The Coachella Valley Firebirds open their inaugural season in the American Hockey League in 2022. The Firebirds are the official affiliate of the Seattle Kraken.
The Firebirds start the season on the road with games in Calgary followed by a four game series in the Seattle, WA area with games at the Kraken Community Iceplex, the practice facility for the Seattle Kraken, Angel of the Winds Arena, and Climate Pledge Arena before trudging through 16 games prior to their home ice debut on Sunday, December 18, 2022.
On October 23, 2022 the Firebirds faced off against the Abbotsford Canucks.
Goals: Firebirds (7) Canucks (4)
Shots on Goal: Firebirds (28) Canucks (28)
Saves: Firebirds #30 Booth (24) Canucks #31 Silovs (21)
In the first period the Firebirds jumped to a quick lead with an opening goal when Jimmy Schult #44 scored off the rebound after 42 seconds to start the game. The Canucks respond quickly on the power play when Yushirho Hirano #71 scored off the one-timer to notch the game at 1-1 at the 3:01 mark in the first period.
As the period progressed both teams had quality chances when Canucks Christian Wolanin #86 scored the go ahead goal. Things got knotted up when Firebirds Ty Kartye #12 immediately responded to tie the game at 2-2.
Firebird penalties continued to haunt them as the Canucks Danila Klimovich #46 takes advantage on the power play at the 13:44 mark. Once again, the Firebirds quickly responded immediately from being down to once again tie the game 3-3 on Carsen Twarynsky #18 goal from the slot.
The final two minutes of the period saw multiple chances on both ends without breaking the tie in an other wise back-and-forth first period.
The second period got off to a fast start again for the Firebirds as they scored the go ahead goal within the first minute by Jesper Froden #28 to go up 4-3. The Canucks responded in-kind minutes later to tie the game with a short handed goal by Michael Regush #72. The Firebirds kept the pressure on when John Hayden #15 notched his first of the season for the go-ahead goal to push the score 5-4. The Firebirds later extended their lead when Ryker Evans #41 found the back of the net extending the lead 6-4 at the 12 minute mark.
The final 4 minutes of the period saw solid play on both sides of the puck killing penalties and grinding out the rest of the second period with the Firebirds in command up 6-4.
The third period showed there was no love lost between these two teams. Unlike the previous two periods there were no quick goals to get things started. Both sides played a physical game not wanting to give an inch to the other. The aggressive play saw multiple penalties on both sides, but neither was able to find the back of the net.
In the final 5 minutes of play the Canucks had to create some chances to score, ultimately pulling the goalie for the extra attacker. After several attempts, the Firebirds were able to capitalize with an empty net goal by Austin Poganski #14 in the final seconds of the game capping a fireworks performance by the office for the 7-4 win. Firebirds goalie Callum Booth #30 made several key saves down the stretch stonewalling the Canucks offense claiming the win for the evening.
The Firebirds play their next game on October 28th at the Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, WA.