Admirals, Aeros Begin West Division Finals Thursday
Apr 29, 2009
After sweeping the Rockford IceHogs in the first round, the Admirals are ready to step back on the ice after a week long waiting period. Milwaukee will host the Houston Aeros in the West Division Semifinals beginning Thursday night at 7:00 pm at the Bradley Center.
Milwaukee was 3-3-0-0 against the Aeros in the regular season, and the games were gritty battles with plenty of rough play and crowd pleasing hits. Houston ended the regular season 3rd place in the West Division, 20 points under the 1st place Admirals. They gained their second round playoff spot with a game seven victory over Peoria, winning 5-2.
So far in the playoffs, the Admirals have seen points come from the players who have been expected to contribute all season long. Cal O’Reilly leads the way with 6 points (2g 4a), including two goals in game 1 of their first series to help them cruise past Rockford. Mike Santorelli notched his second hatrick of the season in game 4, in addition to tallying two assists for a total of 5 points. Patric Hornqvist has also made his presence felt with 2 goals and 2 assists as well.
On the opposite end of the ice, Corey Locke has come up big for the Aeros, totaling nine (5g-4a) points in their seven games against Peoria with 4 goals and 5 assists. Ex-Admiral Matt Beaudoin will also make his return to the Bradley Center with 8 points under his belt. The playmaker accumulated six assists in his first playoff games.
If Admirals netminder Drew MacIntyre plays the rest of the playoffs like he did in the first round, it will certainly give the team big boost. MacIntyre has allowed only one goal per game in the playoffs thus far, making for a .963 save percentage.
Anton Khudobin stands in net for the Aeros, bringing with him a .906 save percentage from the first round. The Russian netminder started all seven games of the series and played all but 12 minutes against Peoria.
If Houston wants to excel in this series, they can rely heavily on their power-play to do a bit of the action. They have seen a 32.3% success rate since the beginning of the post season, while the Admirals have only profited from 16.7% of their power-play opportunities, scoring twice out of 12 chances.