The Phoenix Coyotes' win Tuesday night was big for a couple of reasons. First, they beat their division rivals, the Los Angeles Kings. Second, center Andy Miele recorded his first career points in the NHL.
Miele, 25, had played in eight career NHL games prior to this year -- seven in 2011-12 and one last season. Until his two assists Tuesday night, however, he had yet to make his mark in the stat books. Head coach Dave Tippett was impressed with Miele, especially for how far he's come since the Coyotes signed him out of Miami University (Ohio) in 2011.
"His game has certainly matured," Tippett told Arizona Sports 620's Dan Bickley with Vince Marotta. "When he was a young player coming up, there was some parts of his game that needed to improve. Faceoffs, just reads on defending and stuff. His game has really improved."
Tippett gave credit to Miele's work ethic during his time with the Portland Pirates, a Coyotes' minor league affiliate.
"Every time he's gone down to the American [Hockey] League, he focuses on the things he has to work on, he's wants to get better at them and he's waiting for his opportunity," Tippett said.
The Kings are an elite team, and, according to Tippett, not an easy opponent for Miele to face in his season debut. Yet, the center had the best game of his career, and opened a lot of eyes because of it.
"He jumped in last night and L.A. is not a small team, you've got to be ready to compete against big players," Tippett said. "He jumped in, he played a whale of a game for us.
"He continues to grow in our organization, and if last night's game is any indication, he'll continue to work his way into the NHL. It's great to see, he's a great young man. He really is. You like to see those guys make it because they do it off all sheer will and hard work."