The last time the Milwaukee Admirals met the Lake Erie monsters they won 6-5. It was their first win over the Monsters since March 16, 2012. Let’s reflect back on some of this season’s history between the two.
The games in Lake Erie were really -really- rough games for the Admirals. How rough? Scott Darling had enough of it in the second game of the two-in-two and decided to drop the gloves with his counterpart in net Sami Aittokallio.
That set the stage for the rematch in Milwaukee. The tables sort of reversed from the second game to the third. Yet, the Monsters did make a real strong push late to keep things interesting.
If things continue with the norm of the season series – we could be in for a pretty fun show.
The Monsters enter this game with a record of 28-28-0-8 (64 points).
Did you double take reading that like I did? They are the only team in the AHL to not record an overtime loss this season – and they have been 16 games that have occurred in OT or longer: 2 OT wins, 6 shootout wins, 8 shootout losses.
Their record puts them fourth in the North Division and twelfth in the Western Conference. It would be a battle for them to make the playoffs – which makes them all the more dangerous coming into tonight’s game.
They are currently on a run of 3-0-0-2 in their last five games. In those games they have played two games that went into a shootout and lost both. The rest that finished in regulation? Wins. From open play they have outscored their opponents 15-11 in this stretch – including back-to-back shutouts of the woeful Rochester Americans.
Other players to keep an eye on are Bryan Lerg and Joey Hishon. Lerg leads the Monsters active roster with most points scored per game with 0.77 Pt/G – 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists) in 35 games. Hishon scored a hat trick in the last meeting against the Admirals – and has 6 points (4 goals, 2 assists) from 3 games against Milwaukee this season.
In net for the Monsters include’s Calvin Pickard, Chet’s brother, and Scott Darling’s favorite punching bag. Pickard has played the most games between the two: 38 games, 15 wins, 2.87 GAA, 0.903 SV%, and 2 shutouts. Aittokallio has played in 29 games, won 12 games, 2.57 GAA, 0.912 SV%, and has 4 shutouts.
Aittokallio has made the most recent starts for the Monsters. Last time out he lost in a shootout, 6-5, to the Chicago Wolves. Prior to that he posted back-to-back shutouts over the Amerks.
The Admirals now have a record of 31-21-6-7 (75 points) following their four-game road trip that saw them pull in 5 points out of a possible 8. They remain third in the Midwest Division and sixth in the Western Conference – but – during the last few weeks they have been trending up and gaining a cushion on the likes of the Rockford IceHogs, Charlotte Checkers, and the plummeting Rochester Americans.
Of all that happened during the Admirals road trip I feel the biggest thing that took place was Marek Mazanec finally delivering a game where he allowed less that 2 goals. Despite achieving that and more in the NHL, 2 shutouts, he had a string of 24 consecutive games where he allowed 2 goals or more from his starts. The curse is broken!
There are plenty of skaters we could talk about when it comes to the recent offense. Many players are enjoying their best offensive productivity this entire season right now. Of the two that stand out to me are Patrick Cehlin and Mathieu Tousignant.
Cehlin has only played in 28 games this season and missed the better part of two months due to a concussion. Since he has come back he has slowly worked back up to speed. Right now his pace is phenomenal. In his last 9 games he has scored 11 points (1 goal, 10 assists).
He really seems to be at a great place physically and it’s really helping him on the ice. I actually wonder, with the time missed earlier this season, if he won’t actually be in better condition come playoff time than any other player on the Admirals roster. If he keeps performing like this – that’ll be massive.
At the end of February – Tousignant had 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists). So far in the month of March he has tallied 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists) in 10 games. He’s our fourth line center that plays alongside Mike Liambas and Joonas Rask. That is a line that has done so well that they will often start games because of how well they set the tempo. Our resident hyper-talking French Canadian Tousi has plenty to do with how well that lines gels.
What are your expectations for tonight’s game? Can the Admirals successful road stint spill over to home ice?