Milwaukee Admirals vs. Manitoba Moose: Calder Cup Playoffs Round 2 Series Preview
Catch up on the Milwaukee Admirals before their postseason starts tonight!
The Milwaukee Admirals' postseason starts tonight, and the team recently posted a great series preview here. You should spent a few minutes to read over what the series could look like for the Ads and the Moose. I break it down below.
Not much separates the Admirals from the Moose in the standings. Both teams boast outstanding goaltending, interesting prospects, and gritty veterans.
I'm looking to Milwaukee's veteran crew to lead the younger guys--Phil Tomasino, Luke Evangelista, Egor Afanasyev, and Spencer Stastney--through the playoff ups and downs. While a few of these guys have experience from last year's Calder Cup run, it's pretty clear that the Admirals have a great combination of veterans and youngsters.
Milwaukee sees scoring from all over the lineup. Their defensemen contribute points-wise, but their offense is dangerous. The edge for Milwaukee will be in net. Yaroslav Askarov will likely get the nod in Game 1, but Devin Cooley basically stole the series for Milwaukee in 2022 against the Moose. Cooley can be counted on in this round, too. Aside from Dustin Wolf in Calgary, very few AHL netminders have the attention on them that Askarov does. Nashville's leadership will be watching him closely, too; Askarov has played in playoff series in the KHL/MHL, but this will be his first on North American ice.
The Moose's most impressive scoring comes from their defensive corps. Their players will shoot from nearly anywhere. Devin Cooley commented to the Admirals website that "They like to shoot a lot from anywhere, get pucks on net, and have guys driving hard to the net."
Manitoba will favor a physical game, and in the AHL, that physicality is noticeable. They'll look to stifle Milwaukee's speedy players and cut down on chances in front of the net. Even more, I expect to see a lot of after-whistle scrums and pushing and shoving. Manitoba won't forget that the Admirals defeated them in last year's second round, and while there's not exactly bad blood, there will be fights and penalties. Finally, Moose goalie Arvid Holm will look to impress for the Jets organization.
Keep Your Eye on This Guy
Luke Evangelista (MIL) -- This is the obvious choice, but Evangelista will be eager to build on a 15-point run in NHL action with a return to form in the AHL. He nearly led rookies in the AHL in points this season despite his recall to the Predators partway through. Evangelista is a sparkplug for Milwaukee's offense, and he's shifty enough to squash Manitoba's physical game with his speed and skill.
Alex Limoges (MTB) -- Pronounced "Li-moge", Limoges is experienced, scores nearly at will, and is unafraid to bust into the zone without support for a scoring chance. He had 54 points for the Moose in the regular season, and while it may seem obvious to choose the Moose's leading scorer for this section, Limoges will be a player that Milwaukee will want to stifle and smother.
How to Watch
It's no secret I'm a huge fan of AHL TV. I believe some local Milwaukee radio stations will cover the game, but your best bet to catch all the action would be via AHL TV. The Admirals Twitter is a great follow, too.
Remember, this series is a best-of-5. See the below breakdown (all times are Central):
Game 1 - Friday, 28 April - Milwaukee at Manitoba - 7:00
Game 2 - Sunday, 30 April - Milwaukee at Manitoba - 2:00
Game 3 - Wednesday, 3 May - Manitoba at Milwaukee - 7:00
Game 4 (if necessary) - Friday, 5 May - Manitoba at Milwaukee - 7:00
Game 5 (if necessary) - Saturday, 6 May - Milwaukee at Manitoba - 6:00
Milwaukee is gambling on their excellent away record; opening up this series on the road and stealing a win would be incredible.
Milwaukee or Manitoba would face the winner of the Rockford IceHogs–Texas Stars series. Rockford is Chicago's AHL affiliate, and the Stars are Dallas's AHL affiliate.