It turns out the Rochester Americans can be stopped.
Not only did they lose Thursday, ending a seven-game winning streak during the Calder Cup Playoffs, the Hershey Bears shut them out.
In beating the Amerks 2-0 at Giant Center, the Bears tied the best-of-seven AHL Eastern Conference final 1-1 and sent a strong message they won’t go away quietly.
The Amerks entered the game on a tear, having scored 41 goals during their torrid stretch. They hadn’t lost since April 22. In Game 1 on Tuesday, the Buffalo Sabres’ affiliate pounced on the Bears early and cruised to a 5-1 victory.
But on Thursday, Bears goalie Hunter Shepard, who attended Buffalo’s development camp in 2018, bounced back after getting yanked from Game 1, stopping 24 shots.
“We probably had better scoring chances tonight than we did in Game 1 or as good of chances,” Amerks coach Seth Appert said on a Zoom call. “For whatever reason, we either didn’t execute them or he made some big saves. …
“I thought he had four or five big saves at 0-0, as you’d expect an excellent goaltender like he is to do maybe after an off outing.”
Henrik Borgstrom’s power-play goal opened the scoring 16:05 into the second period before Beck Malenstyn made it 2-0 at 19:28.
The game featured the pro debut of Sabres prospect Matt Savoie, the ninth overall pick in 2022. Savoie, 19, joined the Amerks earlier this week after his junior season with the Winnipeg Ice ended.
Appert said Savoie would eventually play, and he only watched one game before receiving a look. Savoie, a natural center, mostly skated at left wing on the fourth line beside center Kohen Olischefski and other wingers.
Savoie did not register any shots on goal or take any penalties.
To make room for Savoie, Rochester scratched rookie winger Filip Cederqvist. Savoie became the eighth rookie to play for the Amerks this postseason.
Game 3 is Saturday in Rochester.