ADMIRALS SPLIT FIRST TWO GAMES
Monday, 11 October 2010 18:45 | Written by Charlie Larson
Ads Have Home-and-Home Set with Chicago this Week
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OVERALL… The Admirals kicked off their 34th professional season and 10th as a member of the AHL last week by topping the Abbotsford Heat 6-2 and losing to Peoria 3-2. The Ads continue the college version of their schedule, i.e., two games per week, for the rest of October including a home-and-home set with Chicago this weekend. The Wolves will travel up to Milwaukee on Friday night at 7:00 before the Admirals make the trip down I-94 for Chicago’s home opener Saturday.
LAST WEEK…The Admirals opened the season with a 6-2 win over Abbotsford last night at the Bradley Center. The Ads fell down 2-0 after one period, but exploded for four goals in the second and scored six unanswered to earn the victory. Matt Halischuk and Linus Klasen each scored a pair of goals for Milwaukee, while Mark Van Guilder’s first AHL goal proved to be the game winner. Mark Dekanich turned aside 22 of 24 shots thrown his way to earn the victory. Then on Sunday afternoon the Admirals dropped a 3-2 decision to Peoria. Milwaukee fell behind 3-0 after the first period and managed a goal in the second and third periods, but couldn’t manage the equalizer. Kelsey Wilson and Andreas Thuresson tallied for the Admirals, while Grant Lewis posted two assists.
EIGHTY-SIX IT…Rookie forward Linus Klasen had quite a professional debut on Saturday night against Abbotsford. The Swedish forward tallied a pair of power-play goals to help propel the Ads by the Heat. Klasen, who wears jersey number 86 because it was the year he was born, has the highest number since Dave Saunders wore 89 during the 1988-89 season. Last year Klasen tied for fifth in the Swedish Elite League in points (51) and ranked ninth in goals (19) in 51 games during his third season playing at Sweden’s highest level.
WELCOME TO MILWAUKEE…Another player who is off to a good start this season is right wing Matt Halischuk. The Toronto native posted a pair of goals and an assist on Saturday night then had added another assist in the team’s loss to Peoria on Sunday. In 2009-10 Halischuk split the season between New Jersey and Albany (AHL), posting a pair of points (1g-1a) in 20 NHL games and 22 points (11g-11a) in 32 AHL contests.
THE FIRST TIME…Mark Van Guilder has been with the organization for parts of three seasons, but his goal on Saturday night was his first as an Admiral. It was made extra special since it gave the Ads a 3-2 lead in the game and turned out to be the game winner. The Edina, MN native added an assist on Sunday afternoon and now sports nine points in 35 games with Milwaukee. Last season Van Guilder averaged better than a point per game (15 pts in 14 games) to help the Cincinnati Cyclones to the ECHL Championship.
NAME TAGS, PLEASE…While turnover is the nature of the beast in the AHL, this year’s Admirals squad is comprised of a majority of new faces Out of the 23 players currently on the team’s roster just nine of them (Jon Blum, Mark Dekanich, Scott Ford, Teemu Laakso, Chris Mueller, Mark Santorelli, Chet Pickard, Nick Spaling, and Andreas Thuresson) spent more than half of the season in Milwaukee last year.
YOUNG GUNS…Not only did the Admirals turn over a significant amount of their roster from last season, for the most part the players they lost have been replaced with younger skaters. Gone are veterans like Triston Grant, Ben Guite, Dave Scatchard, who helped raise the team’s average age to 24.7 years old, while this year the current rosters average age is a green 23.1. Gabriel Bourque is the youngest player on the roster and one of two players to be born in the 90s. The Admirals currently have five players who are in the first professional seasons including Bourque, Julien Brouillette, Ryan Flynn, Blake Geoffrion, and Ryan Thang. While there can be a significant challenge adjusting to the pro game Flynn, Geoffrion, and Thang all got a taste of that level with the Admirals last season following the end of their college careers.
THE LAMBERT ERA…While the Admirals roster has turned over significantly from last year, the coaching staff remains in tact as head coach Lane Lambert returns for his fourth season behind the bench and assistant Ian Herbers is back for his second. Lambert has accumulated 135-81-5-20 record, which puts him in third place in franchise history in both wins and games coached. Lambert, who was an assistant with the team for one year before earning the head job, has helped make the Admirals the first franchise in American Hockey League history to record seven consecutive seasons of 40 or more wins and 90 or more points.
O CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN…Lambert has assigned defenseman Brett Palin as the team’s captain for the season. Palin is no stranger to the captaincy, having worn the “C” for Abbotsford last season before getting injured in November and missing the next four months. Prior to coming to the Admirals, Palin spent his entire five-year career as a member of the Calgary organization. He has accumulated six goals and 37 assists in 287 games with Abbotsford, Quad City, and Omaha. Fellow defensemen Scott Ford and Aaron Johnson will serve as the assistant captains.
WELCOME BACK…Kelsey Wilson returns to Milwaukee after one season with EC Red Bull Salzburg, which he helped win the Erste Bank Liga (Austria) title in 2009-10. The Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., native led the Austrian League in penalty minutes (265) while amassing 40 points (18g-22a) in 70 games a season ago. Prior to his season abroad, Wilson spent three campaigns with the Ads, leading the team in PIMs in all three seasons (2006-09). In 2008-09, the Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., native was one of just four AHLers to post at least 30 points (15g-17a-32pts) and 150 penalty minutes (160), and in 2006-07, he led all AHL rookies in PIMs (215). Wilson had a goal and an assist in two games last week.
WELCOME MR. BAKER…Forward Blake Geoffrion joins Admiral great Tony Hrkac as the only two players in franchise history to also win the Hobey Baker Award. The former University of Wisconsin star helped the Badgers reach the 2010 NCAA Championship game and became the first player in the school’s storied history to win the Hobey Baker. Geoffrion is the first Tennessean ever drafted in the NHL and scored two goals in three games during the playoffs with the Admirals last year, following the conclusion of his collegiate career. Geoffrion is also the first Badger to play for the Admirals since Olympic Silver Medalist Ryan Suter skated for the team in 2004-05.
OVER THE AIR AND ON THE WEB…For the fourth consecutive season Sportsradio 1250 WSSP will serve as the Admirals flagship station with Aaron Sims calling all of the hard-hitting end-to-end action. In addition, the team has a one-hour hockey magazine dubbed “Milwaukee Admirals Center Ice” that airs every Monday from 6-7 pm on WSSP. Fans can watch all Admirals games, home and on the road, live on the internet via NeuLion. Simply go the Admirals website at milwaukeeadmirals.com and click on the AHL Live banner.