AHL Morning Skate: May 31, 2023

Photo: Tori Hartman/Hershey Bears

A2-Hershey Bears vs. N3-Rochester Americans
Game 5 – Tonight, 7:00 ET,
, NBC Sports Washington, MSG Network
(Hershey leads series, 3-1)

Game 1 – Tue., May 23 – Rochester 5, HERSHEY 1 | Recap
Game 2 – Thu., May 25 – HERSHEY 2, Rochester 0 | Recap
Game 3 – Sat., May 27 – Hershey 4, ROCHESTER 2 | Recap
Game 4 – Mon., May 29 – Hershey 4, ROCHESTER 2 | Recap
Game 5 – Wed., May 31 – Rochester at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 6 – Fri., June 2 – Hershey at Rochester, 7:05
*Game 7 – Mon., June 5 – Rochester at Hershey, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

The Hershey Bears return home for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals tonight, one win away from the franchise’s 24th trip to the Calder Cup Finals... Hershey took a 3-1 series lead with a 4-2 victory in Rochester on Monday evening, scoring four times in the final 9:54 of regulation to erase a two-goal deficit... It was the third time this postseason that the Bears won a game after trailing 2-0 (Game 4 vs. Charlotte; Game 1 vs. Hartford)... Mason Morelli (5-4-9) tallied two goals and an assist in Monday’s comeback... Logan Day (3-5-8) recorded a goal and an assist for the second consecutive game, and Aliaksei Protas (4-7-11) added two assists... Hunter Shepard (9-2, 1.91, .927) stopped 20 shots, allowing two goals or fewer for the 10th time in 11 playoff starts... Linus Weissbach (3-6-9) scored both Rochester goals in Game 4, finding the net for the first time since Game 1 of the division semifinals against Syracuse... Malcolm Subban (7-5, 2.82, .910) made 32 saves as the Amerks were outshot for the first time in the series... Rochester came into the series 12-for-29 (41.4 percent) on the power play in the postseason but have gone 0-for-7 through four games against the Bears... After Monday’s comeback, Hershey is outscoring its opponents 20-5 in the third period and overtime this postseason... The Amerks are already 3-0 this postseason when facing elimination, winning three straight from Syracuse after losing the first two games of that best-of-five series... In AHL history, 18 teams have come back from 3-1 down to win a Calder Cup Playoff series; Rochester has done it three times, in 1960 (vs. Cleveland), 1992 (vs. Binghamton) and 2004 (vs. Syracuse).

P2-Coachella Valley Firebirds vs. C2-Milwaukee Admirals
Game 4 – Thursday, 8:00 ET,
(Coachella Valley leads series, 2-1)

Game 1 – Thu., May 25 – COACHELLA VALLEY 6, Milwaukee 4 | Recap
Game 2 – Sat., May 27 – COACHELLA VALLEY 5, Milwaukee 3 | Recap
Game 3 – Mon., May 29 – MILWAUKEE 3, Coachella Valley 1 | Recap
Game 4 – Thu., June 1 – Coachella Valley at Milwaukee, 8:00
Game 5 – Sat., June 3 – Coachella Valley at Milwaukee, 7:00
*Game 6 – Mon., June 5 – Milwaukee at Coachella Valley, 10:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 7 – Milwaukee at Coachella Valley, 10:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

The predicament is nothing new for the Rochester Americans.

Tonight they will fight for their season, just as they already have several times. Simply clinching a berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs required a second-half push in a back-and-forth North Division race. They fought off elimination three times against Syracuse in the teams’ division semifinal, clinching the series on the road in overtime.

Now, after a seven-game winning streak has turned into three consecutive losses against the Hershey Bears, the Amerks face elimination once again.

“Our back has been against the wall since early February,” head coach Seth Appert said via the team website before the team departed for Hershey yesterday. “Our guys have a lot of belief that we’ve answered the bell in tough moments, and we’re going to need to do so again here.”

That said, the Amerks face a difficult task going into Giant Center and will need more offense from across their lineup. Rookie Isak Rosen has gone without a point in the series, and fellow first-year standout Jiri Kulich has been held to one assist. All-Star forward Lukas Rousek has one goal. Appert has been forced to juggle his lines in a search for more offensive opportunities.

“Anybody on the ice, we need them to be the best version of themselves,” Appert said. “We need them to execute. We need them to play assertive in all situations.”

But mainly Appert sounded his customary positive tone before that bus ride south to Hershey.

“I think it’s really important to have perspective that we’re one of the last four teams playing in the American Hockey League,” Appert said. “We don’t want to be done with that, but that is an incredible feat. It’s May 30th, we’re still playing the game that we love. That is awesome. We get to wake up on this glorious sunny day and 28 of the 32 teams in the American Hockey League are offseason training or on vacation, and we get to come to the rink and practice.

“We need to keep that in mind, and that allows you to keep the negative emotions away and keep your thoughts moving forward on what’s ahead.”

― Patrick Williams

In the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Monday night, the Vegas Golden Knights advanced to the Stanley Cup Final with a 6-0 win over the Dallas Stars... William Karlsson tallied two goals and an assist; Mike Amadio and William Carrier added a goal and an assist each; and Adin Hill stopped 23 shots for his second shutout of the postseason... Vegas hosts Florida in Game 1 of the Final on Saturday.

Watch the Calder Cup Playoffs on AHLTV
Don’t miss a second on the road to the 2023 Calder Cup championship. AHLTV features live streaming of every AHL game in high definition on desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile devices, as well as OTT platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV. A subscription is just $29.99 for the entire postseason, or just $8.99 for a day pass. Visit AHLTV.com for details.