The Rochester Americans hosted a sold-out crowd of 10,746 at Blue Cross Arena for Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals Saturday night.
With their NHL-affiliated club, the Buffalo Sabres, missing the playoffs and many of the organization’s top prospects now playing in the AHL such as Matthew Savoie, support and excitement for the Amerks has swelled as the team won the North Division and has gone on an unlikely run in the Calder Cup playoffs. The Amerks are playing in the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time 19 years.
To get fans amped for Game Three against the Hershey Bears, the team held a block party on Broad Street before puck drop, appropriately named ROC the Block, which featured food and drink specials.
It’s a beautiful day in Rochester to ROC the Block ☀️
See you on Broad St. outside Blue Cross Arena from 4-7pm!
— x-Rochester Americans (@AmerksHockey) May 27, 2023
Amerks head coach Seth Appert also encouraged the team’s fanbase to be loud and, uh, enjoy itself.
“This is going to be another animal,” Appert said per the team’s website. “You just want to make it as hard of an environment for [the Bears] with our play and by bringing the crowd into the game.”
“The only thing I’d say to them is thank you because our fans in the whole second half of the season have made this place a hard place to play,” Appert said. “So my message is thank you, get properly lubricated pregame, and come out loud and strong at 7 o’clock tonight.”
Amerks fans were boisterous and supportive throughout the night — an incredible atmosphere for a minor-league hockey team — but as the game extended later into the evening that vibe seemed to teeter toward something less responsible.
For instance, after Sean Malone scored a third period goal to bring Rochester within one, a fan was shown on the telecast crushing two cans of beer as if he was Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Amerks fans also seemed to grow more and more frustrated throughout the night by a series of questionable calls and non-calls from officials. After another debatable officiating decision occurred late in the third period, a fan threw a bottle onto the ice, spurring a warning from the Amerks’ PA announcer that the team would be issued a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct if the behavior continued.
The Twitter account AmerksExtra reported that the fan who threw the bottle tried to escape security by running, but was caught and banned from the arena.
Someone just threw a bottle of Gatorade at players after another missed call. Then tried to run out without security catching him. They got him anyways and he will be banned from the arena. Don’t throw stuff on the ice.
— Amerks Extra (@AmerksExtra) May 28, 2023
After Aliaksei Protas scored an empty-net goal to make it 4-2, Amerks fans began walking out of the arena and–per voice of the Bears, Zach Fisch–began throwing bottles and other debris onto the ice. And again, the Amerks’ PA announcer had to tell fans to stop.
Fans getting warned about throwing things onto the ice again.
— RMNB (@rmnb) May 28, 2023
The Bears would go on to subtly reference the kerfuffle after their victory, with the official account tweeting, “can’t bottle these vibes.”
Can't bottle these vibes, it's 2-1 series lead! BEARS WIN!!! 🥳 pic.twitter.com/njk2ft06ft
— Hershey Bears (@TheHersheyBears) May 28, 2023
No one ended up being hurt, thank goodness, but the scene in Rochester got a little sketch.
So fans, in the future, please don’t throw things onto the ice. It’s dangerous and unless it’s a Teddy Bear Toss, it’s not cool either.
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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