While I might be on the road in Nashville this week that doesn’t mean I’m ignoring Priority #1: the Milwaukee Admirals. Yes, the schedule has opened up rather nicely this past week for the group but they are going to need those rest days.
Tonight and tomorrow the Admirals will be playing against the Grand Rapids Griffins on the road. That will be quickly followed up with a two-in-two, Tuesday and Wednesday, on the road to see last weekend’s enemy of choice – the Charlotte Checkers. For as great as the down time was for the Admirals at the start of the week it all gets a bit cramped as far as road travel in a quick space of time. And it starts in grandiose fashion.
This weekend’s match-up is a very big test for the Admirals. They may have swept their three-game homestand but they did so while shooting themselves in the foot along the way. The Griffins simply aren’t a team that will let mistakes like that slide while creating many of their own. What the Admirals need to do this weekend is more of what made their comebacks a success: be direct, play North-South, and go to the net.
The Griffins enter this weekend’s two-in-two against the Admirals with a record of 34-14-1-2 (71 points, 0.696 points percentage). That has them seated atop the Central Division ahead of the Chicago Wolves (0.627) and Admirals (0.625). The only team with a better record in the Western Conference than the Griffins right now are the San Jose Barracuda (0.717) who are currently riding a 12-game winning streak.
On the Griffins roster they certainly don’t lack for offense. They have seven players with 30 points or more and AHL All-Star defenseman Robbie Russo is a point away from adding to that. The Admirals, by comparison, only have 4 players at that plateau.
As far as the top scorer title goes for the Griffins it is currently being shared. Ben Street has 40 points (16 goals, 24 assists). Matt Lorito has 40 points (14 goals, 26 assists). The difference between the two players can best be summed up with Lorito having played 3 games less than Street.
In net the Griffins have Jared Coreau back on a conditioning assignment as the Detroit Red Wings begin their NHL mandated bye-week. The 25-year old played 13 games with the Red Wings this season but has played the bulk of time as part of the Griffins in the AHL: 11-6-0-0 record from 17 appearances, 2.18 goals against average, 0.924 save percentage, and a shutout.
What are your expectations for the Milwaukee Admirals this weekend on the road against the Grand Rapids Griffins? How big of a moment will these two games against the Griffins be for the Admirals as far as the season is concerned?
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