Cameron Hughes nets hat trick as Firebirds lose third in row on road
Cameron Hughes netted his first hat trick of the season to get the Coachella Valley Firebirds offense going again, but the AHL affiliate lost its third game in a row on the road, falling to the Henderson Silver Knights 7-4 on Friday night.
The Silver Knights scored three times in the opening period, but Hughes netted his first goal of the game at 8:49. The assists on Hughes’ 13th of the year belonged to Austin Poganski and Jimmy Schuldt.
Coming off back-to-back losses in Texas where the Firebirds only scored one goal in each game, they got on the board again when Max McCormick made it a one-goal game on a feed from Luke Henman that sprung the Firebirds captain into the offensive zone. McCormick’s goal was his 25th of the season and his 60th point. Eddie Wittchow recorded the secondary assist at 3:18.
Henderson strung together three goals in a span of 3:04 to expand its lead to 6-2 halfway through the second period. Following the fifth goal, goaltender Christopher Gibson was replaced by Chris Driedger.
Hughes scored his second goal of the game on a wrist shot to pull his team within three at the 12:24 mark of the middle frame. Poganski once again earned a helper while Ryker Evans picked up his 40th point of the season on the secondary assist.
More than halfway into the third period, Hughes lifted a backhander past Patera to secure the hat trick. McCormick and Brogan Rafferty teamed up to feed Hughes for Coachella Valley’s fifth hat trick of the season (Kartye, McCormick, Froden, Lind (twice), pulling the Firebirds within two.
Gage Quinney’s empty net goal with 10 seconds remaining sealed the victory for the Silver Knights.
Following the loss, Coachella Valley is now 41-14-4-2 and has dropped three consecutive games in regulation for the first time this season. The Firebirds’ powerplay went 0-for-4 and the penalty kill finished 5-for-6.
The Firebirds return home against Henderson for a 6 p.m. game Saturday with the Stanley Cup present in Acrisure Arena. Coachella Valley then hosts Bakersfield at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: AHL hockey: Cameron Hughes nets hat trick as Firebirds lose third in row on road