The parody between the NHL and AHL within an organization is usually pretty good. The systems are the same and even the structure of special teams scenarios mirror one-another. It isn’t too often I’d imagine that the results reflect though.
On Friday night, the Nashville Predators and Milwaukee Admirals both suffered lack luster 3-0 shutout defeats. They both returned the favor in their next outing by recording a shutout of their own with a final score of 4-0.
The defeat on Friday night for the Admirals ended their franchise record nine game winning streak. Was it an AHL All Star break hangover? If it was, it really only impacted the Admirals ability to finish off chances. They had more shots, 28-21, than the Grand Rapids Griffins. It was all down to not being able to get the better of netminder Jared Coreau who recording a thirty-eight save shutout against the Iowa Wild the night prior and followed that up with a twenty-eight save shutout of the Admirals.
So how do you respond to a flat effort on offense in your next game? With purpose. The Admirals played in Grand Rapids the next night and earned a power-play within the opening minute of the game that resulted in the first of two goals for Colton Sissons. It got the 8,767 in attendance quiet right away and ended a shutout streak for the Griffins that hit 141:56 of ice time over four games. It was cruise control from then on as Magnus Hellberg stopped all twenty-six shots he faced to earn his tenth career AHL shutout with the Admirals.
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A storyline that hasn’t bit the Admirals too much this season has been injuries. There have been some nagging blows here and there but nothing that has sidelined multiple players for a lengthy amount of time. Johan Alm has missed the last twenty-two games for the Admirals due to an upper body injury. That has been the biggest blow suffered this season. This weekend the Admirals suffered two injuries in-game that will sideline Rich Clune and Jimmy Oligny.
Friday night, Clune was on the right wing of an odd-man rush for the Admirals when he took an awkward hit into the boards and crumpled to the ice. He needed to be helped up off the ice by Austin Watson and team captain Joe Piskula. Clune never put weight on his right leg as he was helped to the Admirals bench and taken down the tunnel en route to the locker room. He missed the road game in Grand Rapids the next night.
Oligny would suffer a similar fate on Saturday’s game. The 21-year old defenseman was on the backcheck and lost an edge before crashing skates first into the end boards. As he hit, his skates locked to the wall and his body bolted upright and caused his right knee to crunch in at a bad angle. He left the game immediately after suffering the injury in the second period and did not return.
Both Clune and Oligny don’t have a time table at the moment but, if it means anything, Garrett Noonan‘s recall from the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL should signal that Oligny will not factor into Tuesday night’s Admirals game. Milwaukee currently has Zach Budish up from the ECHL and brought him up from Cincinnati as a precaution to a Friday morning practice injury that made Triston Grant a game-time decision. Budish was able to play in place of Clune in Grand Rapids and should be involved in Tuesday night’s contest as well.
While the injury bug may have made a cameo the good news is that the Admirals month of January was huge. In twelve games they won ten and clawed back massive amounts of ground that seemed long gone after a rough December. They are second in the Midwest Division and trail the Rockford IceHogs by three points with three games in-hand.
This week, the Admirals will be on a collision course with the division leaders. After playing the Lake Erie Monsters on Tuesday it is a Friday-Saturday, two-in-two, home-and-home between the Admirals and IceHogs. Friday night’s game is in Milwaukee and Saturday takes place in Rockford. The IceHogs have no other games this week so their focus will be firmly set on the Admirals. Hopefully the game on Tuesday continues their shutdown style of hockey and it spills right into the weekend set.