Defenseman of the Year
Owen Miller had as much on his to-do list as anyone else on the ice for Meadville Bulldogs this season. And the senior captain came through for the squad. That’s why he gets the nod for our 2013-14 Hockey Defenseman of the Year.
Most of the Bulldogs hockey players that ended up at the top of their stat sheet this season were, unsurprisingly, from the forward line. Miller is one exception. Even while playing from the blue line, he was the team’s third- leading goal- scorer with 14, and he was fourth in total points with 29. He was also second on the team in power play goals with eight.
“(Miller’s) growth from an offensive standpoint was really a positive,” said Bulldogs head coach Jamie Plunkett. “If you look at his numbers from one year to the next, they almost doubled. And we were so offensively starved this year. We needed all the help we could get on the rush.”
Yet, it wasn’t just Miller’s ability to be an extra scorer on the ice that earned him Player of the Year. He also had to be a sturdy anchor for the ‘Dogs’ defensive unit, holding it together during quite a stormy season.
“We had a really young defense,” said Plunkett. “We had a freshman in Barrett Hoffman. We had to move a forward, Chace Vickers, to defense. We were without Magnus Jager for most of the year. We missed Gabe Stein with a broken jaw for most of the year. Trevor Johnson was a forward that we had to move back to defense, and his preferred position is a center.
“So, a lot of the burden fell on Owen Miller.”
Therefore, Miller had quite a large portion of responsibility spooned onto his plate this season. And he handled it like a senior should.
“Owen’s numbers are pretty impressive when you consider he had to play a lot of minutes,” said Plunkett. “And the (Pittsburgh Amateur Hockey League) we were in was a very difficult league. And I thought he handled all of that very well. He never complained, never felt sorry for himself. He was really the guy that we relied on in every situation — power play, regular shift, penalty killing.”