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AHL Morning Skate: June 24, 2024 |

Even on the brink of winning a second consecutive Calder Cup, Hershey’s head coach Todd Nelson he still wants more from his players.

“We played a Coachella team that I thought tested well,” Nelson said after his team’s Game 5 victory. “We were very sloppy in the first half. That’s a credit to them because they had good sticks and they were working to stay in the top, and I expect the same in Game 6.”

But for the Bears, who recorded just two shots in the game’s first 14-plus minutes, Jimmy HuntingtonA marker with 1.3 seconds to go in the opening frame provided the needed boost.

“It wasn’t a good first half,” Nelson said, “and getting that goal right before halftime was a big goal for us.”

They will get another boost tonight as they return home after three games at Acrisure Arena.

“It will be great to go back to the Giant Center and see our fans,” said Nelson.

Andrew Poturalski you missed it recently.

Two-time Calder Cup champion with 73 points (26 goals, 47 assists) in 81 AHL playoff games – including 20 points in 18 Finals games in four championship series appearances. Winner of the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the most valuable player in the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs with Charlotte. Captain of Chicago’s 2022 title team.

Last year, he bounced back from a mid-season knee injury to join the Firebirds during the playoffs. But this spring, Coachella Valley was forced to go without Poturalski as he suffered another injury during Game 1 of the Finals 10 days ago. The two-time AHL scoring champion (2020-21, 2021-22) had 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 13 playoff games after a 51-point regular season.

“In addition to giving points, he is a winner,” the head coach Dan Bylsma he told reporters after Game 5. “He’s done it over and over again.”

But Bylsma did not indicate whether Poturalski would be an option tonight or, if necessary, in Game 7 on Wednesday.

“He’s been in the finals… he’s still in the finals right now,” Bylsma said. “Whether he gets his jersey or not, he’ll be with us. He will be part of the squad for games 6 and 7.”

With Poturalski out, the rookie forward Lleyton Road he got on the roster for Game 2 and has been there ever since. Scored a goal in Game 3.

The Calder Cup will be in the building tonight with the Bears winning one in the tournament.

The Giant Center has hosted its 19th Calder Cup Finals game since opening in 2002; only twice before has there been an opportunity to present the trophy.

In 2009, the Bears had a 3-1 series lead over the Manitoba Moose but lost Game 5 at home, sending the series back to Winnipeg. Hershey won Game 6 on the road to claim the Calder Cup.

In 2010, Hershey lost the first two games of the Finals to the Texas Stars at home before winning three in a row at Cedar Park. They won the championship in front of a franchise-record crowd in Game 6.

― with files from Patrick Williams

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