Miller provides scoring touch for North Allegheny hockey

Thursday, December 28, 2017 | 11:00 PM

Registering important goals for club hockey teams didn't move the meter for many of Aaron Miller's classmates at North Allegheny. Putting in crucial tallies for the Tigers left a more endearing mark.

The North Allegheny junior forward kept that in mind when he decided to return to playing for the Tigers after a year focusing on club.

As a freshman, Miller scored the game-winning goal for the junior varsity team in the championship game.

“It's moments like that you can't match,” Miller said. “Once that happens, and the entire school hears about it, it's a special moment. That's the kind of thing you wouldn't have with a AAA (club) hockey team, coming back to school and seeing everyone so happy with that.”

Having a touch for goal-scoring has turned Miller into a stalwart for a deep North Allegheny (6-3-1) team. Miller has recorded a team-high 11 goals — including one game-winner and one short-handed — and scored in 10 different games.

Will Parreaguirre, Haden Shimo, Tyler Duderstadt and Tyler Putnam are all tied for second in goals scored with three.

“Our team has a lot of playmakers on it,” Miller said. “We have so many good players and depth on the team. With the lines, each guy has the opportunity to make plays. It's really a combination of everyone being able to step up and make plays to make that happen.”

Tigers coach Mike Bagnato was thrilled to have Miller back. His scoring touch was a needed commodity. North Allegheny has found ways to create offense and ranks fifth in goals per game in the PIHL's Class AAA with an average of 3.10 goals per game.

“It didn't take him long,” Bagnato said about Miller meshing with his teammates. “We had tryouts in August; right after tryouts we started to get into it. One skill that our group has is we've been good about moving the puck. We have some speed and some skill.”

Bagnato hopes Miller's scoring touch will catch on throughout the line. North Allegheny, which returned from break against Central Catholic on Jan. 2, lost two one-goal contests to Bethel Park and Mt. Lebanon before heading into break.

“We had a very good start, and we need to keep tightening up on the defensive side,” Bagnato said. “Honestly, we need to find a way to score a few more goals. We went through some stages with that early in the year where we were getting the breaks.”

Miller's hoping North Allegheny's next big break will have the school buzzing, whether it is a big Tigers' win or another timely goal.

“There's something special about playing for your high school team,” Miller said.

“You get to play with some of your friends you see every day; it's something you can't match with a club team.”

Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.


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