HERSHEY, Pa. (WROC) — When the Amerks started their playoff winning streak over a month ago, they needed 14 victories to raise the Calder Cup. Their streak got them halfway to that goal, as the Amerks were held scoreless on Thursday falling 2-0 to the Hershey Bears.
The loss evens up the series at one game each heading back to Rochester on Saturday.
After getting pulled in the Game 1 loss, Hershey’s’ Hunter Shepard bounced back with a stellar performance in net, making 24 saves.
It took nearly two full periods for the Bears to score the game’s first goal. With less than four minutes remaining in the second period, Henrik Borgtrom’s point shot got through traffic and found the back of the net on the power play. Beck Malenstyn made the lead 2-0 with 32 seconds remaining in the frame as his shot snuck by the inside post.
While the result was disappointing, Amerks head coach Seth Appert was not upset with his team’s performance.
“We came out aggressive. You knew they were going to give us everything they had after losing at home,” said Appert. “We came out having an attacking mindset. We talked about it in Toronto, we talked about it today. Let’s be greedy. Let’s not be accepting of hey, we got a win on the road. And I thought for the most part we did a good job and credit to them, they found a way to beat us. I do think we probably created as many good looks as we did the night before and Shepard made a lot of big saves tonight, especially in the first 30 minutes.”
“They played a really solid game. They had a great response,” said Amerks captain Michael Mersch. “I’ve got to give them a lot of credit. They played really well tonight.”
Jiri Kulich’s point streak finally ended, as he had previously registered a point in all seven games that he’s played this postseason. He tied for the team lead with four shots.
Matt Savoie, the Sabres 2022 first-round draft pick, made his Amerks debut. Savoie did not register a shot but logged plenty of high-pressure minutes.
“It was good to get my first game under my belt,” said Savoie. “Get a little more comfortable out there, but obviously we want to come away with the win.”
“He had a really good game. His first AHL game, he was solid,” said Mersch of Savoie’s play. “He was moving well and making some good players.”
While the loss snaps their winning streak at seven games, Appert doesn’t think it will impact their focus more than any other loss.
“We didn’t even talk about the winning streak,” Appert said. “We talked about winning one game. And I don’t think we won seven in a row; really at this time of the year, we won one game seven different times. This game we’ll learn from and then we’ll move forward.”
The Amerks will return to Blue Cross Arena for Game 3 of the series and will play in front of a sold-out crowd. Puck drop is at 7:05 p.m. Game 4 is Monday at 6:05 p.m. with limited tickets available.