(WGR 550) – It doesn’t matter if the Rochester Americans are playing the Syracuse Crunch, the Toronto Marlies or the Hershey Bears, they have won seven-straight Calder Cup playoff games.
This includes the rolling over the Bears on Tuesday night, 5-1, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Rochester now holds a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-seven series.
The Amerks put on an absolute clinic in how to shut down their opponent, as they gave up almost nothing to the Bears. When they did, goalie Malcolm Subban was there to stop 21-of-22 shots.
The third period was a prime example, as Rochester only gave up five shots all period.
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Right from the opening faceoff, Brett Murray got the puck up ice and into the zone to Joseph Cecconi. He used Gabriel Carlsson as a screen in front of Hunter Shepard, and it was 1-0 just 14 seconds into the game.
Before Rochester got into transition for a second goal, Subban robbed Garrett Pilon in alone.
One of Rochester’s best players in the playoffs has been defenseman Jeremy Davies. He jumped into a rush with speed, and the Bears couldn't handle him. He passed it to Michael Mersch off the post, and he relayed it immediately on the backhand to Murray for the layup goal.
In nine playoff games, Murray now has four goals and six assists for 10 points. Mersch has five goals and six assists for 11 points.
The second period saw more speed that the Bears couldn’t handle.
Jiri Kulich lost his six-game goal scoring streak on Tuesday, but he extended his point streak to seven games as he covered for Zach Metsa, who went from the right point, straight to the net. Kulich sent the puck to Matt Bartkowski, who used the screen to score.
Kulich has six goals and four assists for 10 points in seven playoff games.
About five minutes later, the Amerks' leading playoff scorer Mason Jobst was shot out of a cannon, beating three Hershey players and wristed one past Shepard that he can’t let get by him.
At that point, Hershey’s coaching staff agreed to pull him. Shepard played 33:27 and gave up four goals on 16 shots.
This was only Hershey’s second loss of the playoffs, and it’s the first time in three rounds they’ve trailed in a series.
Game 2 in Hershey is set for Thursday, with Game 3 in Rochester on Saturday night.