Welcome to the start of the 2015 portion of the Milwaukee Admirals schedule. It’s a new year and, hopefully, a new start for the Ads. December went just about as poorly as it could have gone for the team. They face a good test tonight on the road to get things rolling.
~The Forgotten Ones~
The Grand Rapids Griffins are normally a steady and tough team to go up against. With how well the Rockford IceHogs and Chicago Wolves have played you nearly forget that the Griffins have regained their footing in the Midwest Division after a poor start.
Grand Rapids have a record of 16-11-3-1 (36 points) which places them a single point ahead of the Admirals in the division with both teams having played 31 games. Tonight’s result is the difference between the Admirals leap-frogging back into third place or falling further down the hunt in the division.
In the Griffins last 10 games they have a record of 6-2-1-1 (14 points). It’s the best last-in-10 in the division and includes a 3 game winning streak entering tonight’s contest.
~The Power of Power~
Teemu Pulkkinen remains the Griffins top scorer with an outstanding 37 points (18 goals, 19 assists) in 31 games. He is currently tied for second in scoring in the entire league with Nick Shore of the Manchester Monarchs. Both trail fellow member of the Monarchs, Brian O’Neill, who leads the AHL with 40 points (10 goals, 30 assists).
Anthony Mantha continues to progress for the Griffins since making his professional hockey debut with the team in November. The Quebec native has 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists) with a plus/minus rating of +9 from 20 games. He also has shown signs that he is still going through the motions of learning the speed of the professional game. He has taken 45 penalty minutes and is tied with bruiser Chris Bruton for the team lead in penalty minutes per game with 2.25.
Viktor Stålberg had himself quite the outing last game. He equaled his entire scoring output from his previous 4 game rehab stint in the 5-4 (OT) loss to the Lake Erie Monsters by tallying 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists).
Yet, the last time that Stålberg was on the ice against the Griffins was when Brennan Evans delivered a knee-on-knee hit that sidelined the Swede for well over a month. Could this be a case of forget and play on or will it come back to gloves dropping against Evans later tonight?
Expectations for tonight’s game? Will the surge that brought the Admirals back into the last game spill into tonight? Scoreline prediction?