As we Sconnies all know, we banded together and fought off the heat with pitchforks and beer steins a long time ago so that we can blissfully settle into our single-digit degree style weather. And the cosmic ballet goes on.
Poking at how the pre-game headline reads complete – the Milwaukee Admirals look to launch from last night’s 3-1 win over the San Jose Barracuda by facing the Stockton Heat tonight at 9:30 PM CST. It is the first time these two sides have met since the Calgary Flames AHL affiliate was the Adirondack Flames. The Admirals won that last meeting 4-3 in overtime on the road back on 1/17/15.
Who is playing tonight who played in that last game between the two? For the Admirals: Pontus Åberg, Jonathan Diaby, Félix Girard, Mike Liambas, and Jimmy Oligny. For the Heat: Ryan Culkin and Émile Poirier.
Fun Fact. In Poirier’s last two playing seasons, 2012-14, he was teammates with Alex Carrier in Gatineau (QMJHL). In Poirier’s final junior playing season both Carrier and himself were alternate captains.
The Heat enter tonight’s game having played last night at home against the Tucson Roadrunners where they came back to win 3-2 in overtime. The Heat’s record right now is 17-9-3-1 (38 points, 0.633 points percentage). They are third in the Pacific Division and fifth in the Western Conference standings.
There are two familiar faces on the Heat’s roster and familiar for different reasons.
Jamie Devane became a locker room and fan favorite for the Admirals last season. In 2015-16 he scored 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists) in 62 games with a plus/minus rating of -7 and 82 penalty minutes. He didn’t get going for the Heat until November this season but has started to get going: 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists) in 16 games with a plus/minus rating of +6 and 15 penalty minutes. He scored a goal last night in the Heat’s overtime win.
Tom McCollum is a goaltender that has finally broken free from the shackles that had him in the Detroit Red Wings system for his entire professional career up until this season. He has played in 20 career games against the Admirals. He hasn’t played an AHL game since 11/5/16 in a game that saw him bow out after 39:54 of ice time while he was doing extremely well. He since played 3 games in the ECHL for the Adirondack Thunder in early-December but has not seen game action since.
In net, Jon Gillies and David Rittich have held the fort. Gillies has played more but Rittich has performed better in lesser appearances. Gillies has a record of 10-5-2-1 in 19 games played with a 3.00 goals against average, 0.909 save percentage, and a shutout. Rittich has a record of 6-4-1-0 in 12 games played with a 1.96 goals against average, 0.929 save percentage, and 3 shutouts.
The race for the leading scorer title on the Heat is deadlocked at the moment. Mark Jankowski, who is the Heat’s lone AHL All-Star representative, has scored 24 points (9 goals, 15 assists) in 27 games. Linden Vey has 24 points (8 goals, 16 assists) in 25 games.
Expectations for tonight’s game? What do the Milwaukee Admirals need to do in order to lessen the amount of shots on goal from last night (40) considering the Stockton Heat weren’t far behind that total (39) last night? For how he performed does Marek Mazanec stay in or should the Admirals rotate Jonas Gunnarsson in for the second of this two-in-two?
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