Admirals Ready for Opener Tonight
Oct 10, 2008
The Milwaukee Admirals open the 2008-09 season tonight in San Antonio against the Rampage.
Milwaukee returns 12 players that played at least one game for the team, although not all could be considered regulars. Defensmen Cody Franson, Mark Matheson, Nolan Yonkman and Alex Sulzer spent the majority, if not the entire season, with the Admirals last year. The same can be said for forwards Ryan Maki, Andreas Thuresson, Cal O'Reilly, Kelsey Wilson, Mike Santorelli and Antti Pihlstrom. T. J. McElroy and Mark Santorelli appeared in games late in the season.
Tonight, Yonkman is out of the lineup. He's still recuperating a lower body injury. McElroy is out tonight, too.
New goalie Drew MacIntyre makes his Admirals debut tonight. Last season with Manitoba, MacIntyre was an AHL Second-Team All-Star. In 46 games with the Moose, MacIntyre posted a 25-18-2 record, a 2.32 goals against average and a save percentage of .921. Against San Antonio last season, MacIntyre had a 1-2 record with a 3.03 GAA and a .922 save percentage in three games.
San Antonio lost 13 of its top 15 scorers from last year's roster, including former Admirals forward Chris Durno (now with Lake Erie). The top returning scorer is forward David Spina. Spina scored 21 goals and 50 points for the Rampage last year and had a plus/minus rating of +13. The Mesa, AZ native is looking to become the first Phoenix Coyotes player from Arizona.
Tonight's game marks the debut of two highly touted youngsters from the Ontario Hockey League: Milwaukee's Nick Spaling and San Antonio's Brett MacLean. While playing for Oshawa alongside uber-prospect John Tavares, MacLean led the OHL in goals (61), power play goals (30) and finished second in points (119). He posted the numbers in 61 games. Spaling ranked second in power play goals (25), second in first goals (10) and finished with 38 goals and 72 points for the Memorial Cup runners-up, Kitchener.
Milwaukee was 4-3-1-0 against the Rampage last season. One of the wins was in overtime and another in a shootout. San Antonio won three of four against the Admirals at the AT&T Center last season. In eight games, Milwaukee scored 23 goals against the Rampage and allowed 31. The big reason for the disparity was a 7-0 loss 11/24/08 at the AT&T Center.
Goalie: Drew MacIntyre
Defensemen: Alex Sulzer-Cody Franson; Mark Matheson-Teemu Laakso; Robert Dietrich-Scott Ford
Forwards: Antti Pihlstrom-Mike Santorelli-Andreas Thuresson; Josh Gratton-Cal O'Reilly-Mark Santorelli; Triston Grant-Mark Van Guilder-Ian McKenzie; Geoff Peters-Nick Spaling-Kelsey Wilson (or Ryan Maki)
Goalie: Al Montoya
Defensemen: They are esxpected to dress seven. They are: Matt Jones, Dylan Reese, Drew Fata, David Schlemko, Sean Sullivan, Logan Stephenson and Ryan Lannon
Forwards: David Spina-Garth Murray-Chad Kolarik; Jeff Hoggan-Alex Bourret-Derek Nesbitt; Brett MacLean-Brad Schell-Simon Ferguson; Adam Keefe and Adam Perry are the other two expected to dress