Vegas Golden Knights and their fans. Two groups, along with a city, that suffered through the tragedy of a mass shooting just before the start of their first season.
A half-dozen years later; pure unadulterated joy. And that’s a beautiful thing.