History will be on the line tonight for the Milwaukee Admirals. They current are tied for a franchise record nine-game long winning streak. All that stands between them and setting a new franchise record is the San Antonio Rampage.
~The Ol’ Monsters~
The Rampage enter tonight’s game with a record of 9-2-5-0 (23 points). Their 0.719 points percentage is identical to that of the Admirals and are currently in second place in the Pacific Division – trailing the Ontario Reign on points percentage alone (0.786) with the reigning Calder Cup champions having played two less games than the Rampage.
The Rampage were yet another team that experienced an affiliation change this past off-season. They are no longer the AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers. They are now affiliated with the Colorado Avalanche. That means, when thinking Rampage, you should be thinking about last season’s divisional rivalry against the Lake Erie Monsters. The Admirals went 5-2-2-1 (13 points) against the Monsters last season. Of the ten games played between the two – half of them went to overtime or a shootout.
With the Admirals and Rampage having played an equal number of games with the exact same points percentage it makes for some fun comparisons. The Rampage have scored more goals on the season (55 goals forced) than the Admirals (48 goals forced). Yet, the Admirals defense and goaltending has kept out less goals (42 goals allowed) than the Rampage (46 goals allowed).
The special teams differences between these two are rather drastic when setting the stage for tonight’s game…
The Rampage have the fifth best overall power-play in the AHL (20.9%) and are clocking in sixth in the AHL for road power-play despite being better on the road than at home (21.2%). Their overall penalty killing numbers (85.5%) sees them tenth in the AHL and their road penalty kill is also tenth in the league (85.7%).
The Admirals overall power-play comes in ninth in the AHL (19.5%) and have the seventh best home power-play (20.5%). Their overall penalty kill is twenty-eighth in the AHL (77.3%) and twenty-ninth at home (73.7%).
~Who What Now?~
There are some very familiar names on the Rampage roster that you’d recognize from last season on the Monsters: Andrew Agozzino, 16 points (7 goals, 9 assists)… Maxim Noreau, 13 points (4 goals, 9 assists)… Colin Smith, 12 points (6 goals, 6 assists)… Joey Hishon, 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists)… Trevor Cheek, 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists)… Michael Schumacher, 3 points (3 goals, 0 assists)… Duncan Siemens, 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist)… Patrick Bordeleau, 2 points (0 goals, 2 assists)… and Daniel Maggio, 0 points (19 penalty minutes).
Between Agozzino, Noreau, Smith, Hishon, Cheek, and Schumacher… the Rampage bring back points 19 points (7 goals, 12 assists) worth of offense that did damage against the Admirals last season as members of the Monsters.
In net there is a clear cut number one in net, Chet‘s brother, Calvin Pickard. I don’t know what it is but Pickard is another one of those goalies that plays extrodinarily well against the Admirals. In his career against Milwaukee he has a 8-2-1-1 record, 2.26 goals against average, and a 0.909 save percentage.
Can the Admirals set a franchise record with a ten-game winning streak tonight? What do the Admirals need to do in order to see yet another win recorded tonight? With both goalies performing as well as they are, who do you start for the Admirals, and how do you make sure one doesn’t get cold by missing playing time?