Hershey, PA--- The Rochester Americans steal game five in Hershey 4-1 after a dominate 32 save performance from goaltender Malcolm Subban in front of a sold out Hershey crowd on Wednesday night.
The AHL's Eastern Conference Finals are extended to six games off the back of a huge game from Malcolm Subban. Subban and the Rochester defense were immediately under siege by the aggressive Bears offense, applying a lot of pressure and generating multiple early chances to score.
Head Coach Seth Appert on Subban's performance: "On the ice he's a relentless competitor, the guys respect him so much, because of what he's went through, how much NHL time he's had, and he never acts like he's above anything. He's one of the nicest human beings you'll ever meet, he's one best teammates you can imagine and he's got an elite work ethic... The guys love going to battle for him."
Jiri Kulich would open the goal scoring in game five off an assist from Joseph Cecconi. Both teams would battle and as we've seen all series long, it was a physical and scrappy opening 20 minutes.
The second period would see the goal scoring halt as both teams battled and killed off the penalties. Hershey was able to generate sixteen shots on goal compared to a modest eight coming back the other way. Rochester's series wide powerplay troubles would haunt them again as they went 0-2 within the first ten minutes of period two on the powerplay.
We would see some 4 on 4 hockey towards the end of period two after a tripping call on Michael Mersch and a strange embellishment penalty on Mike Vecchione. just a minute or so later Sean Malone would join Mersch in the Amerks penalty box leading to 57 seconds of 4 on 3 hockey. Rochester's defense would hold strong going into the intermission still holding a shutout in hostile territory.
Rochester would take control of this game when the lights shinned the brightest, a star contrast from game four. Lukas Rousek came out of the gates scoring a beauty of a goal off a great feed from Mason Jobst after a neutral zone turnover. With a two goal lead Rochester had some room for error which would quickly come after a Linus Weissbach roughing penalty after a bit of a controversial sequence. Dylan Mcilrath would lay a massive borderline dirty hit on Isek Rosen with no infraction called. The Weissbach penalty would come just moments later and a quick powerplay goal would be scored by Aliaksei Protas to get Hershey on the board.
Michael Mersch would score the Amerks first powerplay goal of the series at the 13:11 mark in period three. Coach Appert still wasn't totally pleased with the powerplay units performance even after finding production. "The powerplay wasn't real good tonight, but they scored. They scored when we needed them too... We needed to deliver and that was a big moment there and not surprising that the captain delivered for us."
Hershey would try to turn up the pressure after Rochester re-established the two goal lead, but they couldn't find success as the "First Star" of the night Malcolm Subban would shut the door on the Bears while getting as much support up front as you could ask for. The final three and a half minutes saw a prolonged shift in the defensive zone for Rochester but the group gave maximum effort blocking multiple shots and smothering shooting lanes after Hershey pulled goalie Hunter Sheppard who had a fine performance of his own leading to a 6 on 5 battle. Lukas Rousek would bury an empty netter to seal off an excellent performance on the road to force game six back in Rochester on Friday June 2nd.