Despite the Game 7 loss to Houston, the Milwaukee Admirals accomplished a lot this year. The Admirals finished first place in the West Division and Western Conference with 102 points, advanced several players up to Nashville that helped the Predators reach uncharted territory in the NHL playoffs, played in 13 playoff games and eliminated the 2010 Calder Cup finalists, the Texas Stars, in six games.
Yes, the disappointment still lingers over what could have been for the Admirals this postseason. However, I thought I would start the recovery process for Milwaukee with a look back at some of the best moments from the 2010-2011.
Best Regular Season Game: April 1, 2011: Milwaukee 5, Houston 2. With just six games left in the regular season for the Admirals, Milwaukee smoked Houston a decisive battle, all but clinching first place in the West Division and Conference. Though the Aeros competed shorthanded on the night, this game was truly a statement moment for Milwaukee.
Biggest Positive Turning Point: November 26, 2010: Milwaukee 1 at Texas 0. In the midst of 10-game road trip and riding a four-game losing streak, Milwaukee willed its way to 1-0 over defending Calder Cup finalist Texas thanks to a Steve Begin goal in the third period. The win came despite playing without Linus Klasen who was a healthy scratch.
Best Playoff Game: April 25, 2011: Milwaukee 3, Texas 2, 2OT. Playing Game 6 at home against Texas, the Admirals and Stars played five periods of electric hockey. Jeremy Smith made 52 saves, including 13 in the first overtime before Mark Van Guilder scored the game-winner at 10:42 of double overtime, sending the Admirals into the second round. It was the fourth one-goal game of the series. (Read my feature on the game here)
Season’s Signature Moment: Oct. 9, 2010: Milwaukee 6, Abbotsford 2. Trailing 2-0 after the first period on opening night, Milwaukee rallied for a 6-2 win in Linus Klasen’s coming out party. Klasen put on a stunning display of offense and celebrations, contributing two goals. Klasen would be the team’s most dangerous offensive weapon for much of the season prior to a long term injury.
Best Personnel Move: The Acquisition of Steve Begin. Begin struggled to provide much offense during the regular season, playing in only 36 games due to various injuries. But the veteran forward was welcome addition to a young and maturing Milwaukee offense during the playoffs. Begin provided much needed leadership and finished fifth on the team with seven points.
Best Lineup Decision: Pairing Roman Josi and Teemu Laakso on the blueline. The two European-born defenders were dynamite as a tandem against Texas, and a big reason why Milwaukee advanced to the second round. The two combined for a plus 13 rating in a series decided by a razor thin margin.
So Roundtable: What are your best moments of the season/playoffs and what are your fondest memories?