Tag: Gabriel Bourque

Beyond the Bradley Center: Admirals Look to Overcome Slow Start, Score More

2012-2013 Milwaukee Admirals: 9 G.P., 4-5-0-0–8 pts., 21 goals scored, 24 goals allowed, 12th place in the Western Conference. Leading scorer: Taylor Beck (1 goal, 6 assists, 7 points).

Best Recent Win: Oct. 31 5-4 over Charlotte. Worst Recent Loss: Oct 20 1-0 at San Antonio. Key Upcoming Matchup: Nov. 10 at Rockford.

On a historic political night in the state of Wisconsin, I thought I would take time to chime in on the Milwaukee Admirals season for the first time this season. Its great to be back. Hopefully we will be hearing the same rhetoric soon from the NHL.

Obviously, 4-5-0-0 was not the start Milwaukee was looking for coming off the fast finish of the 2011-2012 campaign. However, considering how few goals the Admirals scored so far (just 21, 7th worst in the AHL), things could be much worse. After Milwaukee suffered through a disastrous Texas road trip, the Admirals responded with two big wins in a three game stretch.

But I felt growing pains were to be expected in Milwaukee this season, especially early. Other than a few key veterans in familiar roles (Chris Mueller, Jonathon Blum, Jeremy Smith), the Admirals again sport a young roster full of fresh faces. Milwaukee is also being guided by its fourth head coach in a little over two years, and it can argued that its third philosophical change. Lastly, in a league rich with top NHL prospects due to the lockout, two of the Admirals’ key potential Predators, Ryan Ellis and Gabriel Bourque, have only made a limited impact due to injuries.

The biggest issue so far for Milwaukee has been a lack of consistent goal scoring. Too many nights sustained offensive pressure hasn’t been there leaving Jeremy Smith left to bail the team out (a job he’s quite capable of).  There have been a couple of major bright spots, notably the offensive efforts of rookies Patrick Cehlin and Mattias Ekholm, plus timely goals from Mark Van Guilder.

Honestly, I can’t help but be excited about the Admirals despite the slow start. Though lacking the major weapons of a team like Oklahoma City, the Admirals are deep with quality players. Defensively, Milwaukee has displayed a nice balance between offensive/transition blue liners and solid stay at home defenders.

This weekend Milwaukee plays Rockford for the first time this season. After last year’s terrible showing versus the IceHogs, Milwaukee will looking to take an early leg up on the season series.

So Roundtable . . . What did you think of Milwaukee’s start? Were you hoping for more? Are you seeing the positive signs I am seeing? Is Game 1 against Rockford a measuring stick game?

Grant Lewis Sparks Milwaukee’s 6-1 Victory Over Oklahoma City

Remember those early season troubles with Oklahoma City?  Consider them a thing of the past.

Grant Lewis carried the day for Milwaukee, racking up a three point night as the Admirals completely shut down the Barons with a 6-1 victory Wednesday’s night.

Things didn’t look good for Milwaukee in the early going as Oklahoma City center Milan Kytnar opened the scoring just 1:29 in.  But the Barons got into penalty trouble from that point forward and Lewis took over.

First Lewis helped setup Gabriel Bourque’s power play goal five minutes in.  Then in the final minute of the first period, Lewis doubled his goal total with a power play tally.  52 seconds later Ryan Flynn picked up the back breaker for the Admirals, giving Milwaukee a 3-1 lead with just five seconds left in the opening stanza.

Milwaukee added three more goals in the second period for the final margin of victory.  First it was Ryan Thang, then Lewis scored his second of the game, and finally Andreas Thuresson closed out the scoring.  The Admirals coasted home from there with a rather uneventful third period.

After a rough first AHL start in Milwaukee on Tuesday, goaltender Anders Lindback had a solid night in between the pipes for the Admirals, stopping 32 of 33 shots.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee lit up longtime NHL netminder Martin Gerber with four goals on just 17 shots, before chasing him out of the net in the second period.

Tonight marked the Admirals first action against the Barons with Zack Stortini in the line up, but the heavy weight goon was quiet against Milwaukee.  Stortini picked up just one minor penalty for tripping late in the first period.  However, that penalty resulted in the Admirals’ second goal.

Along with Lewis, Milwaukee got multi-point nights from Roman Josi (2 assists), Blake Geoffrion (2 assists), Ryan Thang (1 goal, 1 assist) and Gabriel Bourque (1 goal, 1 assist).

No Linus Klasen in the line up proved no problem for the Admirals offensively on this two-game southern swing.  Milwaukee racked up 11 goals in the back to back games.

With the win the Admirals actually gained some separation in the Western Conference race.  Milwaukee moved up to 75 points on the season, which is four in front of second place Peoria.

The Admirals return home Friday for another clash with the Chicago Wolves.  It is Milwaukee’s only home game in their next five contests.

So Roundtable, what do you think of the outstanding night from Grant Lewis?  Could he a be a solution to Milwaukee’s power play struggles, or was tonight’s effort just a fluke?

What Steve Begin Brings to Milwaukee

Anytime a player with an NHL pedigree such as Steve Begin’s gets assigned to an AHL club, the league’s fans get excited.  These players offer the hardcore hockey fan a name they can recognize and not a prospect they have to do their homework on.

But for the Admirals supporters who don’t know much about Steve Begin, let me shine a little light on the subject.  At 32-years old Begin is no rookie.  His best offensive days (10 goals in 2003-2004 and 11 in 2005-2006) are behind him, yet Begin proved effective in his checking role with the Boston last year.  This was especially true during the playoffs when Begin took advantage of expanded ice time as the Bruins lost key players to injuries.  During the off-season Begin likely would have resigned in Boston if the Bruins weren’t so strapped by salary cap issues.

Despite his limited offensive game, Begin remains an effective two-way forward and a menace to play against.  The Quebec-native is a constant competitor on the ice, who skates with a work ethic that makes him easy to coach.

Therefore Begin seems a natural fit in blue-collar organization like Nashville, a team that prides itself in playing a gritty style.  Begin’s time in Milwaukee will involve conditioning to get his NHL legs back under him after he missed all of training camp as an unsigned free agent.

However, if an opportunity on the Predators third or fourth line appears, expect Begin to be one of the first players General Manager David Poile inquires about.

(Author’s Note:  Steve Begin played his first game with the Milwaukee Admirals Sunday at Chicago, picking up an assist, while centering the team’s starting line with Chris Mueller and Gabriel Bourque.  He also took a controversial penalty late in third period that effectively ended Milwaukee’s comeback hopes.  To hear coach Lane Lambert thoughts on the call, check out Andy Grebe’s game recap Blog, Wolves Fend Off Ads 4-3:  http://admiralsroundtable.com/2010/10/24/wolves-fend-of-ads-4-3/)