The Amtrak Rivalry is about to burst into life. The Milwaukee Admirals will see the Chicago Wolves for three of the next five contests. The Admirals suffered a massive setback last time out when they lost 6-2 against the Grand Rapids Griffins. They can not afford to slip up anymore if they are to make it into the Calder Cup Playoffs this year. The Wolves are looking to punch their ticket and pull a fast one on the Manitoba Moose by winning the Central Division with a strong last season push. These two have a lot to play for. These games will be extremely intense.
The Wolves record is 38-21-7-3 (86 points, 0.623 points percentage). They have surpassed the Moose (0.606) for the lead of the Central Division. The Wolves magic number to clinch a playoff spot is three. They also have two games in-hand over the Moose to further distance themselves atop the division. This could be back-to-back Central Division crowns for the Wolves if all holds together.
As daunting of an upcoming challenge as this sounds: the Admirals are 4-4-1-0 against the Wolves this season, three of those games went beyond regulation, and six games were decided by one goal. That can be said of the most recent meeting, as well. The Wolves won 4-3 in Milwaukee in early-March. That came down to a controversial boarding call against Petter Granberg that opened the door for a Zac Leslie power-play goal with 1:47 remaining in regulation.
In March the Wolves went 9-3-1-1. A major factor for that was goaltender Oscar Dansk who yesterday earned the honors as CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month. He went 6-1-1-1 in 9 starts during the month of March with a 1.75 goals-against average, 0.941 save percentage, and also earned a 28-save shutout on the road against the San Antonio Rampage back on 3/2/18. That run in March included his lone start against the Admirals where he stopped 30/33 shots in the win.
Someone else who has been on a heck of a run this season has been T.J. Tynan. The former member of the Cleveland Monsters has had his best AHL season. He has 56 points (13 goals, 43 assists) in 66 games in 2017-18 with the Wolves. With one more goal he will surpass his career best set back in 2014-15 as a member of the Springfield Falcons.
Not far behind him, doing things we in Milwaukee have been used to seeing him do, Teemu Pulkkinen is having a great season for the Wolves. In 68 games the Finn has produced 54 points (22 goals, 32 assists). With Brandon Pirri‘s recall to the Vegas Golden Knights yesterday – Pulkkinen is the active leading goal scorer on the Wolves roster tonight.
Behind Pulkkinen in goal scoring for the Wolves is Paul Thompson. This season the 29-year old has 33 points (20 goals, 13 assists in 69 games. He also happens to be the leading scorer of this season’s Amtrak Rivalry with 8 points (6 goals, 2 assists) in 9 games against the Admirals.
What are your expectations for tonight’s game? How will the Milwaukee Admirals respond tonight after being roughed up by the Grand Rapids Griffins?
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