Milwaukee Admirals. Ontario Reign. This is the match-up that I so badly wanted in the 2015-16 season when the two had the best records in the Western Conference. The Reign would finishing with the best record based on points percentage (0.684) but the contentious matter of the Pacific Division featuring teams that played 8 games less than the rest of the league factored in.
The Admirals that season had more wins (48) and more points (101) than the Reign did wins (44) and points (93). It would have been a nice feather in the cap or possibly even a banner worthy moment -but- the Admirals settled with the Central Division -and- neither team eventually made it to a Calder Cup triumph anyways. Still, this is the series that would have been so much fun to see. We finally get a taste of it tonight.
The Reign arrive to Milwaukee with a record of 21-16-2-1 (45 points, 0.563 points percentage). They are currently in fifth place of the Pacific Division and are ninth in the Western Conference standings – which is directly in front of the Admirals (0.548). The Reign are on a 3 game point streak (2-0-1-0) and have gone 6-3-1-0 in their previous 10 games. They played last night at the BMO Harris Bank Center and lost 3-2 in overtime against the Rockford IceHogs.
As you will be able to tell quickly from the uniforms: the Reign are the AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings. That shouldn’t be the lone familiar element you will see out on the ice. Jamie Devane is a member of the Reign. He was part of the 2015-16 Admirals that were duking it out with the Reign for that top nod as the “Best in the West” but has since played his trade in the Pacific Division. Devane has 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) in 33 games this season with the Reign and has accumulated 61 penalty minutes. His 5 fighting majors are matched by Bokondji Imama for the most on the team.
Additional familiarity can also be found via the name Subban. Earlier this season the Los Angeles Kings had a trade with the Vancouver Canucks that saw defenseman Jordan Subban come into the fold. Jordan is the younger brother of P.K. Subban of the Nashville Predators and Malcom Subban of the Vegas Golden Knights. Jordan has played 14 games with the Reign since the trade and has 6 points (3 goals, 3 assists). Prior to the trade he was playing for the Utica Comets and had tallied 5 points (0 goals, 5 assists) in 16 games. This season he is averaging 2.16 shots on goal per game from the blueline.
Continuing with the theme of “familiarity” you may have heard of a player by the name of Matt Moulson. It doesn’t even feel like it was that long ago that he had scored 30 goals or more in 3 consecutive seasons as a member of the New York Islanders. Truth be told, the last of those came in the 2011-12 season when he had a career best 36 goals in 82 games. Time hasn’t been the kindest to him really ever since but he is showing up to work for the Reign in the AHL after being loaned by the Buffalo Sabres after 14 games this season. Moulson has 26 points (6 goals, 20 assists) in 21 games for the Reign.
The current leading scorer for the Reign is Michael Amadio. This is the 21-year old center’s second full pro season. His 2016-17 season saw him produce 41 points (16 goals, 25 assists) in 68 games. He has stepped up in a big way in his sophomore run by recording 35 points (11 goals, 24 assists) in 31 games. He has been mesmerizing and has an active point streak that spans 18 games (9 goals, 20 assists). It is the longest point streak in the AHL this season by 6 games. He was last held without a point back on 12/5/17 on the road against the Tucson Roadrunners.
In net the Reign have a tandem of Jack Campbell and Cal Petersen. They have been the lone goalies for the Reign all season and they have had a very even split in terms of appearances: Campbell (20), Petersen (22). Last night in Rockford the goaltending duties belonged to Campbell who stopped 39/42 shots in an overtime loss. It might then be a safe assumption that having that taxing of a game would shift focus to -the other guy- tonight. But, Petersen also is coming off of a game that was rather crazy for the work load in net. Petersen faced 44 shots back on 1/20/18 in a 4-3 win for the Reign on the road against the Stockton Heat.
The other side to tonight’s story is how the Admirals perform following a 5-0 loss at home on Tuesday night against the Cleveland Monsters. The Admirals have lost their last 3 games in a row and in regulation while conceding 5 goals in all defeats. That opening period feels like it must be a reflection of change given how hard this latest down run has felt. The less is more approach might go a long way for the Admirals in getting a win before the AHL All-Star Break begins. The more the Admirals can keep the game simple and minimize mistakes the better off they should be.
What are your expectations for tonight’s game? Considering what took place on Tuesday night how do you think the Milwaukee Admirals are going to handle the opening period tonight? Does it actually help that the Admirals are facing a team that they don’t see often, haven’t seen all season and will only see once more, so that they can purely focus on themselves?
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