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Milwaukee Admirals Update (April 8)

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators
Admirals Finish Regular Season, Look to Playoffs

OVERALL…The Admirals enter the final week of the season with a 43-28-4-2 record and 92 points, good for a third-place tie with Houston. Milwaukee has won two games in a row now after dropping two consecutive contests to San Antonio earlier in the week. The Admirals have three games in three days this weekend for the third straight weekend, but all of the them will be against one team: Houston.

VS. HOUSTON…The Admirals and Aeros finish the regular season with three straight games beginning Friday night at the Bradley Center and concluding with games in Houston on Saturday and Sunday. The Admirals have won four of the first five contests between the two teams, including Saturday night’s 2-1 win at the Bradley Center. In the first four meetings, the Ads topped the Aeros 3-1 at the Bradley Center Nov. 8th, won 3-2 in a shoot-out at the Toyota Center on November 25th, and beat Houston 4-3 in a shoot-out on March 30th. The Aeros beat Milwaukee 4-1 on November 23rd in Texas. In 90 all-time meetings between Houston and Milwaukee the Admirals have a 51-30-2-7 mark. Former Admirals radio color analyst Troy Ward is now an assistant coach for the Aeros.

EARLIER THIS WEEK…The Admirals posted a 2-1-1 record last week week, dropping a pair of games to San Antonio in Texas before returning home for wins over Houston on Saturday and the Rampage on Sunday. On Wednesday the Admirals had leads of 1-0 and 2-1, but San Antonio’s Jon DiSalvatore tied the game at two with under a minute to play in regulation to send the game into OT. Joey Tenute’s tally at 1:48 of the overtime session won the game for the Rampage and giving Dov Grumet-Morris the loss in spite of making a team high 50 saves in the game. On Friday night San Antonio scored three times in the second period to take a 4-1 lead on their way a 4-2 win. Josh Langfeld and Antti Pihlstrom scored for the Admirals. Saturday night, Pekka Rinne stopped 21 of 22 shots in earn his league-leading 34th win of the season, while Matt Ellison and Andreas Thuresson each scored to lead the Ads to a 2-1 win over the Aeros. Then Sunday afternoon the Ads jumped out to a 2-0 lead and held on to beat the Rampage 2-1.

NEXT STOP: PLAYOFFS…The Admirals win over San Antonio last night secured their spot in the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs, the sixth consecutive year that the team has qualified for the post-season. While the Admirals are in, when and who they play is still has jumbled as ever. Milwaukee is currently tied for third place in the West Division with Houston and could finish anywhere from 2nd place to fifth. Rockford is currently in second place with 94 points, followed by the Admirals and Aeros (92 pts) and then San Antonio (90 pts). Should the Ads end up in fifth they would cross over to the North Division and play Toronto in the first round. If the season ended today, the Admirals would lose the tie-breaker with Houston and thus earn the fourth seed and a first round match-up with Chicago.

ROOKIE HONORS…Admirals defenseman Cody Franson has been named to the AHL’s 2007-08 All-Rookie Team. Franson leads AHL rookie defensemen in goals scored (11), assists (25), and points (36) in 73 games with the Admirals. His 23 assists are tied for the top spot among Milwaukee blueliners and his eight power-play tallies are second most on the entire team. The Sicamous, BC native has posted five multi-point games, including a two-goal effort February 5th at Manchester, and he has also tallied a pair of game-winning goals. During the month of February Franson averaged almost a point a game, recording 13 points (5g-8a) in 16 contests. Franson, the only player from the Western Conference selected to the team, is the first Admiral to accomplish the feat since Timofei Shishkanov garnered the honor in the 2003-04 season.

PLAYOFF PACKAGES…Ticket packages for the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs are now on sale. For the first time Admirals Playoff Packages feature a discount over the regular season ticket price, and they also include the same seat to each of the Admirals 16 potential post-season home games. Packages start at $336 for seats in the Admirals Quarters (all seats in the first row), $244 per seat for tickets in the Stern and Bow (sections 203-211 and 217-225), $282 for seats in the Mid-Deck (sections 226-202 and 212-216). Individual game ticket information for the post-season will be available at a future date.

WELCOME TO MILWAUKEE…The Admirals have signed a pair of players to amateur try-out contracts (ATO). Defenseman Craig Switzer begins his pro career after spending the last four seasons at the University of New Hampshire. The Predators 9th round pick in the 2004 draft, Switzer posted 20 points (6g-14a) in 38 games for the Wildcats in his senior season. Goaltender Mark Dekanich recently finished a four-year career at Colgate University. The North Vancouver, BC native posted an 18-16-6 record this season with a 2.16 goals against average, a .924 save percentage and six shutouts in 41 games with the Raiders.

LENDING A HAND…Cal O’Reilly’s assist on Josh Langeld’s goal Wednesday night was his 60th helper of the season, making him the first player since Tony Hrkac in 1996-97 to top the 60 assist plateau. O’Reilly’s 60 assists are third best in the AHL this season and his 78 points are tied for fourth most in the league and tops on the Admirals roster. Selected as the AHL Player of the Month in February, O’Reilly also leads the Admirals in plus/minus (+10) and short-handed goals (5).

WELCOME BACK…The Nashville Predators have reassigned goaltender Pekka Rinne to the Admirals. Rinne spent the last two weeks with the Preds and he saw his first NHL action since the 2005-06 season last night against Chicago where he stopped all eight shots he faced in 30 minutes of action. The Kempele, Finland native has posted a 33-23-2 record this season to go along with a 2.51 goals against average, a .908 save percentage and five shutouts for Milwaukee. A two-time AHL All-Star, Rinne became the just the second player in Admirals history to record two 30-win seasons after also hitting the 30-win plateau during his rookie campaign of 2005-06.

PREDATORS UPDATE…The Nashville Predators, the Admirals’ parent club, punched their ticket to the post-season last week for the fourth consecutive year. The Predators will square off with the top-seeded Detroit Red Wings in a first-round match-up that will begin next Thursday night in Detroit. Rich Peverley, who has spent half the season with the Admirals, played a key role in the Preds push to the playoffs. The Guelph, ON native has a pair of goals in his last three games and scored the game-winner in overtime in Nashville’s crucial 4-3 come-from-behind victory last Tuesday night over St. Louis.

OVER THE AIR AND ON THE WEB…
The Admirals have a new home for their radio broadcasts this season on Sports Radio 1250 WSSP 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 B2 Networks. Simply go the Admirals website at milwaukeeadmirals.com and click on the B2 logo.

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