Youngstown native Joseph Cecconi skates to the bench after scoring for Rochester 14 seconds into Tuesday’s game. ©2023, Tori Hartman, Hershey Bears

Rochester Amerks stay red hot, defeat Hershey in conference final opener

Seven straight victories in the Calder Cup Playoffs. Forty-one goals scored during that torrid stretch.

In Tuesday’s AHL Eastern Conference final opener, the Rochester Americans stayed red hot, pouncing on the Hershey Bears early and cruising to a 5-1 win at Giant Center.

Defenseman Joseph Cecconi, a Youngstown native, scored 14 seconds into the contest before winger Brett Murray made it 2-0 at 9:04.

Goals from defenseman Matt Bartkowski 1:42 into the second period and center Mason Jobst at 6:33 essentially sealed the win before the game hit the halfway point.

Hershey defenseman Aaron Ness broke up goalie Malcolm Subban’s shutout bid 9:42 into the third period before winger Lukas Rousek added an empty-net goal.

“I don’t think we were great tonight,” Amerks coach Seth Appert said on a Zoom call. “I thought we were pretty good.”

The Amerks have scored at least four goals in seven consecutive outings.

Captain Michael Mersch and defenseman Jeremy Davies each recorded two assists for the Buffalo Sabres’ AHL affiliate.

Jobst’s goal, his team-leading 12th point, extended his point streak to seven contests.

While rookie center Jiri Kulich’s postseason goal streak ended at six games, he earned the primary assist on Bartkowski’s tally. Murray, who added an assist, extended his point streak to four games.

Subban, who has started all nine playoff games, made 21 saves.

“Subbie was excellent when he needed to be excellent,” Appert said.

Meanwhile, winger Linus Weissbach returned from an upper-body injury that sidelined him two games and assisted on Bartkowski’s goal.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Thursday in Hershey.

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