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The Admirals are fighting for a berth in the AHL championship round. Here's what to know about the conference finals.

Left wing Egor Afanasyev has five goals and four assists through the Admirals' 10 playoff games.
Left wing Egor Afanasyev has five goals and four assists through the Admirals' 10 playoff games.

For the second straight year the Milwaukee Admirals will meet the Coachella Valley Firebirds in the American Hockey League playoffs with a berth in the championship series on the line.

Here’s a look at the teams and the seven-game series, which begins Wednesday in Thousand Palms, California.

Who are the Milwaukee Admirals and Coachella Valley Firebirds?

The Milwaukee Admirals are the top minor-league affiliate of the NHL’s Nashville Predators. They’ve been around in various forms since 1970 and are locally owned.

The Coachella Valley Firebirds came into existence last season as the expansion AHL affiliate of the Seattle Kraken, which also owns the club.

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When are the Admirals-Firebirds playoff games?

The series opens with two games at the Firebirds’ Acrisure Arena followed by a possible three at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena and then finishes with games as needed at Coachella Valley.

Wednesday, May 29: at Coachella Valley, 9 p.m. (Central)

Friday, May 31: at Coachella Valley, 9 p.m. Friday

Tuesday, June 4: at Milwaukee, 7 p.m.

Thursday, June 6: at Milwaukee, 7 p.m.

Saturday, June 8: at Milwaukee, 7 p.m., if necessary

Monday, June 10: at Coachella Valley, 9 p.m., if necessary

Wednesday, June 12: at Coachella Valley, 9 p.m., if necessary

What’s at stake in this Admirals-Firebirds series?

This is the Western Conference finals. The winner advances to meet the winner of the Eastern Conference finals series between the Hershey Bears and Cleveland Monsters for the Calder Cup.

How did the Admirals and Firebirds reach the AHL Western Conference finals?

Milwaukee managed a reverse sweep of the Texas Stars – coming back from losses in Games 1 and 2 to win a best-of-five series – in the Central Division semifinals and then beat the Grand Rapids Griffins, 3-2, in the Central Division finals.

Coachella Valley has won six straight playoff games after losing its opener in the Pacific Division semifinals to the Calgary Wranglers. The Firebirds swept the Ontario Reign in the Pacific Division finals.

In the 72-game regular season, Coachella Valley went 46-15-6-5 (regulation wins, regulation losses, overtime losses, shootout losses) to win its division and amass the most points in the conference while the Admirals went 47-22-2-1.

How much do Admirals playoff tickets cost at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena?

Tickets went on sale Tuesday, priced from $23-$51, and can be purchased through the Admirals website.

Are Admirals playoff games on TV or radio?

Admirals games can be heard on WOKY-AM (920) and on the iHeart app. Although TV games are infrequent and none were set when the series schedule was announced, watch for updates.

Have the Admirals and Firebirds met before?

The only games between the teams came in the same round last year, when the Firebirds knocked out the Admirals by winning four of six games.

Have the Admirals or Firebirds won a league championship?

The Admirals won the Calder Cup in 2003-04 and were the regular-season champions in 2019-20, when the playoffs were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coachella did not win the title in its first season but pushed Hershey to the full seven games.

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Who are Admirals players to watch?

Rookie left wing Zach L’Heureux leads the AHL in playoff scoring with eight goals and 13 points.

Left wing Egor Afanasyev’s nine points (five goals, four assists) include a hat trick in an overtime win over Grand Rapids in Game 3.

Brookfield native Troy Grosenick, who shut out Grand Rapids in the elimination game, is 4-1 in the playoffs with a 2.00 goals-against average and .924 save percentage. His goalie partner, Yaroslav Askarov, is not expected to play in this series opener due to the lower body injury that ended his night early in the Game 4 loss to the Griffins.

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Who are Firebirds players to watch?

Max McCormick, who was second on the team in scoring in the regular season and is tied in the playoffs, is a native of De Pere. He had a hat trick in Game 1 and the winning goal in Game 5 against the Admirals last season. McCormick has spent most of his 10 pro seasons in the minors but does have 94 regular-season NHL games to his credit.

No. 1 goaltender Chris Driedger was the backup last year. His goals-against average of 2.26 in the regular season ranked fourth in the AHL.

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee Admirals vs. Coachella Valley in AHL playoffs: What to know