The Milwaukee Admirals are beginning the trend upwards after a six-game losing streak. Last night’s 5-3 win on the road against the Rockford IceHogs might have carried this season’s tradition of scoring 5 goals per game at the BMO Harris Bank Center but it was also the first time since 12/23/17 on the road against the Cleveland Monsters that they produced 5 goals inside regulation. The Admirals need to start stringing together positive results at this stage of the season and they have managed that in their last two outings. What follows next are two home games to complete a three-in-three weekend against non-divisional oppositions. That puts further emphasis on the Admirals focusing on their own game and improving it.
The San Antonio Rampage are arriving to Milwaukee after having lost 4-3 in overtime last night on the road against the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Admirals know all too well what a rough bus ride that can be so expect fatigue to be a possible factor in the late stages of this contest.
The Rampage hold a record of 24-19-5-0 (53 points, 0.552 points percentage) which has them in sixth place of the Pacific Division and eleventh in the Western Conference standings. The Admirals (0.532) are behind the Rampage and need to start climbing their way back into playoff contention.
It doesn’t feel all that long ago when these two sides locked horns last month down in San Antonio. The Admirals won 4-1 the first time out but lost 3-1 the following contest at the AT&T Center. That defeat for the Admirals was their first loss against the Rampage in 9 games. It was also the first time the Rampage beat the Admirals on home ice in regulation since the 2012-13 season. And, it must be said, of the 4 goals scored by the Rampage against the Admirals this season the only goal scorer on their active roster for this game tonight is Klim Kostin. The likes of Tage Thompson, Chris Butler, and Dominic Toninato have all been recalled to the NHL by their respective clubs since these two sides have last met.
Something that is a possibility for tonight’s game would be the return of Vladislav Kamenev to the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. Kamenev was traded alongside Samuel Girard by the Nashville Predators earlier this season in a three-team deal that saw them land Kyle Turris from the Ottawa Senators. Kamenev unfortunately broke his arm in his debut for the Colorado Avalanche and hasn’t played a game since but has been on the comeback trail and is traveling with the team on their current road trip. It isn’t known if he would be inserted into the lineup tonight but he is near a full-return.
As always, it will be fun to see fellow former-Admiral Félix Girard when he returns to Milwaukee. In his first game back at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena after he was traded a season ago he scored a goal in what was a 5-1 win for the Admirals. This season he has 12 points (8 goals, 4 assists) in 48 games with the Rampage.
The leading scorer for the Rampage this season is Samuel Blais who has 26 points (11 goals, 15 assists) in only 25 games of work. The 21-year old Blais has played 10 games this season in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues where he has contributed 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists). He is followed closely in scoring on the Rampage roster by Andrew Agozzino who has 25 points (9 goals, 16 assists) in 45 games.
The goaltending tandem for the Rampage continues to be Ville Husso and Spencer Martin. The two split starts against the Admirals last month and it was Husso who earned the win while stopping 29/30 shots on goal. Husso has been the top goaltender for the Rampage this season as he has a record of 11-7-2-0 from 23 appearances with a 2.49 goals against average, 0.925 save percentage, and 2 shutouts. Last night Husso stopped 38/42 shots in the overtime loss on the road in Grand Rapids.
Should Husso be a bit too knackered for his efforts after last night’s game we might see Martin. This season the 22-year old netminder has a record of 12-11-3-0 from 27 appearances to go along with a 2.84 goals against average, 0.901 save percentage, and a lone shutout.
Given that the Admirals are working a three-in-three weekend it might be curious to see if they play around with the goaltending at all tonight. The Rampage match up more favorably to make the switch tonight rather than on Sunday evening when the Stockton Heat turn up. Anders Lindbäck, who leads the AHL in wins (20) shots against (1116) saves (1014) and games played (35), could likely benefit from at least -one- rest day here. That would mean seeing Jake Paterson get his second start of the season. His first came back on 12/17/17 on the road in Chicago where he stopped 34/47 in a 4-2 loss to the Wolves. He has since made 2 appearances in relief.
What are your expectations for tonight’s game? Will the Milwaukee Admirals be able to carry over last night’s efforts into tonight? Is there any worry that this oddity of lackluster games on concert nights will continue despite the energy of a big crowd?
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