Firebirds Torch Wild to Snap Streak
THOUSAND PALMS, CA – Max McCormick scored twice and the Firebirds opened with three unanswered goals on their way to a 4-1 victory over the Iowa Wild on Wednesday. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for Iowa. Chris Driedger made 29 saves. Steven Fogarty scored the only goal for the Wild.
After a scoreless first period, McCormick put his team on top 1:40 into the second. Matt Tennyson blasted a shot from the point that Jesper Wallstedt saved, but McCormick put the rebound in for his 23rd goal of the year.
Five minutes later Eddie Wittchow extended the lead to two. Coachella Valley burst through the neutral zone on a 3-on-1 rush. Tye Kartye passed the puck to Wittchow, who beat Wallstedt to make it 2-0.
The Firebirds extended the lead to three when Cameron Hughes scored on the power-play 1:32 into the third. Alexander True passed the puck to Hughes near the right face-off circle, who lifted a wrist shot past Wallstedt for his 10th goal of the year.
Iowa had no answers for Driedger through the first 55 minutes, but Fogarty finally scored, delivering a power-play goal 15:09 into the third. With Wallstedt on the bench for the extra attacker, Joe Hicketts passed the puck to Marco Rossi at the left face-off circle, who fired a pass to the back door that Fogarty tipped in for his 15th goal of the year.
Iowa continued to try to pressure Coachella Valley, but McCormick delivered his second goal of the game, scoring an empty net tally with six seconds left in the contest.
Wallstedt finished with 30 saves for the Wild. Rossi had an assist giving him at least one point in five straight games. He has nine points during that span. Tennyson, True and Kartye each had two assists for the Firebirds.
The Iowa Wild (28-23-9) remain in Thousand Palms to take on Coachella Valley (39-11-6) again on Friday. The puck drops at 9:00 Iowa time.
by Robert Pannier