Coachella Valley Defeats Iowa Wild to Clinch First-Ever Playoff Berth
The Firebirds defeated the Iowa Wild on Wednesday night by a final score of 4-1 to clinch a spot in the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs. 7,211 were in the stands at Acrisure Arena as Max McCormick scored two goals in the Firebirds’ 39th win of the season.
After a scoreless first period, the Firebirds began the second period with a spark. Just 1:40 into the frame, Tye Kartye found defenseman Matt Tennyson speeding into the offensive zone. Tennyson blasted the puck on net and the rebound ricocheted off Wild netminder Jesper Wallstedt right to Max McCormick, who cashed in for his 23rd of the season.
Coachella Valley added to their lead at the 6:43 mark following an odd man rush into the offensive zone. Cameron Hughes brought the puck over the blueline to Kartye, who located Eddie Wittchow driving down the left wing. Wittchow ripped a shot past Wallstedt for his fourth goal of the season to make it 2-0 Firebirds.
The Firebirds extended their lead on a powerplay goal early in the third period. Matt Tennyson moved the puck to the corner for Alexander True, who found Cameron Hughes in the right circle. Hughes sniped a shot over the shoulder of Wallstedt to make it 3-0.
The Wild responded with a powerplay goal from Steven Fogarty with less than five minutes remaining and pulled their goaltender a short time later. Ville Petman and Alexander True teamed up to give Max McCormick the puck, backhanding it into the vacant cage. The empty net goal moved the score to 4-1.
Chris Driedger made 29 saves in the victory that moves Coachella Valley to 39-11-4-2. The Firebirds’ powerplay went 1-for-3 and the penalty kill finished 4-for-5
Read the game’s full box score HERE.
NEXT GAME: The Firebirds gear up for a rematch against the Iowa Wild on Friday, March 17th for St. Patrick’s Day, presented by O’Caines. Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm PT at Acrisure Arena.
Partial plans, individual tickets, and group tickets are on sale for the Firebirds’ inaugural season. For more information and to purchase your ticket plan, please visit www.cvfirebirds.com or call 760-835-8778. View the team’s full game and promotional schedule, including theme night events at www.cvfirebirds.com/schedule.