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AHL Morning Skate: June 8, 2024 |

“I believe, and our team also believes, that we can beat anyone in one game,” said the Monsters coach Trent Vogelhuber he told reporters after Thursday's 3-2 win over Hershey in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Facing elimination, the Monsters proved Vogelhuber's words to be true. Now they have a chance to repeat tonight in Game 5, still up 3-1 in the series.

As he always does, Vogelhuber will continue to emphasize the flexibility of his players. In order to win the series, Cleveland will have to defeat the AHL regular season champion Bears three more times. The second-year coach, who won the Calder Cup with the Monsters in 2016, prefers to break down the mammoth task into something manageable.

“You look at the big picture, and it seems insurmountable,” Vogelhuber said. “Stick to change for change, season to season, game to game…”

The Monsters made a change to their defense in Game 4 as did the 2022 first-round pick. Denton Mateychuk made his pro debut. The Western Hockey League's defenseman of the year fits right in on a blue line that has been lacking regulars Jake Christiansen again Cole Clayton.

Coaches' message to Mateychuk?

“'Be yourself and play your game,'” he said. “'You don't have to make that special play just because you're up here. Just be yourself.'”

Five times this postseason the Admirals have been on the brink of elimination, and five times they have come away victorious, most recently in Thursday's 7-2 win over the Firebirds to cut their Western Conference finals deficit to 3-1.

“They want to continue the season,” the head coach Karl Taylor he said of his close-knit team in his post-match press conference. “There is a lot of depression in the room. This is a really strong team. They don't want it to end, so there's a level of desperation and caring that you see coming out of it.”

Taylor felt that the Admirals were able to channel their energy and passion effectively in Game 4. And after Coachella Valley's potent offense produced 12 shots in the first period, Milwaukee limited the visitors to just 13 over the final two periods. .

“We've been able to play with a certain structure, and that's balance,” Taylor added. “You can't just run.”

It means forward Phil Tomasino“I thought that as the game went on, our whole team didn't give them a centimeter.”

Only three teams in AHL history have won a best-of-seven series after trailing 3-0, but that number jumps to 18 teams who have done it after trailing 3-1.

The last team to do this feat was the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2013, the likes of Cleveland and Milwaukee lost their first three games before coming back all the way. Prior to that, the Manitoba Moose and Binghamton Senators both completed comebacks from 3-1 deficits in 2011.

The Monsters and Admirals have already broken one habit: of the last 140 teams that have gone three games to one, only 35 percent have been able to force a Game 5.

― with files from Patrick Williams

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