Calder Cup Finals Game 2 live: Firebirds beat Hershey Bears 4-0 for 2-0 series lead

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Well, after a scintillating performance in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals, what will the Coachella Valley Firebirds do for an encore Saturday night?

The puck has dropped on Game 2 between the Firebirds and Hershey Bears at Acrisure Arena.

In Thursday's opener, the Firebirds shut out the Bears 5-0 to earn the all-important first win in the best-of-seven series.

But how dominant was the Firebirds' effort in Game 1? It was the most lopsided performance in more than a half century. Consider, the Firebirds’ five-goal margin of victory was the largest in a Calder Cup Finals opening game since 1967, when the Pittsburgh Hornets defeated the Rochester Americans, 7-1.

Check back here for updates on tickets, fans, the atmosphere at the arena and live game updates throughout the day.

More: Firebirds were both lucky and good in lopsided Calder Cup win over Hershey

Calder Cup Finals: Firebirds 4, Hershey Bears 0 (Final)

That's a wrap. The Firebirds will head east to Pennsylvania with a 2-0 series lead after dismantling the Hershey Bears on Saturday night.

That marks back-to-back playoff shutouts for the Firebirds.

Calder Cup Finals: Firebirds 4, Hershey Bears 0 (end 2nd period)

Jesper Froden scored the game's first goal on assists by Cameron Hughes and Alexander True about five minutes into the second period. The Firebirds, who scored on a power play, have won each of their last seven games when they've converted on a power play.

Before fans could get back into their seats, Coachella Valley took a 2-0 lead when Austin Poganski scored his first playoff goal about 90 seconds later. Shane Wright and Ryker Evans had assists.

Ryker Evans scored to give the Firebirds a 3-0 lead with about 8 minutes remaining in period two. Max McCormick assisted along with Andrew Poturalski.

Cameron Hughes gave the Firebirds a 4-0 lead with his first playoff goal. The score came with about 2 minutes remaining. Goalie Joey Daccord was credited with the assist, meaning he now has more assists in the Calder Cup Finals than goals allowed.

Hughes' goal was a beauty as he split four Hershey defenders on his way to the power play goal.

Coachella Valley outshot Hershey 13-8 in the second period.

Calder Cup Finals: First-period Firebirds trends

The Firebirds are 9-0 this postseason when leading at the first intermission. They are 4-7 in games when they did not lead after one period.

Calder Cup Finals: Firebirds 0, Hershey Bears 0 (after 1st period)

The Coachella Valley Firebirds are happy to get out of the first period. Hershey outshot Coachella Valley 15-5 but the game remained scoreless. That marks four consecutive periods without a goal in the Calder Cup Finals.

The first period has already been marked by at least six nifty saves by Firebirds goalie Joey Daccord.

Coachella Valley goaltender Joey Daccord (35) makes a stop as Hershey forward Beck Malenstyn (13) slides down onto the ice during the first period of Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals at Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert, Calif., Saturday, June 10, 2023.
Coachella Valley goaltender Joey Daccord (35) makes a stop as Hershey forward Beck Malenstyn (13) slides down onto the ice during the first period of Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals at Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert, Calif., Saturday, June 10, 2023.

Calder Cup Finals: First period begins

Another sellout crowd is at full throttle as the opening puck drops on Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals between the Firebirds and Hershey Bears.

A quick check of  the Acrisure Arena box office website about 15 minutes before the puck drop showed a handful of tickets available (mostly resale) with prices ranging from $110 to $176. Most were located in the Premium Club area.

Coachella Valley forward John Hayden (15) takes a shot during warmups before Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals at Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert, Calif., Saturday, June 10, 2023.
Coachella Valley forward John Hayden (15) takes a shot during warmups before Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals at Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert, Calif., Saturday, June 10, 2023.

Calder Cup Finals: Don't sleep on Game 2

The oldest franchise in AHL history, the Hershey Bears know what Game 2 means. They have gone 3-0 this postseason in Game 2 of a series, including a bounce-back win in the Eastern Conference Final against Rochester after losing Game 1 5-1. The Bears are also a perfect 3-0 this postseason following a loss.

“They’re a good hockey team,” Hershey head coach Todd Nelson said, “and so if we play sloppy like we did (in Game 1), it’s not going to work out.”

Meanwhile, the Firebirds have struggled in Game 2 this postseason, going 1-3 in their previous four series. Coachella Valley lost the second game of each of its first three series, each time losing a one-goal game, falling 4-3 to Tucson, 3-2 to Colorado and 3-2 to Calgary. In the Western Conference Final against Milwaukee, the Firebirds broke that streak winning Game 2 5-3.

Calder Cup Finals: Kept off the scoreboard

Firebirds goalie Joey Daccord picked up his second postseason shutout in 20 games on Thursday night against the Bears. The Firebirds recorded six shutouts during the regular season.

While the Firebirds improved to 13-7 in the playoffs, they understand they can't rest on their laurels on Saturday.

“We can’t let the scoreboard and the success that we had in Game 1 dictate how we’re going to come out Game 2,” Firebirds head coach Dan Bylsma said.

Added Daccord: “We’re happy with how we played and we’ll enjoy (it). But it’s right back to work, and I think we all expect that they’re going to bring a better game next game. They’re down, so they’re going to be desperate, and we need to match that desperation.”

Jesper Froden (#28) skates down the ice with the puck during the AHL Calder Cup Finals game between the Coachella Valley Firebirds and the Hershey Bears at Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert, CA on June 8, 2023.
Jesper Froden (#28) skates down the ice with the puck during the AHL Calder Cup Finals game between the Coachella Valley Firebirds and the Hershey Bears at Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert, CA on June 8, 2023.

Calder Cup Finals: Secret to Firebirds' success

The Coachella Valley Firebirds have won Game 1 in each of their five series this postseason, so it's no wonder they are still alive in the postseason and playing for a championship.

In Calder Cup Finals history, the Game 1 winner has won the series 63 of 84 times (75.0 percent).

Calder Cup Finals: Next 3 games on television

If you don't have a ticket to Saturday night's Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals series between the Firebirds and Hershey Bears at Acrisure Arena, you can watch from your living room.

Game 2 will be televised on Saturday on the CW Channel 5. Coverage starts at 6:30 p.m., puck drop is at 7 p.m.

The series then shifts to Pennsylvania for at least Game 3 and 4, and those will be broadcast locally in the Coachella Valley.

Game 3 is Tuesday, June 13 and can be seen on FOX Channel 11. Coverage starts at 3:30 p.m. Game 4 is Thursday, June 15 and will be broadcast again on FOX Channel 11. Coverage starts at 3:30 p.m.

Calder Cup Finals: What comes next?

Both teams now fly east to Pennsylvania for Game 3 at 4 p.m. PT on Tuesday. Here's the rest of the schedule:

Game 3: Tue., June 13 – Coachella Valley at Hershey, 4 p.m. Pacific

Game 4: Thu., June 15 – Coachella Valley at Hershey, 4 p.m. Pacific

Game 5: Sat., June 17 – Coachella Valley at Hershey, 4 p.m. Pacific*

Game 6: Mon., June 19 – Hershey at Coachella Valley, 7 p.m. Pacific *

Game 7: Wed., June 21 – Hershey at Coachella Valley, 7 p.m. Pacific *

*if necessary

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: AHL Calder Cup Finals Game 2 live updates: Firebirds vs. Hershey Bears