Ads Face Divisional Foes in Six of Next Seven
OVERALL…The Admirals enter this week’s action with a 26-22-2-2 record and 56 points, good for a sixth-place tie in the West Division with Quad City. The Admirals snapped a four-game losing streak Sunday afternoon with a 3-2 win over Peoria. The Admirals will play three games this week beginning Thursday evening against Chicago, followed by a road trip to Grand Rapids on Saturday before finishing the week with a 4:00 pm Sunday matinee against Rockford.
VS. CHICAGO… The Admirals and Wolves renew their rivalry Thursday for the ninth time this season and the fifth and final meeting at the Bradley Center. So far this year Milwaukee is 3-4-1 against their neighbors to the south, including a 3-1 loss last Saturday night. The two clubs split a pair of overtime games to begin the year, with the Wolves winning the first meeting of the season, 2-1 on October 13th in Chicago and the Ads besting the Wolves 1-0 in extra time on October 27th. The Wolves then won the next three contests between the two clubs before the Ads grabbed a 4-0 win January 16th and a 5-4 victory Friday. In 140 all-time regular season contests the Ads have a 74-49-1-16 record including a 34-26-0-7 mark at the Bradley Center.
VS. GRAND RAPIDS… The Admirals and Griffins cavort for the sixth time this season Saturday night in Grand Rapids. So far this year Milwaukee is 3-2 against the Grifs, including a 4-0 win the last time the two teams squared off on January 25th. The Griffins beat the Ads 1-0 at the BC on December 2nd and also won 4-2 on December 29th in Grand Rapids. The Admirals won 2-1 on December 15th and also 4-3 on December 18th. In 87 all-time meetings between the two clubs the Admirals have recorded a 35-36-7-9 mark, the only active franchise that Milwaukee has a losing record against when playing more than ten games.
VS. ROCKFORD… The Admirals will host the Rockford IceHogs Sunday afternoon in the fourth of ten match-ups between the two clubs. The teams have played twice in Rockford this season with the Hogs posting a 4-2 win on December 22nd before the Ads got revenge with a 5-3 win on New Year’s Eve. In the only game played at the Bradley Center the Hogs picked up a 3-2 shoot-out win on January 12th. Wade Flaherty, who led the Admirals to the 2004 Calder Cup Championship and was named playoff MVP in the process, is 5-6 with a 2.98 and a.915 save percentage for the IceHogs.
LAST WEEK… The Admirals have yet to win a game in the busiest week of the season. On Monday the team dropped a 5-4 decision to the Manchester Monarchs in their first ever visit to the Granite State. After falling behind 2-0, the Ads scored three straight to take a 3-2 lead, but the Monarchs responded with three straight of their own and Milwaukee couldn’t muster the offense to get the equalizer. Then on Wednesday the Admirals surrendered three power-play goals and lost to the Providence Bruins 3-2 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Friday night the Admirals took a 1-0 lead over Manitoba, but the Moose scored three straight and an Admirals comeback fell just short and last evening the Admirals dropped a 3-1 decision to Chicago at the All-State Arena. Milwaukee finally mustered a win on Sunday afternoon when they got by the Peoria Rivermen 3-2 at the Bradley Center. Cal O’Reilly pocketed a pair of assists, while Cody Franson notched the game-winning goal.
ALL GOOD THINGS MUST END… Cal O’Reilly was held without a point Friday night in the team’s loss to Chicago, breaking a nine-game assist streak for the Admirals’ center that saw him post 16 points on a pair of goals and 14 assists. The stretch was both the longest point and assist streak for the Ads this season and it was the third longest assist streak in the entire league. The highlight of the streak was last week when he posted a pair of three point games and garnered Rbk/AHL Player of the Week honors.
GETTING BUSY… February may be the shortest month in terms of days, but that doesn’t stop it from being the busiest from the Admirals perspective. In 29 days during February the team will play 16 games, with an even eight coming on the road and eight at the Bradley Center. The team will spend every Saturday night on the road and they will make their first ever trip to New Hampshire when they battle Manchester this evening. After playing Peoria and Rockford just once in the first three months of the season, Milwaukee will battle those two teams a combined seven times.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS… The Admirals have been embroiled in some tight affairs this season as 40 of the team’s 52 games, including each of the last five, have been decided by just one or two goals. Milwaukee has recorded a 13-10-2-2 mark in 26 one-goal decisions, while posting a 7-6 record when the game has been decided by two goals. Last season the Ads set a team record by playing in 63 one- and two-goal games.
TRANSACTIONS… The Admirals have recalled forward James Sixsmith from Cincinnati of the ECHL. The promotion is the third of the season for Sixsmith, who has a goal in seven games with the Admirals. The Alexandria, VA native has 12 points (4g-8a) in 17 games for the Cyclones this year. On Friday, the Admirals signed forward Oren Eizenman to a PTO. The Toronto native did not record a point in his first game with the Ads Friday night in Chicago.
PLAYOFF PEEK… There are still over two months to play in the regular season, but it is never too early to take a peek at how the post-season is shaping up. The Admirals are currently in sixth place with 56 points in the AHL’s West Division and the top four teams will qualify for the post-season. Milwaukee currently trails Chicago (71 points), Rockford (69), Peoria (64), San Antonio (64), and Houston (57). Because of the AHL’s cross-over rule, the Ads would make the playoffs if they finish in fifth place, but have more points than the fourth place team in the North Division. The sixth place team in the West cannot cross-over even if they have more points than the third place-team in the North.
OVER THE AIR AND ON THE WEB… The Admirals have a new home for their radio broadcasts this season on Sports Radio 1250 WSSP with Aaron Sims calling all of the hard-hitting end-to-end action. In addition, the team has a one-hour hockey magazine dubbed “Milwaukee Admirals Center Ice” that airs every Monday from 6-7 pm on WSSP. Fans can watch all Admirals games, home and on the road, live on the internet via B2 Networks. Simply go the Admirals website at milwaukeeadmirals.com and click on the B2 logo.