Bears blank Amerks to win Eastern Conference championship

Photo: Micheline Veluvolu

The Hershey Bears captured the Richard F. Canning Trophy as the American Hockey League’s Eastern Conference champions for 2022-23, claiming the title with a 1-0 victory over the Rochester Americans in Game 6 of their best-of-seven series at Blue Cross Arena tonight.

Shane Gersich scored his first goal of the postseason with 7:20 left in the second period, and Hunter Shepard made 24 saves for his second shutout of the series. With the win, Hershey improved to 6-0 on the road this postseason.

The Bears will extend their league record by making their 24th appearance in the Calder Cup Finals, where they will face the winner of the Western Conference Finals between the Coachella Valley Firebirds and the Milwaukee Admirals. That best-of-seven series is currently tied at two games apiece.

The Bears are making their sixth trip to the Calder Cup Finals since becoming the top development affiliate of the Washington Capitals in 2005-06. Led by head coach Todd Nelson, the Bears finished second in the Atlantic Division and fourth overall in the AHL during the regular season (44-19-5-4, 97 points), then defeated the Charlotte Checkers (3-1) in the division semifinals and the Hartford Wolf Pack (3-0) in the division finals before eliminating Rochester four games to two.

Established in 1990, the AHL’s Eastern Conference championship trophy honors Richard F. Canning, who served the AHL for more than 50 years during his career, including a term as league president from 1958-61. Mr. Canning is recognized as the author of the AHL’s constitution, by-laws and regulations.

(Hershey wins series, 4-2)
Game 1 – Tue., May 23 – Rochester 5, HERSHEY 1 | Recap/Highlights
Game 2 – Thu., May 25 – HERSHEY 2, Rochester 0 | Recap/Highlights
Game 3 – Sat., May 27 – Hershey 4, ROCHESTER 2 | Recap/Highlights
Game 4 – Mon., May 29 – Hershey 4, ROCHESTER 2 | Recap/Highlights
Game 5 – Wed., May 31 – Rochester 4, HERSHEY 1 | Recap/Highlights
Game 6 – Fri., June 2 – Hershey 1, ROCHESTER 0