(WGR 550) – The Rochester Americans sure know how to get off the mat.
The Amerks are now 4-0 in elimination games in this year’s playoffs after beating the Bears in Hershey on Wednesday, 4-1.
Hershey still leads the Eastern Conference Finals series, 3-2, with Game 6 in Rochester on Friday.
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Game 5 saw many shifts in momentum, but Amerks goalie Malcolm Subban was brilliant for the full 60 minutes instead of just 50.
The Amerks also got a huge goal from their captain Michael Mersch, who netted Rochester's first power play goal of the series right after Hershey had cut the lead to 2-1 with a power play goal of their own.
For three games, it was Hunter Shepard who was spectacular, denying Rochester at almost every turn. In this game, though, there were two goals, including Mersch’s unscreened shot from the left circle, that he should’ve had.
Subban absolutely stood on his head for the first five minutes, as Hershey just ran over the Amerks.
Jiri Kulich finally got Rochester up ice, stepped over the blue line and wristed one past Shepard, who didn’t look ready for the shot. It was Kulich’s first goal of the series and second point.
From that point until the end of the first, it was Rochester that carried the play, not allowing a shot against for 13:33.
Hershey went back to dominating in the second period, but Subban was there, making great save after great save, stopping 16 shots.
Rochester opened the third strong, as Mason Jobst, who has really struggled in this series, did a great job with the puck, waiting for Lukas Rousek to pop open. Jobst went cross-ice with his pass, and Rousek had an open net, as both players picked up just their second points of the series.
Rochester has been strong on the penalty kill throughout this series, but Linus Weissbach took a very undisciplined penalty, and it only took seven seconds for Aliaksei Protas to tip one past Subban.
In Game 4, the Amerks caved when Hershey made it 2-1 midway through the third period.
In this game, the Amerks got stronger, and Mersch led the way with his power play goal.
Mersch is one of the few Amerks players that has been producing in this series, scoring a goal and three assists for four points in five games. Weissbach has two goals and three assists for five points.
Hershey pulled Shepard with 3:19 left, but I thought Rochester did an excellent job of blocking shots and keeping Hershey out of the prime scoring areas. Rousek’s second goal of the game went into the empty net to give Rochester a 2-1 record in Hershey during this series.
The Bears are 2-0 in Rochester.
The Amerks went 1-for-4 on the power play, making them 1-for-11 on the series. Hershey is 3-for-12 in the five games.
The Amerks did a good job of protecting the lead by getting zone time.
They outshot Hershey, 10-9, in the third period.
One of the keys in winning three in-a-row against the Syracuse Crunch was Subban was great, especially in Games 4 and 5.
The Amerks goaltender did it again facing elimination, and he’ll need another strong performance on Friday if there’s going to be a Game 7 Sunday in Hershey.