Connor McMichael Scores 4th Postseason Goal, As Hershey Downs Rochester, 4-2, To Take 2-1 Series Lead

Photo: Rochester Americans

The Hershey Bears downed the Rochester Americans, 4-2 in game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals Saturday night at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York. With the win, the Bears takes a two games to one lead in the best-of-seven series and regain home ice advantage.

The Bears struck first on a long-distance bomb by defenseman Logan Day from the top of slot midway through the first period, and maintained the 1-0 lead at the first intermission. Hunter Shepard was once again sharp, right from the start.

The Bears stretched their lead to 2-0 on a power play goal from Sam Anas early in the second period. The Amerks answered less than three minutes later to cut the Bears lead in half but the Bears answered right back. Connor McMichael scored his fourth goal of the postseason to restore the two-goal lead and held the 3-1 lead at the second break.

The Amerks closed the gap to a single goal early in the third period, but Aliaksei Protas added an empty net goal in the waning moments to seal the 4-2 win.


 LINEUP

Hunter Shepard (7-2-0, 1.89 GAA, .927 sv%) got the start between the pipes for the visiting Bears. Malcolm Subban (7-3-0, 2.76 GAA, .913 sv%) got the start in goal for the Americans. The forward lines and defensive pairs for the Bears:

Mason Morelli – Henrik Borgstrom – Mike Vecchione
Joe Snively – Connor McMichael – Garrett Pilon
Aliaksei Protas – Hendrix Lapierre – Sam Anas
Beck Malenstyn – Riley Sutter – Shane Gersich

Aaron Ness – Logan Day
Gabriel Carlsson – Dylan McIlrath
Jake Massie – Lucas Johansen

Hunter Shepard
Zach Fucale

Scratches: Ethen Frank, Vincent Iorio (injury – day-to-day), Mike Sgarbossa (injury), Bobby Nardella, Henrik Rybinski, Matt Strome, Julian Napravnik, Bogdan Trineyev, Ludwig Persson, Dru Krebs, Alexander Suzdalev.

Ethen Frank was a healthy scratch. Bears head coach Todd Nelson said it was a “reset” for Frank. “Anytime you go through a tough stretch, sometimes it’s good to take a break and push the reset button, and then get back at it,” Nelson said in his pregame interview.

Frank posted 30 goals and 19 assists in 57 games played during the regular season, but has no goals and just two assists in eight games played in the 2023 postseason.


FIRST PERIOD

The Bears opened the scoring with a long distance bomb from defenseman Logan Day at the top of the slot at 11:50 of the first period. Aliaksei Protas (5), and Sam Anas (6) had the helpers.

And that was it for the first frame in Rochester. Hershey led i shots 13-8. Joe Snively and Hendrix Lapierre led all Bears in shots with two each.

Rochester was 0 for 1 on the power play while the Bears did not have a man advantage in the first period.


SECOND PERIOD

The Bears made it 2-0 on a power play goal from Sam Anas (3) at 5:36 of the middle frame. Logan Day (4) and Hendrix Lapierre (3) had the assists.

The Amerks answered less than three minutes later. Zach Metsa (1) notched Rochester’s first tally of the night at 7:57 of the middle frame. Lawrence Pilut (6) and Linus Weissbach (6) had the helpers.

But the Bears would answer right back. Lucas Johansen (3) made a nice net front feed to Connor McMichael (4) who finished five hole to give the Bears a 3-1 lead at 10:27 of the second period.

The Bears held the 3-1 lead heading into the second intermission. Rochester led in shots 12-4 in the second period and 20-17 after two periods.


THIRD PERIOD

The Amerks cut the deficit to one with a tally from Sean Malone (3) at 7:36 of the third period. Michael Mersch (7) and Brendan Warren (4) had the assists.

The Bears held the one-goal lead, primarily behind the strong play from Hunter Shepard.

Aliakei Protas added an empty net goal to make it 4-2, the final. Game 4 is set for Monday night in Rochester. Puck drop is set for 6:05 PM ET.


SHAVINGS

  • AHL box score
  • Attendance: 10,746 (Sell out)
  • Rochester led in shots 33-25.
  • Hunter Shepard stopped 31 of 33 for a .939 game save percentage.
  • Sam Anas, Logan Day and Aliaksei Protas each had a goal and an assist.
  • 501st all-time meeting between Hershey and Rochester.

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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17 Responses to Connor McMichael Scores 4th Postseason Goal, As Hershey Downs Rochester, 4-2, To Take 2-1 Series Lead

  1. Anonymous says:

    Go Bears! We’re playing hockey until July!

  2. Anonymous says:

    America scoring kinda dried up after game 1. Kudos to Bears defense and Shep Daddy.

  3. Diane Doyle says:

    Good day for the Bears

  4. Prevent Defense says:

    MSG carried the TV game for Rochester, not bad coverage. Shepard made a clutch pad save with about 5 minutes left. HER finding ways to win. Anas and Day connected for timely goal early on. Each was a total unknown to me before this season

  5. Anonymous says:

    6 more wins = 12th Calder Cup 🙌

  6. Anonymous says:

    A lot of garbage thrown on the ice by Amerks fans. Hopefully they pay the piper some how.

    • Anonymous says:

      There were a lot of questionable calls/no calls last night. Refs had officiated like they were double-parked.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I love Ethen Frank, and he’ll get his shot in training camp. But doesn’t this slump coincide with Sgarbossa injury?

    • GRin430 says:

      It just looked like Frank was not prepared for the increase in intensity in the playoffs. He could not fight his way through the tighter checking, and was getting pushed around too much.

      Not that Gersich is any bigger, but he has learned how to play tougher, to make the sacrifices to make plays. He had a couple of “effort” clears late in tonight’s game that made a difference for his team. The Bears were not getting that type of effort from Frank.

  8. GRin430 says:

    Well, the better team did not win tonight! While a few Bears played well, particularly Mikey and Protas, the Amerks really outplayed the Bears for much of the game, particularly the 3rd period. Shepard stole this game for Hershey. He was definitely the much better goaltender.

    If I was GMBM, I’d be readying a multi-year one-way contract for Shepard and shopping Lindgren. Charlie’s a great guy, but Shepard’s a better goalie, and a proven winner in tough games at the college level, and now in the AHL. And if somebody came in with a VERY enticing offer on Kuemper… I’d certainly consider taking it instead of an offer for Lindgren which would bring back much less. Of course Kuemper has a modified no-trade clause, but if a contender or up-and-coming team like Edmonton or LA or even Buffalo wanted him, I would not be surprised if he agreed to go.

    • Bears says:

      No I’m sorry. It’s playoff hockey. The better team is the one that finds a way to win when it’s not playing it’s best. It’s not always what it seems on paper. The Bears made the plays they had to to win the game and that’s all that matters. If the Americans truly outlplayed them that much the score would have shown it.

      If the Caos were smart they’d get rid of Kuemper asap. He was very underwhelming. There’s a reason Colorado let him go. They never should have traded Vitek.

    • Prevent Defense says:

      Concur w GRin430, esp goalie stuff

  9. Prevent Defense says:

    Should Hershey win its semi-final series, AND the Coachella Valley Firebirds lose to Milwaukee … then Caps and Bears fans will be treated to a visit from our old friend, Zach Sanford!

    Seems like only yesterday … Sanford was the Caps’ 2nd round (61st overall) draft choice in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Zach was a high-profile trade guy back in 2017. Caps sent Zach and another player to STL for Pheonix Copley and the immortal Kevin Shattenkirk. “Not as advertised” roared Head Coach Barry Trotz after Shattenkirk didn’t “pan out” in the playoffs, losing Sanford in the process.

    Ol’ Zach has bounced around, from WAS to STL to OTT to WIN to NSH, and finally to the AHL Milwaukee Admirals (with the Tricorn Hat on top of the Skull logo). We wish Zach well, of course, but not in the Finals against the Bears!

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Good note, Prevent. It would be nice to see Zach again. He’s a good kid, great demeanor. He lost his father and won the Cup with STL all in a short time frame.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Logan Day has very quietly become one of the better defensemen in Hershey. Just sayin.

    • Anonymous says:

      Day and Gabriel Carlsson get the unsung heroes on the blueline award for 22/23 season.

  11. Jon Sorensen says:

    Greetings folks! Just a quick note, if you haven’t done so already, please consider subscribing to NoVa Caps posts in the “subscribe” box located in the upper right corner. Thank you!

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