GLENDALE – Coyotes prospect Andy Miele turned heads this season competing for the Portland Pirates – the team’s top affiliate in the American Hockey League.
Miele, a nifty playmaker/puckhandler, notched 27 goals and 45 assists in 70 games playing for Portland, and twice was called up to the Coyotes during the season for stints of four games and three games. He tallied his first (and second) NHL point on Oct. 29 vs. the Los Angeles Kings.
Miele’s 72 points ranked tied for third in the AHL and his 45 assists ranked seventh. Recently, he was named to the 2013-14 AHL All-Star Second Team and to Team USA for the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Minsk, Belarus.
"I was really excited with my year," Miele said. "One of the things the Coyotes told me in my exit interview last year was that they expected me to produce more than I did last year, so being able to do that was important and feels good."
Miele credits being more comfortable as a third-year pro, playing simply and with more confidence, and the chemistry he developed with forward Tobias Rieder as the key components to his success this season.
With 179 points over three seasons, Miele already ranks ninth in Pirates history.
The Pirates finished 2013-14 with a 24-39-3-10 record.
It was a disappointing season, one that featured losing many key players to the Coyotes and a few via trade/retirement; 13 players played games for both Portland and Phoenix in 2013-14. By season’s end, the Pirates were playing games minus key defenders Chris Summers, Connor Murphy, Brandon Gormley and goalie Mark Visentin.
The Pirates played their home games in Lewiston, Maine - about 35 miles from Portland - because the team and the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland could not reach a contractual agreement until late in the season.
"It’s unfortunate the way the season unfolded," Miele said. "Not really having a home-ice advantage really got to us and showed in our record. But we had a real good group of guys and we all competed hard every game, and we all deserved better than what our record showed."
Like Miele, rookie forward Lucas Lessio, who began the season with the Coyotes, had an eye-popping campaign for the Pirates. Lessio notched a team-high 29 goals and only three other AHL rookies finished with more than his 54 points.
Rieder ended the season with 28 goals and 20 assists in 68 games. He scored two of his goals in his first pro game on Oct. 9 vs. Manchester.
Visentin, who was called up to the Coyotes on March 25 after starting goalie Mike Smith suffered what turned out to be a season-ending injury, notched 14 of Portland’s 24 victories.
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