It might have ended on a sour note but the month of March was one of the strongest runs of form for the Milwaukee Admirals during their 2017-18 season. The Admirals went 9-5-0-0 (18 points, 0.643 points percentage) in March. It was their most successful month since October when they went 5-2-0-0 record (10 points, 0.714 points percentage) to open up the season. And you couldn’t help but see a few key figures step up even more with the pressure of the playoffs looming over each and every game.
For all that changed following the NHL Trade Deadline this was a good turn in the right direction for the Admirals. Still, a lot of success wasn’t without a hard battle – or a shootout. At the root of so much of the Admirals success in March, and the whole of this season, has been their goaltender Anders Lindbäck. It’s beginning to be an incredibly distant memory when one of the big question marks entering 2017-18 – was the goaltending. Lindbäck has been outstandingly good and is the premier workhorse in net in the AHL. No one has played more games, logged more time in net, faced more shots, and endured more battles than him. He has faced a total of 1646 shots this season. The next closest goaltender in that category, Thatcher Demko, is 317 shots behind. That’s ludicrous. Lindbäck is the foundation of the Admirals success. That continued again this past month and that is why he is The Real Estate Center’s Admiral of the Month for March.
In March, Lindbäck made 11 starts from the Admirals 14 games played. He held a record of 8-3-0-0 across those starts and managed a 2.14 goals against average and 0.929 save percentage. He also came up huge in net for the Admirals who played -and won- 4 shootout games in March. He only allowed a single shootout attempt in that time – and that just so happened to be the first shootout attempt from eleven total attempts. His shootout save percentage in March was 0.909. Of the eight goaltenders who have faced fifteen or more shootout attempts this season no one has a better shootout save percentage (0.792) than Lindbäck.
Sure, that last game for him was difficult. There were really three specific plays in mind that stick out as brutal for the part of Lindbäck. Considering what a clunker that 6-2 defeat to the Grand Rapids Griffins was though? It’s just hard to knock only one guy when an entire team got roughed up.
Beyond Lindbäck there were some other Admirable Mentions for March.
It’s hard to believe that both Anthony Richard, Harry Zolnierczyk, and Frédérick Gaudreau all only had 7 points for their work in March. Richard especially impressed me. He has so much pace but this season has been displaying such better consistency in his game. His work rate on both offense and defense are really noticeable and he can be an impact each and every night.
It could have taken just a little bit for Mark McNeill to settle into his new surroundings since being acquired from the Dallas Stars organization. The way he’s been playing by the end of March has been outstanding: 10 points (7 goals, 3 assists) in 14 games during March. Someone else who hit double digits in scoring for March, who is quietly having a great year for the Admirals, was Mark Zengerle who had 10 points (1 goal, 9 assists).
Not far behind them in scoring this month were both Trevor Smith and Emil Pettersson who each had 9 points in 14 games. I also felt Jimmy Oligny, who returned from a shoulder injury, has been his usually impressive self and has also looked to have cemented a more consistent top defensive pairing with Jack Dougherty. I also kind of wish the Admirals have picked up John Ramage or Brandon Bollig a lot sooner. I just love the intensity in which both play and that was evident the moment the both arrived following the NHL Trade Deadline.
The Admirals are now embarking on the final month of the 2017-18 regular season schedule. The April slate begins Tuesday night with a road clash against the now Central Division leading Chicago Wolves and carries right on home Wednesday night when the Admirals host the bottom dwelling Cleveland Monsters at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. Will the next Admiral of the Month have playoff hockey attached to it? That’s the question we’re all about to see answered soon enough.
~Admiral of the Month Award~
October: Emil Pettersson
November: Anders Lindbäck
December: Anders Lindbäck
January: Bobby Butler
February: Frédérick Gaudreau
March: Anders Lindbäck
Who do you feel was the top performer for the Milwaukee Admirals during the month of March? Was it Anders Lindbäck, Anthony Richard, Trevor Smith, Mark McNeill, or someone else? Tell me who your Admiral of the Month was in the comment section below.
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