The Rochester Americans had a two-goal lead with 10 minutes to go in the third period of a game that would even their Calder Cup Eastern Conference Final series with the Hershey Bears…..and that’s when things unraveled.
Linus Weissbach with the redirection for his second of the night! pic.twitter.com/waU6RHgULx
— x-Rochester Americans (@AmerksHockey) May 29, 2023
Linus Weissbach scored twice to give Rochester a 2-0 lead heading into the final frame, but the Bears rallied to tie the game with a pair of goals in the span of 2:05, and Mason Morelli scored the game-winner past Americans goalie Malcolm Subban with 4:33 left in regulation to give Hershey a 4-2 victory at Blue Cross Arena and a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“We just lacked composure with the puck there in some big moments.” Rochester head coach Seth Appert said after the game. “On their first two goals, we had pucks on our stick, one in the defensive zone (and) one in the offensive zone, and we made real immature decisions with it, which led to them getting chances. Unfortunately, those chances went in.”
The Bears territorially took over the game midway through the first and outshot Rochester 36-22 in the contest, but Subban held Hershey off the scoreboard with a series of acrobatic saves until midway through the third.
“Malcolm was very good. Those first 50 minutes. We put ourselves in a great spot. I liked our first 10 minutes of the third, we didn’t sit back.” Appert said. “I liked that we were staying in an attacking mindset. We didn’t sit back. I thought we had a few guys (who) made a few panicky plays with the puck or (made) immature plays with the puck and a veteran savvy team like them can make you pay for that.”
The GAME-WINNER from Mo!
🍏 Pilon pic.twitter.com/4HgLrg9CUA
— Hershey Bears (@TheHersheyBears) May 30, 2023
Amerks Offense Has Evaporated
The series turned after Hershey’s 5-1 loss in Game 1, with the Bears successfully shutting down a Rochester offense that had scored 41 goals in seven straight playoff wins. The Bears have completely shut down Rochester’s top-five scorers. In the three losses, forwards Michael Mersch, Mason Jobst, Jiri Kulich, Brett Murray, and Lukas Rousek have combined for one assist. The Americans also have been unable to draw penalties and have failed to convert on the few chances they get. In their second-round sweep of Toronto, Rochester scored seven times on 11 power play chances. Against Hershey, they have not converted on seven opportunities with the man advantage.
Buffalo Sabres top prospect Matthew Savoie was not in the lineup for Rochester in Game 4 after being ineffective in his first two games as a professional.