By Warren Kozireski–
In the National Hockey League’s annual draft, some first rounder selections will play 100 of more games at the highest and, for each round afterward, a smaller percentage will. The mission of many later round picks is to prove the “experts” and scouts wrong.
New York Islander third round pick, Ben Mirageas of nationally ranked Providence College is in this latter group.
Mere months after being selected, Mirageas began his collegiate career as a true-freshman (18 years old) and reinforced the Islanders faith by netting eight goals and 11 assists, was +5 and played in all 40 games.
“For myself, I think there have been some expectations coming off a decent freshman year and that’s helped me really round out my game in the “D” zone and being more of a two-way player,” Mirageas said in late December.
“Getting pucks on net quick after stick-handling at the point and that’s one of the areas of my game that I need to continue to work on even this year. I need to play a good defensive game, but I can’t lose the offensive side.”
Mirageas left Newburyport High at 15 years old to join Avon Old Farms for two seasons and then with his older brother, Zack in Bloomington of the USHL before being traded to Chicago, where he helped the Steel win the Clark Cup.
Now a sophomore defenseman with Air Force. Zack has been a role model for Ben.
“Since the time we both stepped onto the ice, he’s probably been my greatest mentor. Even now that we live under separate roofs, I continue to look up to him and I’ve heard from numerous people that he looked up to me too even though we’re two years apart. If we both continue to do that, I think we can develop our games even further.”
Mirageas spent part of this past summer in his second development camp with the Islanders.
“First year the main goal is to get a little more comfortable playing with the pro guys and getting my feet wet in the pro atmosphere. I think this year going back, I kept gathering info on how to treat my body like a pro, eat the right things, good nutrition and working hard in the weight room.”
The 77th overall selection and left shot blueliner need look no further than fourth round Islander ick Devin Toews, who just made his NHL debut in December after three years at Quinnipiac and two years in the AHL.
“I think the jump from college to the AHL is not as big as everybody thinks and from the AHL to the NHL, so I need to keep working hard every day and giving it my all.”