Perhaps lost amongst the Kraken’s recent success, the Coachella Valley Firebirds are sweltering hot. 

The Firebirds have accrued points in 13 consecutive games and have won 12 of 13 of those matchups. Coachella Valley is currently tied with the Calgary Wranglers for first place in the American Hockey League’s Pacific Division with 58 points — the Firebirds possess three games in hand. 

What’s been the secret for the Firebirds? Perhaps they are reinvigorated by a fancy new barn in Palm Desert, Acrisure Arena, which opened up just before their point streak began. The Firebirds have only dropped two games out of their first 10 in their new home rink since it opened. 

Additionally, the Firebirds’ defense has been much more stingy as of late. Coachella Valley is scoring at about the same pace since the streak began on Dec. 22, with 3.9 goals per game compared to 3.8 before; but the Firebirds are only allowing 2.07 goals per game during the 13-game point streak. That’s a swift drop from their 3.1 season average from before. 

Coachella Valley has recorded four shutouts during that period, two courtesy of Joey Daccord — including a 39-save effort against San Jose on Jan. 7 — and one belonging to Christopher Gibson. 

McCormick named AHL player of the week

During the streak, forward Max McCormick has been one of the main engines of the Kraken offense and picked up AHL Player of the Week honors after notching four goals and eight total points in three games. 

McCormick is one of the hottest players in the Kraken system right now with 10 points in his last five games. That stretch includes a hat trick in a 5-4 overtime win over Ontario last Saturday and a three-point effort in a 5-2 win over Tucson on Jan. 16 for the Firebirds’ captain. 

The 30-year-old forward is far from a prospect but has some NHL experience, including 10 games with the Kraken last year, and a wealth of AHL success under his belt. 

Wright, Winterton, Melanson settling into new squads

The three Kraken prospects that were on the move at the CHL trade deadline have each played a good chunk of games for their new respective squads. Here’s how they are faring:

  • The Sherbrooke Pheonix has raced to the top of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s (QMJHL) standings, partly due to Seattle forward prospect Jacob Melanson. Sherbrooke is now tied for first in the Western Conference and is 7-1-0 since the 19-year-old forward’s arrival, with Melanson boasting 10 goals and six assists in just eight games.
  • Shane Wright, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft is delivering for Windsor with four goals and nine points in five games played for the Spitfires. Windsor is 4-1-0 and is scoring 5.83 goals per game since Wright joined the team and has passed London in the Ontario Hockey League’s Western Conference standings. However, the Spitfires are allowing plenty of offense, too, with 4.5 goals against per game during that stretch. 
  • Kraken forward prospect Ryan Winterton, a third-round pick in 2021, started slow for the London Knights but has been solid lately with seven points in his last four games. Winterton has been held without a point in half of his contests with the Knights, but remember, he is coming off a significant shoulder injury that required surgery and could be easing back into things a bit. 

Jugnauth settling into freshman season

It’s been a difficult season for Wisconsin, with the Badgers sitting at the bottom of the Big 10 standings — sorry, @DarrenFunBrown — but Kraken defense prospect Tyson Jugnauth has carved out a nice role for himself amongst the struggles. 

A fourth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, Jugnauth is tied for second amongst Badger blueliners with eight points and appears to have solidified a spot on the power play. 

There aren’t a ton of Kraken prospects playing NCAA hockey, so Jugnauth can get lost in the shuffle, but his billing as a skilled offensive defenseman is worth monitoring. 

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