The Milwaukee Admirals are ready to kick-off their 35thseason in the American Hockey League on Friday, October 11. Following a loss in their final preseason match against the Iowa Wild last week, the Admirals open the 2013 season in Canada at the Abbotsford Heat. Earlier this week, the staff at the BMO Harris Bradley Center were prepping the ice for the team’s home-opener on coming up against Chicago. The frozen rink will be the only permanent structure at the downtown venue for the seven-month season, as other surfaces set for basketball and music performances will be laid right on top.
The Admirals preseason finale in Iowa looked like it would end on a high note until the Wild’s Taylor Matson scored an equalizing goal with just four minutes remaining in the third period. Milwaukee defenseman Scott Ford put a puck past goalie Darcy Kuemper early in the first to manage the Admirals sole score of the night, failing to capitalize on their only powerplay of the game later in the period.
Iowa came away empty from four of their own power plays during regulation, though a penalty in overtime to the Admirals Miikka Salomaki was the catalyst for a game-ending goal by forward Zack Phillips. The night’s slow play was highlighted by a stellar performance from Admirals reserve goalkeeper Marek Mazanec. Taking the place of starter Magnus Hellberg 30-minutes into play, Mazanec stopped 20 of the 22 shots he faced, including seven in overtime.
The Netminder corps of the Admirals 2013 roster is one of their strongest in years. A strong backup in Mazanec, the team holds a 2012 top-five performer in the Swede Hellberg. Drafted by NHL affiliate Nashville in 2011, Hellberg has stopped 916 of nearly 1000 shots against him since then, and is expected get the call to play behind the Predators Pekka Rinne soon.
Returning Admirals Lead The Charge
Others returning from last season’s playoff team include top scorer Austin Watson, who managed an Admirals-best 20 goals in his rookie year in 2012. Also a familiar face, the team’s leading assist-man forward Taylor Beck will be back in 2013. Beck is part of a trio of Admirals to have gotten late-season promotions to Nashville last year who will be back in the AHL in 2013; the other two are Joonas Rask and Kevin Henderson.
The coveted Calder Cup is the priority for the end of the 2013 season, a feat the team fell short of last year with four losses in the first round of the postseason. Though, maintaining the Admirals diligent fan-base is an equally as important goal say officials at the organization. One of the most attended farm-teams in the league, the Admirals have again partnered with a number of sponsors to host five fan-promotions this season.
2013 Milwaukee Admirals Promotions
– December 26th – Cowbell Night
– December 27th – Post-game performance by Milwaukee native Pat McCurdy
– February 1st – Post-game performance by the UW-Madison Band
– March 30th – Purina’s Bring Your Pet Day
– April 12th – Magnus Hellberg bobblehead giveaway