The Milwaukee Admirals, Nashville’s primary developmental affiliate in the American Hockey League, enter this weekend’s games – a home-and-home slate with the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday and Saturday night – with a 2-4-1 record. A week ago, the Admirals went 1-2-0, sandwiching a victory over the Peoria Rivermen on Oct. 24 with losses to Lake Erie on Oct. 22 and Chicago on Oct. 25. Friday’s victory was the first professional win for netminder Mark Dekanich, a fifth round pick of Nashville in the 2006 Entry Draft who spent the past four seasons at Colgate University. The Admirals also received goals from six different players in the victory, with four of those goals coming from Nashville draftees or free-agent signees.
Antti Pihlstrom was one of those four goal scorers, giving him goals in four games. He leads Milwaukee with five goals, ranking him among the league leaders. Pihlstrom (5g-3a) is tied for the club lead in points with Cal O’Reilly (3g-5a), a fifth-round pick of the Predators in 2005. He rides a five-game point streak (3g-4a) into this weekend’s games.
Another first-year pro, 2007 second rounder Nick Spaling picked up his first professional goal on Saturday night against Chicago and finished the week with five points (1g-4a) in three games. After being held scoreless in his first three games, he now has six points (1g-5a) in his last four contests, placing him third on the Admirals roster in points.In major-junior action, 2007 first-round pick and Vancouver Giant Jonathon Blum ranks among the Western Hockey League defensemen leaders in points with 13 (4g-9a) through just nine games, while posting a eye-popping plus-19 rating. Blum notched his first three-point game of the season last Saturday in a victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Also in the WHL, Nashville’s second of two 2008 first-round picks, Chet Pickard, has been a workhorse in net for the Tri-City Americans, and posted his first shutout of 2008-09 with a 20-save effort against the Everett Silvertips last Saturday.
In the NCAA ranks, Nashville’s other 2008 first rounder, Boston University’s Colin Wilson, is picking up where he left off last year when he was Rookie of the Year in Hockey East. Last Saturday, Wilson posted three assists in a big Terriers victory over the University of Michigan, and is currently ranked second on BU in points with six (1g-5a) through five games. Out west, a pair of 2006 Preds draftees – Ryan Flynn of the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Blake Geoffrion of the Wisconsin Badgers – went head-to-head in a two-game series last weekend. The clubs skated to a 2-2 tie on Friday night, while Flynn’s Gopher squad took a 5-2 decision on Saturday.