Coachella Valley Defeats Calgary in Five Games to Advance to Fourth Round
The Firebirds defeated the Calgary Wranglers in overtime by the final score of 6-5 on Friday night to advance to the Western Conference Final. Andrew Poturalski scored seven minutes into the extra session to crown the Firebirds as the Pacific Division Champions.
Jesper Froden started the scoring in the decisive game five, muscling the puck past Dustin Wolf at 13:28 of the first period. The goal was Froden’s first point since being assigned by the Seattle Kraken ahead of Wednesday night’s game. Kole Lind and Ryker Evans earned the assists.
Calgary drew even on a wrist shot from Kristians Rubins just 2:03 into the second period. Coachella Valley needed only 33 seconds to find the response. Ville Petman tapped home a rebound after chances from Tye Kartye and Carsen Twarynski were both denied by Wolf. The goal was Petman’s third of the postseason.
Clark Bishop pulled the Wranglers even at 6:09 on an unassisted breakaway goal at 6:09 to make it 2-2, a score that stood through the second period.
The third period featured a total of six combined goals, three for each team. The Firebirds began the scoring with a goal from Jeremy McKenna (Cameron Hughes – 2:20) to regain the lead, but it was short lived as Nick DeSimone tied the game for the Wranglers at 7:14.
Gustav Olofsson gave the Firebirds at 4-3 lead just 40 seconds later with his third goal of the playoffs. Olofsson’s point shot found its way in and was assisted by Froden and Brogan Rafferty. Jeremie Poriier found the equalizer for the Wranglers a half minute later.
The Wranglers took their first lead of the game at 13:02 of the third period on a Cole Schwindt tally and once again, the Firebirds were quick to respond. Jeremy McKenna snuck a wrist shot under the post to tie it up at 5-5 at 14:13. Luke Henman and Gustav Olofsson earned the helpers.
For the second time in the series, overtime was needed to decide the winner. After Monday’s game four needed 51 extra minutes, Friday’s game five needed just seven. Brogan Rafferty moved the puck up the ice into the offensive zone for Jesper Froden. Froden went to the top of the left circle and found Andrew Poturalski across the ice, who wired the puck top shelf to seal the series victory for Coachella Valley.
The goal was Poturalski’s first of the postseason and came in just his third game back from an injury that kept him sidelined since January 28th.
Joey Daccord made 28 saves in the series clinching win. Coachella Valley’s powerplay finished 0-for-3 and the penalty kill went 3-3. 8,972 fans were in attendance at Acrisure Arena. The Firebirds are now 4-0 in elimination games this postseason.
Read the game’s full box score HERE.
The Firebirds will face the winner of the Milwaukee Admirals vs. Texas Stars series which will play a deciding game five on Sunday. The Western Conference Finals schedule is to be announced.
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