IN THE NEWS

MILLER MAKING HIS MARK

By George Darkow,

One of the most exciting young talents in Oklahoma City hockey isn't a heavy-fisted enforcer. His slap shot doesn't register in the high 90s on radar guns, and he's not known for rattling the boards with thundering checks.

What the Oklahoma City Barons' Andrew Miller does possess is a rare combination of speed, vision, discipline and intelligence that more than makes up for his 5-foot-10, 185 pound frame.

"I'm a smaller guy, so I've got to avoid the bigger guys," Miller said. "But (speed) gives me a jump on the defense where other people might be a little slower to make a turn and get there.

"I try to take advantage of my speed and use it," Miller added. "So far I'm still learning how to use it in the best way, but hopefully I'll be able to harness it and become a good player using my speed."

Modest as Miller is, he has already amassed quite a hockey resume in his 25 years. In his junior career, Miller led the USHL in scoring for the 2008-09 season and won the league's Player of the Year and Forward of the Year awards as alternate captain of the Chicago Steel.

Later, while seeking a political science degree at Yale University, Miller made an immediate impact for the Bulldogs, leading all Yale rookies in assists (29) and points (34). By his senior year in 2012, Miller had been named the Bulldogs' captain and helped guide Yale to its first ever National Championship, netting a game-winning goal in overtime of the semifinal round of the Frozen Four tournament and being named the event's most valuable player.

Stu Wilson, Miller's former teammate at Yale said: "I couldn't imagine anyone doing a better job (as a leader). I thought he handled the ups and downs of the season very well.

"(While I was) a freshman, he was really great because he often gave little tips throughout the season to help me succeed as an individual," Wilson added. "It seemed like everything he did last year was the right thing to do, and he led us to a championship."

Already in his first professional season, Miller is tied for second on the Barons in assists and tied for fifth in total points. In a mid-November meeting with the Abbotsford Heat, Miller's line accounted for 10 points and four of the Barons' eight goals in the two-game series, with Miller tallying a goal and three assists.

Though his early success has helped him inch closer to achieving his career goal of playing in the NHL, Miller understands his role within the Edmonton Oilers organization and continues to revel in his opportunity as a member of the Barons.

"Oklahoma City is a great stepping stone," Miller said. "The guys here are great; the coaches are great; and I love it here."

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