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West Division Finals Kick Off Thursday

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators
Milwaukee, WI - The Milwaukee Admirals and Houston Aeros begin their best-of-seven West Division Final with game one of the series Thursday night at 7:00 pm at the Bradley Center with game two slated for Saturday night, also at 7:00 pm at the BC. The first-seeded Admirals swept the Rockford IceHogs in four games in the opening round, while third place Houston needed seven games to get past the higher seeded Peoria Rivermen.

Drew MacIntyre was the backbone to the Admirals first round victory over the Hogs. The Ads netminder stopped a combined 105 of 109 shots in the series and allowed just one goal in each of the four contests. From an offensive perspective, Cal O’Reilly led the team with six points (2g-4a), while Mike Santorelli posted five (3g-2a) in the series including a game four hat-trick. Patric Hornqvist and Jed Ortmeyer each chipped in four points and 17 of the 19 Admirals skaters picked up at least a point.

Center Corey Locke led Houston in scoring during their first round series against Peoria with nine points (4g-5a), while Matt Beaudoin was close behind with eight points. Anton Khudobin played all but 12 minutes in the first round and finished the series with a 2.45 goals against average and a .906 save percentage.

The Admirals and Aeros split their regular season series against each other, with each team winning a total of three games, two at home and one on the road. Santorelli led the Milwaukee offense versus the Aeros this season, registering seven points (2g-5a) in the six contests, but no other Admiral had more than four total points. Locke and team Captain Krys Kolanos each collected six points versus the Ads this season, while Clayton Stoner and Marco Rosa each added four. In net, MacIntyre was 2-3 with a 2.34 GAA and a .910 save percentage against Houston, while Khudobin gave up three goals on March 1st in his only game action versus the Admirals.

This series will mark the fourth time that the Admirals and Aeros have squared off in the post-season. The first time was back in the old IHL when the Admirals beat the Aeros 3-1 in the first round in 1997-98, before Houston swept Milwaukee in three games in the conference quarterfinals on their way to the Calder Cup Championship in 2003. The last time the two teams battled in the playoffs was in 2006 when the Ads returned the favor and swept Houston in four straight in the West Division Finals.

Former Admiral great Tony Hrkac came out of retirement in March to play for the Aeros. The current coach of the Concordia University men’s hockey team notched five points during their first round series, after picking up two goals and two assists in the final 12 games of the regular season. While Hrkac is the most prominent player with Admiral ties, Houston teammates Marco Rosa, Bryan Lundbohm, and Matt Beaudoin all have skated for Milwaukee in the past.

West Division Semifinal - Series "L" (best-of-7)
W1-Milwaukee Admirals vs. W3-Houston Aeros
Game 1 - Thu., Apr. 30 - Houston at Milwaukee, 7:00
Game 2 - Sat., May 2 - Houston at Milwaukee, 7:00
Game 3 - Tue., May 5 - Milwaukee at Houston, 7:00
Game 4 - Thu., May 7 - Milwaukee at Houston, 7:00
*Game 5 - Sat., May 9 - Milwaukee at Houston, 7:35
*Game 6 - Mon., May 11 - Houston at Milwaukee, 7:00
*Game 7 - Wed., May 13 - Houston at Milwaukee, 7:00
*If necessary

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