Firstly, I hope all of you had a lovely Christmas yesterday filled with all things Nashville Predators, Milwaukee Admirals, and Cincinnati Cyclones. Me, I finally do have a Predators mug now to fill with that all important Admirals Roundtable fuel known as coffee. Hope you all had a great day with family, friends, and loved ones!
Secondly, there is today’s game against the Chicago Wolves. When we last left off with our beloved Admirals things didn’t go too well with them against these Wolves. The Admirals lost 8-4 on a night where their defense just seemed shot. That came a night after having suffered their first shutout loss of the season.
To this point, the Admirals longest losing streak is three-games which came right after starting the season with three straight wins. They haven’t lost three straight games in regulation yet. That is on the table today.
The Admirals have a record of 17-7-2-1 (37 points, 0.685 points percentage). With the recent defeats they are no longer the top team in the Western Conference or Central Division. That temporary title belongs to the Grand Rapids Griffins. Tonight they’ll be working with Max Görtz and the recently recalled from Cincinnati (ECHL) Justin Kirkland while Cody Bass serves a one-game suspension from the AHL.
When you see the Admirals take to the ice tonight you will be seeing them in what has typically been their road navy uniforms. “Why is that,” you ask. Well, the AHL decided to be playful with the rules this year by adding a uniform policy that switches from white at home to darker uniforms after Christmas.
The Wolves record entering tonight’s game is 14-11-3-2 (33 points, 0.550 points percentage). They are fourth in the Central Division trailing the Griffins, Admirals, and the now -and finally- white hot Cleveland Monsters. In the Wolves last 10 games they hold a record of 5-2-2-1. Including today’s game the Admirals will be seeing these Wolves for 5 of their next 13 games. Come that last occasion in that run? The Admirals will have finished off playing in Chicago for the rest of the 2016-17 season by January 22nd.
By tacking on 3 assists against the Admirals last Thursday Wolves forward Kenny Agostino extended his league lead in scoring. Agostino has 34 points (9 goals, 25 assists) in 30 games this season. This is is first pro hockey season out of the Calgary Flames organization and it is setting up as a career year. In 162 career AHL games he is a 0.83 point per game player.
While the Admirals will be without Bass tonight due to suspension the Wolves will be without goaltender Jordan Binnington for the same reason. Binnington lost the plot against the Rockford IceHogs last Wednesday night and earned 17 penalty minutes (unsportsmanlike conduct minor, fighting major, and a game misconduct for fighting at puck drop). His suspension will last for tonight’s game meaning the Wolves will need a back-up this evening.
Binnington’s suspension makes the choice for who starts clear. Though, I feel the way that Pheonix Copley has been playing this season anyway already should have dictated more time in net. In lesser appearances Copley has outperformed Binnington for the Wolves this season: 6-4-1-1 record from 13 games, 2.46 goals against average, 0.912 save percentage, and a shutout.
Expectations for tonight’s game? How do you think both teams will play coming out of the Christmas break? What do the Milwaukee Admirals need to do to correct their mistakes from the past two games to get back into the win column tonight?
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