Welcome to another season of MiHockey’s Michi-gamer, now powered by Bauer Hockey.
We take great pride in our homegrown talent. Whether they grew up in the Mitten or we welcomed them here for college or juniors, they are our own. They represent the best place in the world for hockey.
Every night, we’ll keep an eye on those players, and every morning, we will pick one Michi-gamer of the night – one Michigan player who stood out above the rest.
The OHL’s Sarnia Sting had a big night last night, and Reid Boucher was one of the reasons why. Boucher, a Grand Ledge native, picked up two assists in the Sting’s 5-2 win over one of their rivals, the Windsor Spitfires. The NTDP alum is in his second OHL season, and already has 11 points in 13 games. Last year he recorded 50 in 67 games with the Sting. Boucher spent two seasons in Ann Arbor with the U.S. National teams, recording 34 points in 47 USHL contests. And before playing at the Cube, Boucher posted 120 points in 68 games with the Lansing Capitals midget major club. All of those reasons factor into why he was a fourth-round pick of the New Jersey Devils in 2011. The big club even had him skate in one AHL game last year, with their affiliate in Albany, N.Y.
Our first Michi-gamer nod to an ‘adopted’ player of the year goes to J.T. Miller, who picked up his first professional goal last night. Miller is the definition of a Michigan-adopted player; he moved from his hometown of East Palestine, Ohio, to play for the National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor in 2009. After two seasons of training at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube, he traveled down M-14 to play for the Plymouth Whalers, before taking the jump to the AHL level last spring for the Connecticut Whale’s playoff run. And last night, Miller scored his first goal in 13 total games with the Whale. The NTDP alum took a pass from fellow NTDP alum and former Wolverines forward Chad Kolarik, put a move on Adam Larsson (yes, the Adam Larsson picked fourth overall in 2011), then deked to the forehand for the goal.
More MiHockey articles on Miller:
It looks like Bryan Lerg is hitting his stride with Lake Erie. The Livonia native had two goals for the Monsters – the AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche – last night; his sixth game with his new club. With his two goals last night, Lerg now has four points in six games. Lerg, a Michigan State alum, joined the Avalanche organization after two seasons with the Penguins’ AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. In the 2011-12 season, Lerg had 27 goals and 26 assists for 53 points in 70 games. To prove further that he’s no stranger to lighting the lamp, here’s a fun fact – Lerg led the NCAA in game-winning goals (eight total) in 2006-07, the year MSU captured the national championship. The cousin of goaltender Jeff Lerg was undrafted out of college, but started his professional career by signing a two-year entry-level contract with Edmonton on April 1, 2008, just days after concluding his four seasons with the Spartans. Lerg is also an alum of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, playing there from 2002-04.
OCTOBER 23 – DREW MILLER
With no games played between the AHL, CCHA, OHL, USHL, etc., yesterday, we decided to start clicking around the web to see how our boys across the pond are doing. Drew Miller headed over to Scotland when the lockout commenced, and apparently, he’s fitting in quite nicely. On Saturday, his third game with the Braehead Clan, Miller scored the game-winning goal in a 4-3 victory over Fife. The East Lansing native and former Michigan State Spartan has two goals and one assist in three games with his new team, and if his most recent game is a sign of things to come, he’s going to become very popular in Scotland while he waits for the NHL to work out a new deal with his players’ union.
More MiHockey articles on Miller:
Chris Conner had himself quite a weekend. The Westland native, now a member of the Phoenix Coyotes’ system, is currently skating with the AHL’s Portland Pirates, and making a case that he should skate with the top club when the NHL resumes play. Conner, a Michigan Tech alum, had six points in two games over the weekend. On Friday, he recorded two goals and two assists in the Pirates’ 7-4 win over the Worcester Sharks. Then on the next night, Conner had two more goals, only to see his team lose to the Manchester Monarchs. In 57 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins last year, Conner recorded 16 goals and 37 assists for 53 points. And in case you’re wondering where Conner played his youth hockey, he said it was all over the place – including all three HPHL teams in our state (Little Caesars, Compuware and Honeybaked).
More MiHockey articles on Conner:
To see last week’s Michi-gamer winners, click here.