UND men's hockey: Miller to play future team
UND recruit J.T. Miller has never seen a game in Ralph Engelstad Arena. Tonight will be the first one. And it won't be any ordinary visit. Miller, an Ohio native, will be wearing No. 11 for the U.S. Under-18 team, which will play against the Siou...
UND recruit J.T. Miller has never seen a game in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Tonight will be the first one. And it won't be any ordinary visit.
Miller, an Ohio native, will be wearing No. 11 for the U.S. Under-18 team, which will play against the Sioux in an exhibition game at 7:07 p.m.
"I couldn't be more pumped," Miller said. "It will be a pretty special experience. I don't think we've ever played in front of a crowd as big as this one. The atmosphere is going to be unbelievable. I'll be playing against my future teammates. It will be good to get a feel for it."
Miller committed to UND in October, giving the Sioux a grand 1-2 punch of recruits from the National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Star forward Rocco Grimaldi committed to the Sioux in the summer, but will not be in Grand Forks this weekend because he's with the U.S. World Junior team. Miller, a 6-foot-1, 198-pound forward, may actually go higher in the 2011 NHL Draft than the 5-foot-6 Grimaldi.
A scouting report on NHL.com says Miller possesses "exceptional speed, playmaking ability and creativity," to go along with his physical play.
"I think I have a little bit of skill," Miller said. "But it's a lot of hard work, high battle level, intensity, making hard, simply plays. I like to be physical. I like to have that presence on the ice and I use my speed to my advantage. My three big focuses are being big, fast and physical."
Miller, who leads the team with 16 assists and ranks third in scoring with 20 points, chose UND over the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League. He visited UND last spring along with Grimaldi when the U.S. Under-17 team was playing against the Fargo Force of the United States Hockey League.
Now on the Under-18 team, Miller plays a schedule that includes USHL and college teams. His squad played against the Force on Friday night and Miller said they will be fired up to play the Sioux.
"It's a bigger stage," he said. "We feel like we play that much better in big games.
"They're not going to make it easy on us, though."
While the fans may give Miller a warm welcome, the Sioux team will be sending a few players on the ice who haven't played much early this season and will be eager to make a statement.
New look lineup
Jason Gregoire and Brett Hextall are still injured. Brock Nelson and Derek Forbort are with the U.S. World Junior team. UND coach Dave Hakstol also said he would rest players if needed.
Captain Chay Genoway was among the banged-up players last weekend during UND's sweep of MSU-Mankato.
Sioux junior goalie Brad Eidsness, who has played just two periods since Nov. 1, is expected to get playing time, too.
- After the game, UND players will go on break for a week. They will return to Grand Forks after Christmas to prepare for the Dec. 30 Hall of Fame Game at Minnesota-Duluth.
- The last time UND played against the Under-18 squad in 2008-09, the Sioux won 5-2. That Under-18 team featured two players who are already in the NHL in Cam Fowler and Jeremy Morin.
- The Under-18 team currently is 0-5 against Division I teams this season.
Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .