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Bears Open Eastern Conference Finals with 5-1 Loss

May 23, 2023

The Hershey Bears (6-2) opened the Eastern Conference Finals with a 5-1 loss to the Rochester Americans (7-2) in Game 1 on Tuesday night at GIANT Center.


Rochester struck early when Joseph Cecconi beat Hunter Shepard with a wrister on the first shot of the contest to give the Americans a 1-0 lead just 14 seconds into the first period.

Rochester made it 2-0 at 9:04 when Brett Murray crashed the net and jammed a cross-crease pass from Michael Mersch past Shepard.

Matt Bartkowski’s drive from the left point 1:42 into the second period put Rochester ahead, 3-0.

Mason Jobst flew up the left side and beat Shepard at 6:33 to spell the end of Shepard’s night, as Zach Fucale took over in net.

Aaron Ness, who had missed the previous four games for Hershey with an injury, got the Bears on the board when he scored at 9:42 of the third period on a back-door play for his first of the postseason, and his first career playoff goal.

The Bears pulled Fucale for an extra skater with under four minutes left in regulation, but the Americans spoiled Hershey’s bid for a comeback with an empty-net goal from Lukas Rousek at 18:59.

Shots finished 23-22 in favor of the Americans. Shepard went 12-for-16 in the loss for the Bears (the first time this postseason that he had surrendered more than two goals), while Fucale went 6-for-6 in relief; Malcom Subban went 21-for-22 to get the win for the Americans. Hershey was 0-for-2 on the power play while Rochester went 0-for-1.

The Bears’ 2023 playoffs, presented by Penn State Health, continues when the Chocolate and White face the Rochester Americans in Game 2 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals at GIANT Center on Thursday, May 25 at 7 p.m. CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS. Continue to check for the latest updates on the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs, including games, dates, times, and ticket information.

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