Admirals Capture West Division Crown
OVERALL...The Admirals enter this week's action with a 45-20-3-6 record and 99 points and have secured the West Division Title. The Ads lead a log-jam of teams in second through fourth place in the division. Houston and Peoria are currently tied for second with 82 points, while Rockford is just behind them with 80. The Admirals snapped a season long four-game losing streak with a 5-2 win over Chicago on Sunday. This week the Admirals will play four games, including their final three game in three night stretch of the season. The Ads travel to Quad City on Wednesday and will then host Lake Erie on Friday, travel to Rockford on Saturday and then finish the week with a 5:00 pm game on Sunday home against Chicago
LAST WEEK...The Admirals started the week with a 2-1 loss to the IceHogs in Rockford. Ryan Maki's second period power-play tally evened the score at one going into the third, but Rockford's Pete MacArthur broke the tie with less than five minutes to play in the game. On Wednesday night Milwaukee dropped a 4-1 decision to the Houston Aeros. Kelsey Wilson scored the lone goal for the Ads, his 15th of the season. Then Friday night, Peoria jumped out to a 4-1 lead and held off a late charge by Milwaukee as the Rivermen won 4-3. Maki, Mike Santorelli, and Jed Ortmeyer scored for the Admirals. Then Saturday night the Admirals could not hold a 3-1 third period lead and fell to Iowa 4-3 in a shoot-out. Hugh Jessiman, Oren Eizenman, and Nick Spaling lit the lamp for Milwaukee. On Sunday, Mike Santorelli scored his first career hat trick as the Admirals snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-2 win over Chicago at the All-State Arena. The win also secured the West Division Title for the Ads.
WEST DIVISION CHAMPS...The Admirals 5-2 win over Chicago on Sunday afternoon secured the West Division Title, the team's third in the past six seasons. The division crown assures the Admirals of home-ice advantage in the first two rounds of the Calder Cup Playoffs, which will commence the week of April 13th. The Ads opponent in the first round is still to be determined, but if the playoffs began today they would square off against the Rockford IceHogs, who currently sit in fourth place in the division with 80 points. Earlier this year the Admirals became the first franchise in American Hockey League history to record six consecutives seasons of 40 or more wins and 90 or more points. The Admirals still have six games to play in the regular season and are chasing the Manitoba Moose (104 points) for the best record in the Western Conference.
MARCHING IN...After suffering through a offensive slump in the month of February, Admirals center Mike Santorelli has been on fire in March, posting 22 points (11g-11a) and a +6 rating, including his first career hat trick. In eight of the team's 15 games, the Vancouver, BC native posted multi-point games and registered at least a point in all but three contests. He also scored the game-winning goal in four contests and his hat trick on March 29th helped Milwaukee secure the West Division Title. On the season Santorelli leads the Admirals with 70 points, 27 goals, and five game-winning markers.
BIG CROWDS...The Admirals attendance for Saturday night's game against Iowa was 15,602, the biggest crowd of the season in the AHL, eclipsing the 15,003 that Manitoba had on February 28th. The crowd was also the third largest since Harris Turer bought the Admirals in 2005. So far this year Milwaukee has drawn over 10,000 fans on five separate occasions.
GETTING THE CALL...Admirals center Cal O'Reilly was recalled by Nashville on Wednesday, the second recall of the season for him. O'Reilly tops the Admirals roster and is tied for ninth in the AHL with 69 points on 13 goals and 56 assists. The Toronto, ON native has 12 points in the month of March, including a pair of three point contests. O'Reilly has played in five games with the Predators this season, including Saturday night's game against Los Angeles when he posted the first goal of the NHL career in the Preds 4-3 overtime win
OTHER TRANSACTIONS...The Admirals have recalled forward James Sixsmith from Utah in the ECHL. It is Sixsmith's second stint with Milwaukee this season. The Alexandria, VA native has posted six points (2g-4a) in 17 games with the Admirals. In addition, Milwaukee has returned forward Adam Miller to Las Vegas of the ECHL. Miller posted a goal and a +2 rating in ten games with the Ads.
IRON MAN...With six games left to play this year, left wing Kelsey Wilson is the lone Admirals player to have skated in all 74 of the team's games, after Nick Spaling missed Monday's contest with Rockford. Currently in his third season with Milwaukee, Wilson has established career highs in goals (15), assists (17), and points (32), scored the first game-winning goal of his career, and he also leads the club with 135 penalty minutes. Last season, the Ads had four players, Cal O'Reilly, Janne Niskala, Alex Henry and Mike Santorelli, who played in all 80 games.
CLOSE CONTESTS...The Admirals 4-3 shoot-out loss to Iowa Saturday night was the 38th time this season that they have played a one-goal game, including 12 straight road games where the final score has been decided by just one goal. Milwaukee has had a successful record in those contests, posting a 24-5-3-6 record, although they have dropped their last three. Monday's 2-1 loss to Rockford on Monday night was also the 17th time this season that the final score of an Admirals game has finished 2-1. The team has posted an 11-3-3 mark in those frays.
OVER THE AIR AND ON THE WEB...For the second 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.
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