Seattle Kraken AHL Affiliate battles for Calder Cup Trophy crown against familiar foe

Last year, the Seattle Kraken American Hockey League Affiliate, the Coachella Valley Firebirds in their first year of existence made it to the Calder Cup Final only to lose in Game 7 overtime to the Hershey Bears.

How fitting the Firebirds would make their way back to the Calder Cup Final and the adversary that awaits them, the same Hershey Bears.

Coachella Valley made the Calder Cup Final only losing two games en route to the Final. In the first round they survived the Calgary Wranglers winning the best of five in four games. The second round saw a sweep of the Ontario Reign in three games. The Western Conference Final saw a rematch of the previous year’s WCF with the Firebirds facing the Milwaukee Admirals, with Coachella Valley winning the best of seven in five games.

The Firebirds are led by Max McCormick who finished fourth in the AHL for goals with 32. Kole Lind accounted for 17 goals and 48 assists. The Firebirds goaltender Chris Driedger boasts a goals against average of 2.31 and a 92.7% save percentage.

Other scoring stars for the Firebirds include forwards Cameron Hughes (25G 32A) Andrew Poturalski (15G 36A). The Firebirds also have a strong blue line with NHL veteran Connor Carrick (9G 25A) and Cale Fleury (7G 29A). Coming off of injury, the Kraken’s first round draft pick, Shane Wright is on the verge of being ready to play, after missing a significant portion of the playoffs.

Hershey nearly squandered a 3-0 series lead against the Cleveland Monsters, winning game 7 in overtime thanks to Garrett Roe. The Hershey Bears are led by their goaltender Hunter Shepard with a goals against average of 2.16 and a 92% save percentage.

Game 1 will ensue Friday night in Hershey, the start of a 2-3-2 format with one day off between each game.

For Coachella Valley, this will mark the final series for head coach Dan Bylsma who will head to Seattle to coach the Kraken.

For a young franchise the Firebirds look to add a Calder Cup Championship in their brief history.

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