The Milwaukee Admirals, the AHL affiliate of the Nashville Predators, have three games this week. They are heading into this week after an explosive win over the Chicago Wolves on Sunday. Here’s this week’s game previews.
Milwaukee will have their first two meetings with the Iowa Wild in Des Moines. Iowa is 8-4-1 this season and is sitting tied for third place in the division. They’ve dropped their last two matches. On Friday, they lost to the Bakersfield Condors in overtime 5-4 and lost again on Saturday to Bakersfield 4-3. Last season, Iowa was tied for fifth in the Central division with the Milwaukee Admirals. Iowa is led in points by former Milwaukee Admiral and Nashville Predator, Cal O’Reilly, with 15 points. Iowa’s goaltender Andrew Hammond has had 30 goals against so far this season and has a 2.97 goals against average.
The Milwaukee Admirals need to carry over the momentum from their Sunday night massacre of the Chicago Wolves, where they scored seven goals. Milwaukee has 462 shots on goal so far this season, which is an average of 28.875 shots on goal per game. Milwaukee’s ability to consistently put shots on goal will be a major factor in Milwaukee being able to walk away with all four points from these two matchups.
Milwaukee will also heavily benefit from Anthony Richard being back in the lineup. He missed two games after an injury in early November. He currently has 11 points so far this season and leads the Admirals with eight goals. His speed allows him to get quality scoring chances that make him the best offensive threat that the Admirals have. This will be key, as Iowa’s defense has been formidable so far this season. Iowa has allowed fewer goals that Milwaukee’s goaltender pairing.
Milwaukee’s Tom McCollum will presumably be getting the start in these two matchups. Troy Grosenick appeared to be injured at the end of Sunday’s game against Chicago after a Wolves skater collided with Grosenick in the goal. McCollum has been solid for Milwaukee with a 2.42 GAA. He has appeared in 11 games so far this season for the Admirals. There have been no updates on Grosenick’s condition.
Milwaukee’s penalty kill unit is going to be key in the two pairings with Iowa. The Wild lead the AHL with a 29.2% on the powerplay. With that being said, they have had the third fewest powerplay opportunities this season. Milwaukee’s powerplay sits at 18.8% but they have an 88.7% penalty kill rating.
Saturday November 17 (Home) vs. The Ontario Reign
Ontario is the top affiliate for the Los Angeles Kings, an organization that has been plagued with problems so far this season. Los Angeles goalie Jack Campbell is expected to be out 4-6 weeks with an injured knee, which led them to recall Ontario’s Cal Petersen. Petersen has appeared in 10 games for the Reign and had a 2-3-1 record and an 88.1% save percentage. Ontario as a team are 4-5-2-1 this season and are tied for last place in the Pacific Division. The only team with fewer points in the entire AHL is the San Antonio Rampage. Ontario split their last two matchups with the Stockton Heat. On Friday they lost 5-1 and on Sunday won 4-1.
The Reign have faced Milwaukee once this season already on October 17th. Milwaukee won 5-4 in overtime.
Keys to Victory
Ontario will presumably start Charles Williams in goal. Williams has made one appearance so far this season on the 11th against Stockton. He turned away 37 shots in that matchup. He appeared in two games with the Hartford Wolf Pack last season and had a 4.47 GAA. With little statistical data in the AHL it is tough to analyze his performance. One would think that with Williams’ little experience at the AHL level that the Admirals would need to pile on shots and see what goes through. Steady pressure throughout this match will be important.
It would be safe to assume that the Predators organization may have some roster moves coming up within the week. Austin Watson’s suspension ends, there are a few injuries up and down the lineup, and the Admirals have a few players that would be ready for the call up if need be. Players like Anthony Richard or Matt Donovan being called up to Nashville would have a big impact on this team’s performance. The Admirals would be wise to focus practice this week around players like Emil Pettersson and Eeli Tolvanen to fill in the scoring void that losing Richard or Donovan would create. It is also possible with Watson’s expected return that Milwaukee could see the return of Rocco Grimaldi or Frederick Gaudreau. Grimaldi is the more likely choice, as Gaudreau would need to clear waivers in order to be reassigned to Milwaukee. However, with Viktor Arvidsson on and off injured reserve, it is tough to say when or if this would happen.
This is the perfect set of matchups to help the Admirals rebuild their confidence after a tough start to November. Last Sunday’s victory of the Chicago Wolves should have created some momentum for the Admirals to rebuild their first-place lead in the division. The second place Rockford IceHogs have a bit tougher of a schedule this week. They play the Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday, the Texas Stars on Friday, and the San Antonio Rampage on Saturday. All of their games this week are away.
You can find game recaps of Milwaukee Admirals games here on PenaltyBoxRadio.com.