Coachella Valley Forces Decisive Game Five with 4-3 Win
May 3, 2023
PALM DESERT, CA. – Coachella Valley forward Alex True scored a pair of goals, including the shorthanded game-winner, as the Firebirds evened the Pacific Division Semifinal series at two games apiece with a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Eagles on Wednesday. Eagles forward Charles Hudon scored a pair of goals in the losing effort, while goaltender Jonas Johansson suffered his first loss of the postseason in net, allowing four goals on 21 shots. A winner-take-all Game Five now awaits the two teams on Friday at Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert, California.
A defensive miscue at the Colorado blue line would allow True to skate through the left-wing circle before snapping a wrister that would light the lamp and give Coachella Valley a 1-0 edge just 3:31 into the contest.
The Firebirds would again capitalize in transition, as Johansson denied a shot from Luke Henman, but the rebound would be tucked home by forward Ville Petman, pushing Coachella Valley’s lead to 2-0 at the 6:36 mark of the first period.
The Eagles would finally generate an answer when forward Ryan Wagner drove the net and snapped a loose puck into the back of the net from the top of the crease. The goal was Wagner’s second of the postseason and trimmed the deficit to 2-1 with 10:29 remaining in the opening frame.
Colorado would round out the opening 20 minutes by killing off a full, two-minute 5-on-3 power play for the Firebirds, as the Eagles would head to the first intermission still trailing, 2-1.
The second period would see the Eagles come out of the gate early and find an equalizer, as a shot from Oskar Olausson would deflect off Hudon and past Coachella Valley goaltender Joey Daccord. The goal was Hudon’s third of the playoffs and tied the game at 2-2 just 2:05 into the middle frame.
Later in the period, the Firebirds would receive their second 5-on-3 power play of the game and they would capitalize. Forward Kole Lind fielded a pass in the left-wing circle and roofed it past Johansson to give Coachella Valley a 3-2 advantage with 6:08 remaining in the second stanza.
Still trailing 3-2 as the puck dropped on the third period, Colorado would strike for the first time of the series on the power play when Hudon stationed himself on top of the crease and tipped a shot into the back of the net, tying the game at 3-3 just 2:10 into the final frame.
As time wound down in the contest, Colorado would earn its sixth power play of the night when forward Kole Lind was sent to the box for holding. The opportunity would implode when a mishandled puck at the blue line allowed True to race into the Eagles zone before beating Johansson with a backhander. The tally gave the Firebirds a 4-3 lead with only 2:32 left to play. Colorado would pull Johansson in favor of the extra attacker in the final two minutes, but would come no closer, falling by a final score of 4-3.
The Eagles outshot Coachella Valley 31-21, as Colorado finished the night going 1-for-6 on the power play and 5-for-6 on the penalty kill.
The Eagles will be back in action when they continue their Pacific Division Semifinal matchup against the Coachella Valley Firebirds with Game Five of the best-of-five series on Friday, May 5th at 8:00pm MT at Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert, California. Tickets for all home playoff games are on sale now. You can find more information by visiting ColoradoEagles.com or by calling the ticket department at (970) 686-7468.