We are almost three weeks away from the coming American Hockey League (AHL) season and with plenty of time to reflect on the team’s exploits last season, it is time to assess whether they can make the play-offs for the 13th consecutive year. This will be the youngest team ever to take to the rink in Milwaukee colours, so the pressure is on for them to deliver for the fans in attendance – week in, week out. The emphasis on strong performances is only supplemented by the fact that many Admirals players of old have jumped to NHL regulars – the Nashville Predators and launched their careers from strong outings in the AHL. This means that it likely won’t be just Milwaukee coaches and fans keeping a close eye this season.
Since 2010/11’s first-place finish in the Western Division Conference – in which they also made it to the second round of the play-offs – the team have been on a slow decline and have since finished second in the Midwest Division (2011/12 and 2013/13) and more recently – in 2013/14 – third in the Midwest. While these seasons have been successful by-and-large in getting the team to the play-offs, there will surely be a worry within the Milwaukee camp that the team are suffering a slow descent down the league – and on that needs to be curbed fast.
In all three play-off outings over the past seasons, the Admirals have taken beatings, losing 3-0, 3-1 and 3-0 respectively in their first-round series games. This is further evidence that while the team are able to compete at a high level, they are no longer an elite side like they once were (This season will be the ninth since their last play-off final appearance, when they lost 4-2 to Hershey Bears at the culmination of the 2005/06 season).
The team host the Charlotte Checkers in what will be the first time that Milwaukee have begun their season at home in as many as four years. Anyone looking to place a bet on the match at the various sportsbooks – and some of the best RTG casinos for 2014 that offer dual functioning casinos and sportsbooks – will know that this match will likely be a close affair, as the sides drew the 4-game series throughout the regular season at 2 games a-piece.
Zach Boychuk scored the game-winning goal for the Checkers on November 30 in their first meeting of the season, but Milwaukee evened the odds on December 1 when they earned a 2-1 on enemy soil (or ice).
The two games in Milwaukee also mustered a stalemate, as Philippe Cornet scored the finishing goal for the Checkers on December 27 to take the series to 1-2, before Milwaukee again tied it up with an emphatic 5-1 win to close out the season in their penultimate game of the year at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Given that was the most recent result between the pair, it would be great to see the Admirals push on and replicate a performance like that to start out strong on the opening day of the season.