Game Day #2 sees the San Antonio Rampage continue their season-opening homestand with a visit from the Milwaukee Admirals at the AT&T Center. San Antonio is looking to build on their 4-0 opening night win against the Grand Rapids Griffins, which saw Ville Husso earn a shutout in a 28-save effort.
We caught up with Admirals radio broadcaster Aaron Sims (@aaronadmirals ) to get the 411 on the matchup and his thoughts on Milwaukee’s start to the 2018-19 season.
- 1) (RC) The Admirals opened their season with a 4-3 win over the Texas Stars. What stood out to most about their win in their season opener?
(AS) The team played with speed. There are more players who can utilize their speed this season than there has been in the past few years. The Admirals had 11 players on the lineup card, including backup goalie Tom McCollum, who never played in Milwaukee before. The line of Emil Pettersson, Rocco Grimaldi and Anthony Richard was excellent.
- 2) Rocco Grimaldi is someone Rampage know very well after his years in San Antonio. He scored on a breakaway in Milwaukee’s win over Texas. What are your thoughts on what he will bring to the Admirals this season?
Milwaukee was very lucky to have Viktor Arvidsson play for the Admirals a few years ago. Grimaldi reminds me of him. It’s not just his size. His motor is unbelievable. He chases pucks, gets great angles for shots and puts himself in the right spot. He was the last player cut by Nashville. He’s always in the mix for a job in the NHL. He’s a likable player personally and professionally. Selfishly, I hope he’s here all season because I think his attitude, work ethic, and leadership will help this team go further than they have in the past few years.
- 3) The Rampage have not had much success with the Admirals in their history. What is it about Milwaukee that makes them such a difficult opponent?
In the past, the players were very disciplined and well-schooled in the defensive systems. A lot of those games have been close. Milwaukee probably had better talent, from the first player on the list to the 20th player, than San Antonio. The top 10 or 12 players may have been equals, but the depth probably favored Milwaukee. With this new parent club, St. Louis, that has changed. The Admirals have had a more difficult time with Chicago, where the Blues placed their prospects, the last couple of years. I’m anxious to see how the teams match up with two new head coaches.
- 4) The last time these two teams met, the Rampage won 5-4 in a shootout. Who comes out on top in Tuesday’s first matchup of the season?
It was Milwaukee’s first shootout loss last year (the Admirals finished 11-2 in shootouts). I’m not much on predictions. I liked, mostly, how the Admirals played Saturday at Texas. San Antonio has some awfully good players, including former Admirals captain Trevor Smith. I voted for Ville Husso for all the awards last season. The Rampage has some really good veterans. I just like to see entertaining, crisp games.
- 5) Tell us something we should know about the Admirals.
Since the team joined the AHL in 2001, only one coach lost his first game. That was Lane Lambert in 2007. Peter Horachek (a former Rampage coach), Claude Noel, Kirk Muller, Ian Herbers (a former Rampage assistant), and Dean Evason all won their debuts. Karl Taylor joined the list Saturday. Troy Grosenick is the first Milwaukee native to play for the Admirals. Coach Taylor wants to play a fast, puck-possession game (don’t we all?). It’s a work in progress with so many new bodies coming together, but he likes what he sees so far.
San Antonio Rampage – W, 2018-19 Home Record 1-0-0
Milwaukee Admirals – W, 2018-19 Road Record: 1-0-0
San Antonio Rampage: 2 points, 4 GF, 0 GA, 1 ROW, 5th in Central Division
Milwaukee Admirals: 2 points, 4 GF, 3 GA, 1 ROW, 4th in Central Division
The Rampage have not had much success against the Admirals over their history against the Nashville Predators affiliate. Last season, San Antonio went 2-1-1-0 against Milwaukee in four meetings.
The Rampage earned a 5-4 shootout victory over the Admirals on the road in the final meeting between the two clubs in the 2017-18 season. Nicolas Meloche, Reid Petryk, and Shawn St-Amant all scored in the game. Brendan Ranford netted the game-winning goal in the shootout.
Milwaukee Admirals (1-0-0) at San Antonio Rampage (1-0-0)
AT&T Center, Tuesday, October 9
Puck drop: 7 pm Central Time
Where to watch: AHL TV
Keys To Victory
The Rampage will be looking to build on their 4-0 opening night win that saw goaltender Ville Husso post a 28-save shutout. Drew Bannister’s team was quick to loose pucks and aggressive on their forecheck from the opening puck drop. Milwaukee’s speed will be a test for the Rampage as will former fan favorite Rocco Grimaldi.
In the end, it will likely be a high-scoring affair for both sides but if Husso is in net, I’d give the advantage to the silver and black.
San Antonio Rampage – 4
Milwaukee Admirals – 3