Ads Try to Stay Above Aeros
Milwaukee, WI—The West Division Finals of the Calder Cup Playoffs pits the top two teams in the Western Conference against each other in the Milwaukee Admirals and the Houston Aeros. The teams are no strangers to each other in the playoffs as this is the fourth postseason match-up in their ten year history in the American Hockey League.
The Admirals come into the series riding the momentum of a three game winning streak as they beat the Texas Stars in six games, including a 3-2 double overtime nail-biter on Monday night in a game that lasted over 90 minutes.
The Aeros had a less dramatic opening round as they sank the Peoria Rivermen in four games completing the sweep on April 19 winning 2-1 in Peoria. The Aeros will have had ten days to rest their legs before they travel to the Bradley Center for the first game of the series.
The Ads and Aeros playoff history dates back to the IHL in the 1998 playoffs where Milwaukee took down Houston in the second round three games to one. More recently, the Ads and Aeros faced off in the 2009 Calder Cup Playoffs where Houston escaped in seven games to win the West Division Final match-up. The teams traded sweeps in their other two postseason series as the Ads won 4-0 in 2006 on their way to the Calder Cup Finals, and got swept in the second round in 2003 when Houston won the Calder Cup.
Milwaukee wrapped up the top seed and home ice advantage for the Calder Cup Playoffs as they finished the regular season winning their fourth West Division Championship in eight seasons. The Admirals had success in the regular season against the Aeros going 4-0-1-1, including a perfect 3-0 at home.
In the opening round the Admirals got an impressive 17 points between forwards Gabriel Bourque (5g-4a) and Chris Mueller (3g-5a), including a franchise playoff record tying five point night from Bourque in game one. Ryan Thang (2g-2a) and Roman Josi (4a) have also chipped in four points a piece to help pace the Ads.
The Aeros used scoring by committee in the opening round with five players scoring three or more points, led by left-winger Patrick O’Sullivan’s four points on two goals and two assists.
Both clubs had outstanding performances from their netminders in the opening round, as Jeremy Smith stood solid in goal for Milwaukee starting all six games and turned in an impressive game six effort making 52 saves. For Houston Matt Hackett saw all the action in net having a .923 save percentage and 1.67 goals-against average in four games.
The Admirals had three games go past regulation in the opening series against the Stars, and it is a good possibility that will happen in this series as three of the six regular season bouts with the Aeros went to extra time, including two shoot out games.
Game one and game two will take place at the Bradley Center with the series kicking off Friday April 29 at 7 pm with game two commencing Sunday at 5 pm. Fans can purchase tickets by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or logging on to milwaukeeadmirals.com, while fans looking for playoff packages, group tickets or more information should call the Admirals office at (414) 227-0550. Don’t forget to follow the Admirals on Twitter (@mkeadmirals) and on Facebook!