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Milwaukee Musings: Growing Pains

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The week of boring losses.

Milwaukee Admirals

The Admirals finished October and kicked off November with three straight divisional losses — two in overtime and one in regulation. Although they still sit atop the standings, the Admirals have an excellent opportunity to rectify last week with three divisional match-ups this week against the Chicago Wolves and Rockford Ice Hogs.

Headlines & Standings

AHL Standings - 11/5
theAHL.com
  • The Admirals power play continued its putrid effort, going 1/12 on the week, including a 0/7 performance against the Ice Hogs
  • Filip Pyrochta has by no means been flashy, but I like the little things he’s done. He’s showed good vision on the first pass out of the defensive zone and hasn’t committed too many unforced errors. I’ve liked his pairing with Brian Cooper, generally, but Joonas Lyytinen needs to be finding the ice as much as possible.
  • Rachel notes that Nick Baptiste is a -10 on the season. He’s averaging 3.15 shots per game, so I can’t imagine his line is being out-muscled for possession all that much. I’d be curious to track the defensive pairing he’s on the ice with most frequently — my guess is Tinordi & Carrier.
  • Eeli Tolvanen is shooting 1.75% on the season, but Rachel notes some positives in his game:

[His] puck management and control are impressive. He makes very smart plays in both ends. Will he find a center who can dish him the puck? Maybe some time with Emil Pettersson will help?

Weekly Game Recap

October 30: Milwaukee Admirals vs. Manitoba Moose

Box Score - 10/30
theAHL.com

After a dull first period of back-and-forth perimeter chances, the second opened with a beautiful cross-crease save by McCollum only to be erased by Sami Niku completely undressing the Admirals to take the lead.

Nick Baptiste tied the game with five minutes to go in the second after a nice zone entry effort by Filip Pyrochta. But it was Baptiste who was caught without his head on a swivel as the Admirals surrendered to the Moose in overtime.

November 2: Milwaukee Admirals vs. Rockford Ice Hogs

Box Score - 11/2
theAHL.com

Rockford saw Zach Magwood score his first two professional goals with two solid wrist shots. However, each goal was answered—by Jacob Nilsson, Dylan Sikura, and Darren Raddysh connecting on offense and finally winning it in overtime.

November 3: Milwaukee Admirals @ Grand Rapids Griffins

Box Score - 11/3
theAHL.com

Jeremy Gregoire opened the scoring by dancing around Brian Lashoff and helping the puck trickle past Sateri. The Griffins responded on a broken-play, tap-in goal where Frederic Allard lost his assignment. McIlrath posted the game-winning goal on a slapper from the point off an offensive zone draw.

Trending Up

Zach Magwood: Magwood — who has been up & down in the ECHL & AHL — found the net this past week for his first two marks of the season. Magwood impressed this past summer and earned himself an NHL contract despite only scoring 52 goals in three seasons in the OHL. He won’t be a barn-burner but it’s nice seeing him use his impressive wrist shot and contribute some depth scoring.

Matt Donovan: Donovan was rewarded for his near point-per-game start to the season with a two-year, two-way contract from the Nashville Predators. After getting re-introduced to the American League game in his first couple appearances, Donovan has been lights out.

Check out my player breakdown here.

Trending Down

Alex Carrier & Jarred Tinordi: Where to even start. Geez. This pairing has been an absolute disaster. It seems nearly every goal against comes with these two on the ice.

To get to the bottom of this, I did a quick look at this week alone. This sample size is meaningless, but I will be keeping track of this throughout the season. Carrier and Tinordi combined for a 20.0% Goals-For percentage this week alone — giving up five of the seven goals the Admirals surrendered this week. Furthermore, the duo had a Goals-For% of -40.0 relative to the rest of the Admirals when on the ice. Watch out for a larger analysis of this as the season goes on.

Final Thoughts

Rachel made the astute observation that McCollum and Grosenick gave the Admirals every chance to win these last three games, but — aside from the Manitoba game — the team just seemed effortless.

There’s obviously no need to hit the panic button here; the Admirals have only lost twice in regulation. But November will be a real test for this team, and — more importantly — an opportunity to further separate themselves from the pack.

Whenever Rocco Grimaldi returns, that will help. Plus, presuming Austin Watson returns to the Nashville lineup when his suspension ends on November 13, that will create a ripple effect of reassignments. Once Grimaldi and, say, Frederick Gaudreau return to Milwaukee, I imagine you will see Zach Magwood and maybe Matt Lane returned to Atlanta to join Carl Persson.

All statistics are courtesy of eliteprospects.com.