Wild: Scouting the Enemy

The last time the Milwaukee Admirals played on the road against the Iowa Wild we saw Trevor Mingoia score his first career AHL goal in a 4-2 win. (Photo Credit: Ted Sandeen)

You know what can be just as rough as the Milwaukee Admirals losing 5-2 to the Grand Rapids Griffins in front of an Admirals record 9,444 fans at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena? Well, traveling nearly six hours on a bus from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Des Moines, Iowa immediately afterwards. That is an extremely specific example but oddly accurate. The Admirals and Iowa Wild are both looking to hit the reset button after rough Friday night games. The first period is going to be important for both.

The Wild enter tonight’s game with a record of 18-13-7-3 (46 points, 0.561 points percentage). They are seated right behind the Admirals (0.575) in the Central Division standings. Both are now behind the Manitoba Moose (0.713) and Rockford IceHogs (0.583).

Last night the Wild hosted the Bakersfield Condors at the Wells Fargo Arena. If last night’s game for the Admirals was deflating I can’t help but look at the Wild’s game as exhausting. The Wild had a 2-0 lead after the first period. The Condors tied it at 2-2 the next period only to see the Wild get a go-ahead goal with 2:42 remaining in the second period. The Condors then had a late equalizer before getting the 4-3 win in overtime.

Exhausting can also be described for the diabolical potential these two have to play past regulation. The Admirals have played 10 games beyond regulation this season (5 games in overtime, 5 games in a shootout) while the Wild have played 14 games beyond regulation (10 games in overtime, 4 games in a shootout). And -hey look at that- the two have gone past regulation in their last two meetings. The Admirals lost 3-2 in overtime on 12/15/17 but proceeded to take the last game 4-3 in a shootout on 1/5/18.

What isn’t exhausting -for the Admirals’ sake- is that they are 4-0-1-0 this season against the Wild and this is the second to last meeting of the season in Iowa. The Admirals have managed to score 14 goals in 3 games in Iowa this season and have won in regulation for the lot. The Admirals have also produced a power-play goal in each game played in Iowa this season. Specials Teams for the Admirals in Iowa this season has been a difference: 17.6% (3/17) on the power-play and 93.8% (15/16) on the penalty kill.

The leading scorer in this head-to-head belongs to the Wild’s Pat Cannone who has 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists) in 5 games. He is fourth on the Wild in scoring this season with 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists) in 41 games. Their leading scorer right now is Sam Anas who has 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists) in 35 games. He has had 3 points (2 goals, 1 assist) in 3 games against the Admirals including the overtime game-winning goal back on 12/15/17.

The current goaltending tandem for the Wild is Steve Michalek and Niklas Svedberg. The two have pretty evenly split time in net for the Wild in the AHL as well as in this match-up.

Michalek has yet to get a win against the Admirals this season having gone 0-1-0-1 in 2 starts with a 2.92 goals against average and 0.872 save percentage. His overall season has been good though: 9-3-3-1 record in 16 appearances with a 2.78 goals against average and 0.915 save percentage. He started last night in the overtime loss against the Condors and stopped 23/27 shots on goal.

If Michalek isn’t tasked with starts in back-to-back nights the start would go to Svedberg in what would be his fourth start against the Admirals this season. Svedberg has the lone win for the Wild over the Admirals this season but also has a rough 3.41 goals against average and 0.857 save percentage in the process. This season he has gone 8-8-2-1 in 19 appearances with a 2.74 goals against average, 0.911 save percentage, and a shutout.

What are your expectations for tonight’s game? Can the Milwaukee Admirals continue their successful run against the Iowa Wild? How important is it for the Admirals to not stumble in this game after how last night played out?

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