The Rochester Americans came into the Calder Cup Eastern Conference Final on a roll, winning seven games in a row and averaging nearly six goals per game.
After being shutout 2-0 in Game 2 and losing 4-2 to the Hershey Bears in Game 3 on home ice on Saturday, the Americans are facing adversity for the first time since falling behind Syracuse 2-0 in the first round and could be facing elimination if they do not win in a critical Game 4 at Blue Cross Arena on Monday.
A beauty of a first for Zach Metsa 🤩 pic.twitter.com/hSSmh0ET79
— x-Rochester Americans (@AmerksHockey) May 28, 2023
“We’ve had an incredible run, where we’ve scored a lot of goals, but this is playoff hockey.” Amerks head coach Seth Appert said on Saturday. “(Hershey’s) got a big physical team there. They’re well-coached, they’re the best defensive team in the league, so this isn’t surprising. None of this is surprising for us. This is exactly the team we thought we’d be playing and we have to score more dirty goals to be able to get to them.”
Appert was openly critical of the officiating in both losses, in which the Bears were allowed to play physically without any repercussions. Rochester had only two power plays in each game and have been reliant on special teams in the playoffs.
Savoie Having Trouble Adjusting
Buffalo Sabres prospect Matthew Savoie played in his second professional game on Saturday and went pointless in the contest. The 19-year-old ninth-overall pick scored 95 points with Winnipeg of the Western Hockey League this season and has excellent offensive skill, but has not been able to have any impact thus far.
“I think (Matthew’s) done a lot of good things, but this is a big step,” Appert said. “He’s going to be a great player, but you are still coming from junior hockey. No matter how high you’re drafted, no matter how good you are. You are not coming into just the American League, you are coming into the Conference Finals.”
Ryan Johnson (No. 23) skating with the Amerks this morning pic.twitter.com/T4dbWYjTZs
— Joe Yerdon (@JoeYerdon) May 29, 2023
Sabres 2019 first-rounder Ryan Johnson joined the club after signing a two-year entry-level contract on Saturday, but it is unknown whether the 21-year-old will get into the lineup in the near future.