Hockey News

AHL Morning Skate: June 22, 2024 |

Nick Leivermann made his playoff debut in Game 4, the 10th different defenseman employed by a Bears head coach Todd Nelson this postseason.

A seventh-round draft pick by Colorado in 2017, Leivermann played five seasons at the University of Notre Dame before signing an AHL contract with Hershey last summer. He served as team captain for the Fighting Irish in 2022-23 and spent most of this season with South Carolina of the ECHL, playing just three regular season games in the AHL.

Leivermann played well in pairing with the veteran captain Dylan McIlrath in Thursday’s win.

“He did a great job,” Nelson said of Leivermann, who hadn’t played a game since South Carolina’s season ended in April. “He is a person who can slide well, move the puck well. After not playing for a few months, he came into a tough situation and had a strong game.”

Another captain Aaron Nesswho missed the last eight games due to injury, took pre-game tests before Game 4.

Coach of the Firebirds Dan Bylsma summed up the Bears in his postgame press availability Thursday: “They’re a competitive team.”

So it was no surprise that Hershey came through when they needed it most, tying the series at 2-2.

“They brought the speed and the lead early and locked us in,” Bylsma said. “It’s not true that we got the puck out, and it led to their good play. We expected it. We got it. They were very good. That was their best game of the series so far.

“It was a difficult time for them, and they brought us.”

Now it’s up to the Firebirds to bounce back tonight before the series returns to Hershey, where they will need to win at least once to claim the Calder Cup. A loss tonight, would force the Firebirds to take both games at the Giant Center.

“It’s a big game,” Bylsma said of Game 5. “Two teams trying to run for four wins. We expect it to run every 420 minutes. There is give-and-take. There are punches thrown here and there. They would take their rails and bring it to us sometimes.

“For us to win four, someone will have to get the third, that is coming [tonight].”

After setting the all-time playoff record in 2023, the AHL will break that mark tonight with another expected crowd at Acrisure Arena for Game 5.

Last year, AHL teams drew 551,138 fans to 85 postseason games, the most since the league began keeping attendance statistics in 1962-63. Tonight will be the 81st game of the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs.

The postseason average of 6,861 fans per game (so far) is also a league record, as is the total of over 7.3 million fans between the regular season and playoffs combined.

― with files from Patrick Williams

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button