Tonight is a big one. The Milwaukee Admirals need to win out and the Rockford IceHogs need to lose out inside of regulation for the rest of the regular season schedule. Both have three-games remaining. Both play tonight. The Admirals could well be up against the sword as their game is taking place and a win could end up feeling quite blank by the final horn.
All that the Admirals can control is the game in front of them. That means defeating the Central Division leading Chicago Wolves tonight after having been roughed up by them 5-1 at the Allstate Arena on Saturday night. This night has many combustible elements to it. If things play out correctly the Admirals could extend their playoff hopes to Friday night.
The Wolves currently have a record of 39-22-7-4 (89 points, 0.618 points percentage) and lead the Manitoba Moose (0.603) for the top spot in the Central Division. If the Wolves lose in regulation tonight they would maintain the lead of the division by a single point.
The contest Saturday night wasn’t pretty. The Admirals looked slow and lacked quality across the board. The only goal for the Admirals came shorthanded and thanks to a gaffe by Oscar Dansk who passed behind the net right to Frédérick Gaudreau for an empty net. That was all the Admirals could really generate and the Wolves buzzed with pace and capitalized on mistakes to cruise to the win.
What could be interesting is that the Wolves have not played since that game. The Admirals are coming off of the frenzied 3-2 overtime win against the Iowa Wild on Sunday. I would expect the Wolves to have plenty of energy but I’m curious if the Admirals can keep riding the wave of emotion out of their performance. Both can also afford to bury the gas tank if needed, too. Neither play again until Friday. Quite frankly, the position the Admirals are in, they need to be playing with desperation from start to finish and be as relentless as possible to take care of their end of things.
This is the final head-to-head between the Admirals and Wolves in the regular season schedule. It has been tight: Admirals (5-5-1-0), Wolves (6-2-1-2). The leading scorer in this series is Paul Thompson who has 10 points (7 goals, 3 assists) in 11 games. The Admirals have three players at 7 points in this match-up: both Bobby Butler and Anthony Richard have 4 goals and 3 assists in 11 games.
Tonight can also mark the final run of the “Admirals Killer” Brett Sterling. The soon to be 34-year old forward feels as though he could have made a living off of his efforts against the Admirals. In 62 career games against the Admirals he has produced 55 points (31 goals, 24 assists). If the Admirals make the playoffs they will need the Wolves help to beat the IceHogs next weekend, if the Wild hold serve tonight, and then the Admirals would see the Wolves in the opening round. Sterling is set to call it a career after this season. He has been a pest to the Admirals but do respect what he has done should this turn out to be the last rodeo for Sterling in Milwaukee.
On this day two year’s ago the Admirals clinched the Central Division. Tonight could see them miss the Calder Cup Playoffs for just the third time in the team’s AHL history as well as for the second time in four seasons. These games played from the Admirals have all needed to have a playoff mentality and approach for success. The Admirals will need that tonight in order to give themselves a chance to push on to Friday night.
What are your expectations for tonight’s game? Can the Milwaukee Admirals get past the Chicago Wolves in order to give themselves a chance? If all plays out well: do you like the Admirals chances to survive the final weekend of the season given they would play the Wild while the IceHogs would play the Wolves?
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