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Sabres Central

Amerks going back to Finals for second straight year
By Rick Anderson
May 14, 2000

The Rochester Americans are going to the Calder Cup Finals for the second year in a row. They are going because of a four-game sweep of the Hershey Bears. Saturday night in a hot, humid, foggy Hersheypark Arena, the Amerks put the Bears out of their misery by assailing them with a 6-1 victory.

The APD line had four of the Amerks' six goals and were the dominating force behind the quick elimination of the Bears. The line of Jeremy Adduono, Domenic Pittis and J.P. Dumont had the Bears running to their caves for a summer hibernation as Adduono and Dumont both scored a pair of goals and veteran Pittis had a 4-point night.

The man rumored to replace Mike Ramsey as a Sabres's assistant coach had nothing but good to say about the Sabres' hot farm team.

"I'll tell you what, it was going to take a great team to beat us and it was a great team that beat us," said Bears coach and former Sabre Mike Foligno.

In the 44 years the Rochester Americans have been in the American Hockey League, they have swept an opponent in the Calder Cup playoffs 4 times. It took the Amerks only six days to move on to the Finals.

"As we've gotten closer (to the finals), you can see what's coming and everybody gets a little more intense each game,"Adduono said. "Everybody wants it so bad."

It was an eerie scene reminiscent to the 75 Sabres-Flyers Stanley Cup Finals where the players has to battle the fog as well as each other. The temperature climbed to the mid-80s Saturday afternoon and the Hershey arena does not have air conditioning. As a result, the fog settled down at ice level numerous times throughout the game.

"We were sweating bullets," Francois Methot said. "My visor was fogging up so much, I was wiping it off as I was skating. One time I looked and it was hard to distinguish who was who, the pants all looked black."

Fog or no fog, the Amerks were determined to end this series quickly. Methot opened the scoring with 4:08 gone in the first period. The Bears' Mike Gaul turned over the puck and Dmitri Kalinin scooped up the puck at mid-ice and flipped it over to Eric Boulton, who spotted Methot open on the right side.

"I saw Dmitri make the pass to Eric and I thought the puck would be ahead of him, and then I looked and he was in full control of the puck and was passing it to me," Methot described the play. "The goalie was taking the glove (side) away because we beat him there before in the series; he knew guys were going that way, so I took a look and the other side was wide open."

Dumont then scored his first of the night at the 9:07 mark on a power play giving the Amerks a 2-0 cushion. But near the end of the first period, Hershey's Guy Dupuis tallied at 19:06 to close the gap.

The Amerks came out storming in the second period and got two quick goals to blow the game wide open. Adduono got both those goals in lightning fashion. Pittis gave Adduono a perfect feed through the crease and Adduono put it in. The goal came only 37 seconds into the period. A little over a minute and a half later, Adduono broke in on a two-on-one and clanked a shot off the post which went into the net.

"When we got those quick goals in the second, it really deflated them," said Doug Houda. "Let's face it, when you're down 3-0 in the series and behind by three goals, it's pretty tough. And when we got the three-goal lead, it got a little cooler, too."

Mike Hurlbut and Dumont finished off the scoring for the Amerks in the third period and now they have to wait for the Providence-Hartford series to conclude before they play again. Providence leads that series two games to one and the Amerks will have some time off to bask in their three playoff series wins.

Last year, it was the Providence Bruins who eliminated the Amerks in just five games in the Calder Cup Finals. In the back of their minds, the Amerks to a man may be pulling for the Bruins so they can get their revenge for last season's bitter defeat.

Amerks' coach Brian McCutcheon was extremely buoyant about his team's play.

"All I know is our top players did a great job, whether it was five-on-five, penalty kill or power play," McCutcheon said. "But don't take away from what everyone else did. We don't have a star system here. It's great contributions from all those people is why we win."

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