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AHL Morning Skate: May 6, 2024 |

Calgary's 4-3 overtime loss to Coachella Valley last night left the Firebirds even at two games of their best-of-five series, but the Wranglers' head coach. Trent Cull happy with the big picture.

“I thought we played well,” Cull told reporters after Game 2. “I thought we got better with our offense in the third quarter. We started doing things that we talked about with the O-zone play. Overall, I liked that we came from behind… I was happy with our effort. .”

Devin Shore scored the winning goal for the Firebirds at 7:54 of overtime. The Wranglers initially thought Coachella Valley might have been offside on the inbounds, or there might have been contact with the goaltender. Dustin Wolfbut Cull admitted the no-drive calls were correct.

“It was close there,” he said. “The boy's foot is raised, so I think it was going well for offside. And the player bounced the puck behind the net. I think it was a good goal.”

With the series headed to Palm Desert for the final three games, Cull sounded confident his team will be ready.

“I liked our game, and that's going to be the plan – just stick with it.”

Ontario Reign plays easy, up front Akhil Thomas he says.

Successfully, too. And now they have won one to advance to the Pacific Division Finals.

The Reign entered the Calder Cup Playoffs as one of the hottest clubs in the AHL, winning 11 of their last 13 games. 2-8-0-2 slide from Jan. 17 to Feb. 21 is a distant memory; with four wins to start the Calder Cup Playoffs, Ontario is now 23-4-0-1 since then, finding the winning formula that has made them a serious postseason threat.

“There was a part of the season where we didn't play well,” said Thomas after the team's 4-0 victory over Abbotsford yesterday in Game 2 of the Pacific Division Semifinal series. “We put everything together, and we found what works for our team.

“We are playing here, and we will continue, we are just trying to play easy. Everyone is involved, so I think it's a good kind of synergy between everything right now. “

The Grand Rapids Griffins have bigger postseason plans than a single series victory, which means the pressure on them will only increase from here.

They passed an important test yesterday, however. Trying to eliminate Rockford in Game 4 of their Central Division Semifinal series, the Griffins suffered setbacks from a season-defying IceHogs team. Rockford cut Grand Rapids' lead to 3-2 with 13:20 to play and spent the rest of the game looking for the tying goal, releasing heavy pressure on the Griffins.

But the goal Sebastian Cossa and the rest of the Griffins took that fight, and the 4-2 victory sent Grand Rapids to the division finals to face either Milwaukee or Texas. As it was, the head coach Dan Watson He is happy that his club has gone through the experience of being suspended.

“We will have to face the pressure as we continue to advance here in the play-offs,” Watson told reporters. “It's going to be tougher, and it's a good learning experience for our young guys.”

― with files from Patrick Williams

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