Game 4 of the Calder Cup Finals goes down on Thursday night at the Hershey Bears host the Coachella Valley Firebirds.
The Bears found themselves down 0-2 in the series and returned home with a near must-win Game 3 which they won in OT. Coachella, meanwhile, is in their first year as an AHL team and are two wins away from winning the Calder Cup Finals.
Game 4 goes down on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET.
How to watch Hershey Bears vs Coachella Valley Firebirds
Every AHL game, including the Calder Cup playoffs, can be seen live on AHLTV at watchtheahl.com. With the Stanely Cup playoffs over, the remainder of the Calder Cup Finals can also be seen live on NHL Network.
Coachella Valley had two straight shutouts in Games 1 and 2 to take a commanding 2-0 series lead, but Joey Daccord was his normal self in an OT Game 3 loss. As mentioned, the Firebirds, the AHL affiliate of the Seattle Kraken are in their first season in the AHL.
The Hershey Bears, meanwhile, are the longest-running AHL team and are the affiliates of the Washington Capitals. The Bears are also looking for the 12th Calder Cup in franchise history.
“Going down three-nothing in the series, it’s pretty much over,” Hershey head coach Todd Nelson put bluntly. “I think we tired them out from having to play in their O-zone the whole time. We were fortunate to get the game-winner…
“That team we’re playing against never stopped and never quit. That’s a credit to them. They’re a good hockey team, but we have to make them earn their goals. I felt like at least three of the goals, it’s on us. We can’t let that happen against them.”
Although the Hershey Bears got a much-needed win, Coachella Valley Firebirds head coach Dan Bylsma wasn’t surprised by how the Bears played. Entering this series, Bylsma expected a tough seven-game series.
“It’s now a series,” Bylsma said after Game 3. “It’s on. We need to play 60 minutes like we played the 10 minutes in overtime tonight. We planned right from the start for 420 minutes of hockey. It’s a seven-game series. We’re in for a long one.
“We know we’re playing a real good Hershey team, and we expected it to be a battle. We want it to be a battle. The longer it goes, we think the better it is for us.”
X-Factor: Kole Lind is leading the AHL in scoring in these playoffs as in 22 games played, he has 7 goals and 21 assists for 28 points. When the Firebirds’ offense is clicking, he is setting up the offense and making nice passes. Coachella needs him to take over Game 4 if the Firebirds’ offense is going to click and go up 3-1 in the series.
Hershey Bears vs Coachella Valley Firebirds Game 4 Prediction
The Hershey Bears played how they usually do and got traffic in front and made life difficult for Joey Daccord who had back-to-back shutouts. The Firebirds are the better team on paper, but the Bears at home are tough to beat, which makes this game interesting.
I do expect another close and competitive game, but I like Hershey to come out strong and get an early goal to get the momentum and even this series up.
Hershey Bears 4, Coachella Valley Firebirds 2
Poll : Who do you think wins Game 4?
Coachella Valley Firebirds