Rochester Downs Hershey, 4-1, Forces A Game 6 In Eastern Conference Finals; Aliaksei Protas Scores 5th Postseason Goal

Photo: Twitter: Rochester Americans

The Hershey Bears fell to the Rochester Americans, 4-1 in game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals Wednesday night at Giant Center in Hershey. With the victory, Rochester forces a game 6 on Friday in Rochester.

The Bears once again dominated possession in the early going, but once again it would be the Amerks that struck first in game 5. They held a 1-0 lead at the first intermission.

Following a scoreless middle frame, the Amerks stretched their lead to 2-0 early in the final frame, but this time the Bears would answer less than two minutes later with a power play goal from Aliaksei Protas.

Rochester added a power play goal of their own to reinstate their two-goal lead and added a late empty net goal to make it 4-1, the final.


Hunter Shepard (9-2, 1.91 GAA, .927 sv%) got the start between the pipes for the Bears. Malcolm Subban (7-5, 2.82 GAA, .910 sv%) got the start in goal for the visiting Americans. The forward lines and defensive pairs for the Bears:

Mason Morelli – Garrett Pilon – Mike Vecchione
Joe Snively – Connor McMichael – Ethen Frank
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: Henrik Borgstrom (illness), 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.


As was the case in the previous four games of the series, the Bears dominated possession and the offensive zone time in the early going, but once again, were unable to beat Subban. The Amerks subsequently notched the first goal of game 5.

Jiri Kulich (7) notched the game’s first marker at 4:43 of the initial stanza, beating Shepard with a quick shot from the top of the slot. Joseph Cecconi (3) had the lone assist.

The Amerks picked up the pace following their opening salvo, and began to control more of the possession in the remainder of the period.

The first frame concluded with the Amerks leading, 1-0. Rochester led in shots, 9-8. The Amerks were 0 for 1 on the power play while the Bears did not have a man advantage in the first 20 minutes.


The Bears dominated possession and the offensive zone time in the middle frame, but just couldn’t get one past Subban.

The Bears were awarded their first power play which ultimately became a 4-on-3 with just under two minutes to play in the period, but couldn’t dent the twine.

The period concluded with the Amerks holding the 1-0 lead. The Bears doubled-up the Amerks in shots, 16-8 in the second period and led 24-17 after 40 minutes of play. Rochester was 0 for 3 and Hershey 0 for 1 on the power play after two periods.


The Amerks stretched their lead to 2-0 early in the third period on the end of a Bears turnover in their own end. Lukas Rousek (4) potted the Amerks second goal of the game at 1:22 of the third period.

But this time the Bears would answer a little over two minutes later on the power play. Aliaksei Protas (5) redirected a shot from the point by Logan Day for the Bears first goal at 3:44 of the final frame. Logan Day (6) and Joe Snively (9) had the helpers.

Rochester reinstated their two-goal lead with a power play goal late in the third period. Michael Mersch (6) sniped for the Amerks third goal at 13:11. Linus Weissbach (7) and Lawrence Pilut (7) had the helpers.

The Amerks added a late empty net goal to make it 4-1, the final.


  • AHL box score
  • Attendance: 10,520
  • Hershey led in shots 33-27.
  • Hendrix Lapierre led all Bears in shots with 4.
  • Garrett Pilon and Mike Vecchione were both -3 in the game.
  • Rochester was 1 for 4 and Hershey 1 for 2 on the power play.
  • Hunter Shepard stopped 23 of 26 for a .884 game save percentage.

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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12 Responses to Rochester Downs Hershey, 4-1, Forces A Game 6 In Eastern Conference Finals; Aliaksei Protas Scores 5th Postseason Goal

  1. Anonymous says:

    How the Bears didn’t have six goals in that game is beyond me. It was like there was cellophane wrap on the goal.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Roger that. The Bears have started really well in each game. They need to finish on a few of those early flurries and take control right from the start. If the Bears don’t score 4 goals (a 10 min span) in 3rd period and rally for win in game 4, Rochester would be looking to close-out the series on Friday.

  2. Anonymous says:

    No problem. Finish them Friday! We own that building.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Go Bears! (still)

  4. Prevent Defense says:

    A maddening inability to score goals, even with a lasting initiative — just like the Caps

    Next game on the road. Maybe Bears won’t be squeezing their sticks quite so hard

  5. Diane Doyle says:

    This game felt like one of those games they’d lose no matter what. Dear Bears, just win in Rochester. Don’t repeat the script of the 2010 Washington Capitals.

  6. dwgie26 says:

    Couldn’t watch this game but sounds like we had lots of opportunities to score. Protas had a goal. Who were worst offenders on not scoring? Who looked good? Who looked bad?

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      The pressure for offense continues to mount for Vecchione, Snively and Frank. Nelson commented on certain players not producing, but didn’t name names.

      • Prevent Defense says:

        Lost the exact quote, but Barry Trotz new NSH GM, told assembled press the other day something like this: “I want my Drafting staff to grab players with major scoring potential, even with major risk. Third and Fourth Liners we can cobble together. Get me someone who will knock fans out of their seats.” Was also a message to new head coach Bruno. Scoring!

        Good for GM Trotz. He ascribes to the “Mike Bossy” theory. Scorers are rare. Checking and hitting can be taught. I look forward to Hershey, and the Caps, lacing up all these new fancy SKILL/SCORE players — Trineyev, Suzdalev, Miroshnichenko among some others. NovaCapsFans has the finest listing/tracking service for Caps prospects. I’m ready! So is the fan base. The Caps can’t score. The Bears can’t score. You have gunners in the system. Promote them!

  7. GRin430 says:

    I think this game goes much differently if Shepard doesn’t give up a softie early. The Amerks likely play the game much differently without the lead, and the pressure on them might have led to a few Bears goals.

    But of course that didn’t happen, so I could also fantasize that the Bears could have waved a magic wand and made Subban disappear on every shot and won 33-3.

    In any case, we still get to support some future Caps (I hope) playing some June hockey, so it’s not all bad.

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