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Coachella Valley Scores Late in Third to Solidify Top Spot in Western Conference

The Coachella Valley Firebirds defeated the San Diego Gulls on Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd at Acrisure Arena by the final score of 2-1. Forward Jani Nyman scored the game-winner late in the third period to clinch the top spot in the Western Conference.

After a goalless first period, the Gulls were the first team to hit the back of the net. Drew Helleson struck 18 seconds into the second period to give San Diego the lead. The Firebirds answered a few minutes later as Cameron Hughes picked up his 25th goal of the season. Jimmy Schuldt sent the puck behind the net where Hughes grabbed it and wrapped it around into the net. Jacob Melanson earned the secondary assist on the game-tying goal.

With the game tied inside the game’s final three minutes, Connor Carrick took a wrist shot from the blue line that was tipped in front of the net by Jani Nyman for his first career American Hockey League goal. Gustav Olofsson was credited with the other assist as the Kraken’s second round draft pick in 2022 made his mark.

The Firebirds held on to pick up their 45th win of the season. Coachella Valley was outshot by San Diego 30 to 22. Ales Stezka made 29 saves to secure his 17th win of the season.

The Firebirds’ powerplay finished the game 0-for-2 and the penalty kill went 2-for-2. 

For the game’s full box score, click HERE.


The Firebirds have only two home games left in the regular season: this Wednesday, April 17th at 7 p.m. as Coachella Valley hosts the Tucson Roadrunners for a $5 Beer Night and Sunday, April 21st at 3 p.m. for Fan Appreciation Night, presented by Acrisure. All fans in attendance will receive a “Thank You Fans!” rally towel and there will be special giveaways throughout the game. Visit Ticketmaster to get your tickets now!


Join us for a Party on the Plaza this Tuesday, April 16th from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. to celebrate the Firebirds’ second consecutive trip to the Calder Cup Playoffs. Enjoy fun activities and music, shop for new merchandise, and more! It is also the first time that playoff tickets will be on sale to the gneral public! Don’t wait, get your playoff tickets before it’s too late! Tickets can be purchased at the event, by visiting Ticketmaster, or by stopping by the Ticketmaster Box Office at Acrisure Arena from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Tuesday or 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Wednesday.


Looking to enhance your experience for a Firebirds game? Upgrade any ticket for access to The Compound, the newest VIP space at Acrisure Arena offering fans access to a stunning outdoor space featuring private bar, food, exclusive Firebirds merchandise options, covered seating, firepits along with access to a variety of backyard games from putt-putt and pickleball to cornhole and bocce ball and more! Upgrade options are available at the game or by clicking HERE.

Don’t miss a moment of Coachella Valley Firebirds’ hockey! Group, Flex, and Individual tickets for remainder of the 2023-24 season are on sale now! Season Tickets Memberships for 2024-25 are also on sale! For more information on ticket options, click HERE or call 760-835-8778.

Get a jump on the 2024-25 Firebirds season with season tickets on sale now! In addition to all Firebirds home games, season ticket members will have access to the 2025 AHL All Star Classic presented by Spotlight 29, along with special events, gifts, and more! Click HERE to learn more about securing your seat for next season!

Stay up to date on the latest Firebirds’ news and info by visiting CVFirebirds.com and by following the team on social media @Firebirds.