The year long odyssey of a world without the Milwaukee Admirals being a playoff hockey team is over. The Admirals took care of business last night with a 2-1 win over the San Antonio Rampage to complete a season sweep of the Rampage, extend their point streak to eight-games, and lock themselves up into a playoff spot.
This season marks the Admirals fifteenth season as members of the AHL. Their inaugural season in the league came and went without a playoff run. The Admirals then proceeded to go to the playoffs for twelve straight seasons. That streak ended last year and, at that time, so much chaos was taking place. The Admirals did more than just sputter to the finish line last season they crawled to it while on fire. So many things that could go wrong did go wrong and they finished in last place of their division for the first time since that inaugural 2001-02 season. To put it lightly, this season has been massively different and it all boils down to consistency of solid team play yielding results. A season removed from being last in their division the Admirals are out in front of their division with a legitimate chance of winning it. What a difference a year makes, eh?
At the moment the Admirals have been playing smart, defensive, well-rounded, and playoff style hockey for the better part of a month. The upcoming schedule will have them getting fairly out of a normal routine with a road trip to Manitoba followed by a journey to Charlotte all the way from Canada. If there were to be a nice test for the Admirals I’d say this upcoming jolt to the system over the next week could be it. This coming week could go a good ways in deciding if the Admirals could do more than just push for a divisional crown but even go as far to overstep the Ontario Reign for the best record in the Western Conference. The Admirals will need a solid finish to the season to leapfrog them. Any small bumps in the road could squash that. In fact, with the teams in the Central Division being who they are, it could hinder that bid for a divisional title. The games in Manitoba and Charlotte shouldn’t be taken lightly. They should be taken as these last few weeks of games have been: as playoff style games.
After last night’s game I had the chance to speak with Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. I also spoke with: Jamie Devane, the man with the game-winning goal last night… A.J. White, who made his professional hockey debut with the Admirals last night… and Max Görtz who is always up for a fun and honest interview on the team. Here is what everyone had to say after last night’s win.
Comments from the comments? How excited are you to have playoff hockey back here in Milwaukee? What are some of the significant changes that you have noticed from last year’s team to this year’s team?
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