PALM DESERT, Calif. — The Hershey Bears have the chance to steal home-ice advantage in the Calder Cup Finals Saturday.
They'll need a big rebound performance after being blanked by the Coachella Valley Firebirds Thursday, 5-0.
It was 2-0 headed to the third period. Then, the Firebirds heated up. They scored three in a little more than 10 minutes. Coachella Valley's Joey Daccord stopped all 25 shots he faced.
Hershey went 0-3 on the power play, a stat they'll look to change Saturday.
During practice Wednesday, Bears Head Coach Todd Nelson said watching video of the game wasn't very good and he saw his team doing things on the ice they hadn't done since Christmas.
"We have to clean a lot of areas up and we have to be a lot better," Nelson said.
Bears forward Garrett Pilon agreed with his coach's assessment. He said there are things the team can correct on the ice.
"There's obviously some mental lapses and mistakes that we made as a group, you know, that's out of character for us. So I think for us it's just kind of nipping those in the bud and moving forward," Pilon said.
At Saturday's pregame morning skate, the focus was forward.
Left winger Mason Morelli echoed what his coach said Wednesday.
"We're just looking to redeem ourselves and just improve a few spots in our game, and just play hard and play simple," Morelli said.
Morelli added that the forecheck is one of the spots the Bears could improve upon Saturday.
It is still a significant opportunity to be playing in the Calder Cup Finals with a shot to win a championship.
"It's obviously very special and our older guys keep saying that. You know our leaders say you've got to cherish it. We're trying to do that, but at the same time we've got to be better and give ourselves a chance to bring that cup home," Morelli said.
- Hershey hasn't scored a Calder Cup Finals goal since game 3 vs. Lake Erie in 2016. They've been shutout for the past 162:18 of Finals play.
- Coachella Valley's Joey Daccord recorded the first game 1 shutout in the Calder Cup Finals since Hamilton’s Carey Price did it to the Bears in 2007.
- The Bears' last Calder Cup Finals game 2 win was in 2006. Tomas Fleischmann's four points (2g, 2a) led the Bears to a 6-3 victory over Milwaukee. The win tied the series, 1-1. Hershey won the series in six games.
Referees: Cody Beach (#45), Brandon Schrader (#46)
Linesmen: Ryan Jackson (#84), Dan Kelly (#98)
Where to Watch:
You can watch tonight's game on Antenna TV, which is FOX43.2 over the air.
You can also find it on Xfinity Ch. 247 and 1178, Verizon FiOS Ch. 463, Blue Ridge Ephrata Ch. 91, and Blue Ridge Newberry/Duncannon Ch. 88 in the Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York area.
The FOX43 broadcast will be simulcast on NBC Sports Washington for fans in the Washington, D.C. area.
The Bears are also hosting a watch party at Arooga's in Hummelstown. It starts at 9 p.m.