Coachella Valley Firebirds start Pride weekend in dominant fashion – Desert Sun


The Coachella Valley Firebirds continued their winning ways, kicking off their inaugural Pride weekend in dominating fashion Saturday evening at Acrisure Arena.

The Firebirds have had the San Jose Barracuda’s number all season, and Saturday was no different. They scored twice in the first period to go up 2-0 and then never looked back, posting a shutout and finishing with a 4-0 victory in front of 8,124 fans at Acrisure Arena.

It was the seventh win in a row for the Firebirds and their 10th win in 11 games. Coachella Valley is now 22-6-3 on the season and grabbed sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division. Calgary, who was tied with them, did not play Saturday. In that stretch, Coachella Valley has outscored its opponents 45-21.

“It feels really good. We all know we have a good team,” said Alexander True, who scored in the victory and also had an assist. “We still have to remember to compete hard every night, but it feels really good.”

The Barracuda, an affiliate of the San Jose Sharks, have struggled against the Firebirds this season, losing all four of their matchups. The dominance by Coachella Valley may be why there seemed to be some animosity between the two squads as a fight and multiple other scuffles broke out during the course of the game.

“The team played great tonight,” said Joey Daccord, who didn’t allow a score while in the net. “We came out and really executed our gameplan right from the start. As the game went on, they got a couple chances, but for the most part we played the way we wanted to. Any time you score four and give up none, you’re pretty happy with the results.”

The Coachella Valley continues to overwhelm the Firebirds with support, and it does not go unnoticed by the team.

“It’s been really cool,” said Daccord. “Right from the start, we were disappointed in a sense that we had to play so many games away from home, but now that we kind of have this homecoming we really put an emphasis on us bringing our best effort every night to really show the valley how much we appreciate them and their support and how much we really want to create this hockey culture down here.

“To win so many of our first games at home has been really cool,” he said. “The support has been awesome.”

Despite the continued dominance over the Barracuda, head coach Dan Bylsma knows that they are a tough win.

“Each night we play seems like a tough test,” said Bylsma. “We’ve played this team a couple of times recently, and their record doesn’t resemble the tough test that they are. They’re aggressive, they’re physical, and they’re all over you on the ice. It was good to see our guys come out on the positive end of that test.”

For the first day of Pride weekend at Acrisure Arena, the Firebirds donned special Pride jerseys. The base of their Pride jerseys was white while the Firebirds logo, the outline of the numbers, and stripes at the edges of the jersey were adorned in Pride colors. The phrase “Rising Together” was also written in light blue on the back of the jersey.

The jerseys will be worn again for Sunday’s home game against Ontario and will be available for an online auction using the DASH Auction app. Proceeds from the online jersey auction will benefit youth LGBTQ+ organizations in the Coachella Valley.

The ceremonial dropping of the puck at the start of the game was handled by Asher Bisgaard of Palm Springs Pride. Asher is the youngest volunteer for Palm Springs Pride 2022. Bisgaard volunteered in entertainment/hospitality during the recent Palm Springs Pride Festival and marched in the parade with their school Gay-Straight Alliance club in 2021 and 2022. 

The goals

1-0 Firebirds: The first goal was scored by Brogan Rafferty five minutes into the first period. He got open on the left side of the goal and scored on a one-timer. Assists were credited to Ryker Evans and Max McCormick.

2-0 Firebirds: Alexander True scored the Firebirds’ second goal in the middle of the first period off of a power play. Cameron Hughes came open around the right side of the net and took a shot. True got his stick on the puck and snuck it in for a score. Assists were credited to Cameron Hughes and Brogan Rafferty.

3-0 Firebirds: The third goal came halfway through the second period. Kole Lind stole the puck from a defender in Barracuda territory, and after a couple passes it ended up in Cameron Hughes’ hands, who scored on the left side of the net. Assists were credited to Kole Lind and Alexander True.

4-0 Firebirds: The fourth goal of the game came courtesy of Carson Twarynski early in the third period. Assists were credited to Matt Tennyson and Luke Henman.

Desert Sun Firebirds Player of the Game

Joey Daccord: Daccord was in the net for the Firebirds all game. Despite the Barracuda outshooting the Firebirds with 39 shots, Accord did not let a single score through, securing the shutout.

Ice nuggets

Pride in full effect: The packed Acrisure Arena crowd showed support for the LGBTQ+ community all night. Fans received Coachella Valley Firebirds flags adorned in pride colors that were waved all over the arena throughout the game to go along with all of the other Pride festivities.

Dominance over the Barracuda: The Firebirds are now 4-0 all time against the San Jose Barracuda. They have outscored them 21-4 and shut them out twice in the four meetings.

Little Firebirds: A whole corner of the stadium was filled with kids who were bussed in from the Palm Springs Unified School District, and they appeared to have a blast all night. They were the loudest cheers in the stadium, and it put a smile on the players’ faces.

“It’s the best,” said Daccord. “When you come out for warm ups and all the kids were filling up sections, being supportive, waving flags, and chanting ‘Lets go Firebirds,’ it’s really cool. You know, you’re those kids growing up. I remember looking at older players and wanting to be out on the ice. So to be able to be

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