, ,

‘It’s been amazing’: Milwaukee Admirals have won 18 games in a row

Admirals go for 19 consecutive wins on Saturday

The Milwaukee Admirals are in the American Hockey League, the league below the NHL. The team beat the Texas Stars on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024. Evan Casey/WPR

The Milwaukee Admirals are on a historic hot streak.

With their 4-0 victory against the Chicago Wolves Thursday, the team extended their winning streak to 18 games in a row — the second longest number of straight wins in the history of the American Hockey League.

The professional ice hockey team hasn’t lost a game yet in 2024. The streak started on Jan. 5 with a 1-0 win against the Colorado Eagles. The Admirals haven’t looked back since, outscoring their opponents 73 goals to 26 in subsequent games.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Head coach Karl Taylor said it’s been fun for the team, but they’ve been focused on taking it “one game at a time.”

“It is a really fun thing as well, so we have to find a way to enjoy it, embrace it and just really realize that it’s something special,” Taylor said at a press conference Friday. 

Milwaukee Admirals head coach Karl Taylor speaks to the press on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. Evan Casey/WPR

The club still has a ways to go if they want to catch up to the 2011-12 Norfolk Admirals, who hold the AHL record with 28 straight wins.

“Have we thought about it (the record)? Yeah, for sure we have, that would be really fun,” Taylor said. “We’ve had a great run, it’s been amazing.”

The run has had a little bit of everything — including two shootout wins and seven shutouts. The Admirals also set their franchise record for consecutive wins.

Aaron Sims has spent 19 years as the play-by-play broadcaster for the team, which is the AHL affiliate for the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League. In that time, he’s never seen a run quite like this one.

“They’re unflappable,” Sims said about the team. “Nothing gets to them. If they’re down, they fight through adversity in the game.”

In the last few weeks, Sims has had the chance to make some exciting calls, including the moment when player Cody Hodgson scored his first goal in eight years. Hodgson joined the Admirals after retiring when he was diagnosed with malignant hypothermia. He scored his first goal since the 2015-2016 season Thursday against the Wolves. 

“It’s young players learning, it’s old players playing like they’re young again, they just refuse to lose, nothing rocks or rattles them, it’s really just wonderful to watch,” Sims said. 

Jason Metke is a bartender at Major Goolsby’s, a sports bar next to University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panther Arena, where the team plays. 

“We always get good crowds anyway, so with the streak, regular — not hardcore — fans are coming to check it out,” Metke said. “It’s a big buzz in the city.” 

“More people are learning about the Admirals. A lot of young people don’t even know about them — yeah, it’s been cool,” he added.

Sims said he understands that there’s other bigger sports teams in Milwaukee who draw larger crowds than the Admirals do. But he said in the last few weeks and months, he’s noticed a big uptick in attendance at the games.

“Winning and having interesting characters and being able to tell those stories, that has helped immensely,” Sims said. 

The Milwaukee Admirals celebrate a win against the Manitoba Moose on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. Evan Casey/WPR

The longest winning streak in Wisconsin sports belongs to the Milwaukee Bucks, who won 20 straight games in 1971. 

“Yes, we’d love to get to that record, that’s a really impressive feat, but we’ll just try to win tomorrow,” Taylor said.

Taylor said the team has been easy to coach. He said a good mix of young players and veteran players has led to their success.

“We’ve got a bullseye on us now and we should — we enjoy that because we want to get the other team’s best game,” Taylor said.

But Taylor said the main focus is winning in the playoffs — last year the Admirals made it to the Western Conference Finals but lost to the Coachella Valley Firebirds. The last time the Admirals won the Calder Cup, the league’s version of the NHL’s Stanley Cup, was the 2003-04 season.

The Admirals lead the central division with a record of 35-10-1, or 35 wins, 10 losses and one overtime loss. They’ve also won 22 of their past 23 games, allowing just 44 goals in that stretch.

Saturday, they’ll go for win number 19 in a row against the Chicago Wolves, a team the Admirals have already beat eight times so far this season. 

“Let’s keep it going,” Metke said. “As far as I’m concerned, let’s not lose another one ’til the end of the year — let’s keep her going.”