By Warren Kozireski —
With three weeks remaining in the regular season, to say Stefan Miklakos has improved would be a gross understatement. And we’re not just referring to his offensive numbers, which stood at nine goals and 16 points over 18 games after recording just eight points as a freshman.
“He went from a player last year that found himself in the penalty box a lot because he plays with an edge, he’s chippy and he can get emotion and we had a postseason meeting last year (and told him) we don’t want you playing for us if that’s how it’s going to be all the time,” Geneseo head coach Chris Schultz said.
“He took four or five months thinking about what I said and he’s come back and he’s been an offensive threat and that’s exactly how we need him playing. It’s amazing when you put your energy and focus, control your emotion and use the skill that God gives you and you go out there and do it.
“He’s actually a great success story for us right now.”
The sophomore forward through the first 18 games this season had already doubled his point total from a year ago and almost doubled his goals.
“This summer I worked on my skill-set a lot, worked more on the mental side of the game, a lot of video and reading the play, and I’ve gotten more of an opportunity this year too,” Miklakos said in late January. “I have great linemates as well and they are able to find me in open areas and I feel like we gel well, so it was good to go into the season.
“I try to be an energizer, I try to get into the play fast, pump some bodies and get on the offensive side a little bit more—I’m trying to shoot more this year. The more I play with my head up, the more opportunities I get, so I feel like when I’m energized and my compete level is high, I’m playing my best hockey.”
Miklakos split both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons between Pelham High and the Connecticut Jr. Rangers 16U squads before joining Avon Old Farms prep school for two seasons. One-plus season in the NAHL with Lone Star and another half season back in Connecticut led him to Geneseo.
“My Avon coaches were pushing me to play in the BC (British Columbia) to play more of that skill game, but I did get a call from Lone Star and they thought I could bring that energized play and unfortunately I battled a couple of injuries. He was a tough coach to play for, but I learned a lot from him, landed in a great spot (back) in Connecticut and I took a lot of the things I learned from there (Texas) and incorporated them into that league.
“It (going back to Connecticut) was a good switch; I was able to play more and I was able to get more puck touches.”
Miklakos grew up rooting for the New York Islanders, but is a fan of Toronto Maple Leaf Mitch Marner largely due to their similarities in play and physique.
And like most players, he will always remember his first collegiate goal. It came in the third period against Nazareth on Oct. 30, 2021.
“Came down the right side with speed, cut the middle hard and I just ripped a shot really fast blocker side. It’s one of my main moves, but it doesn’t always work because there’s a guy coming hard down the middle that wants to take your head off.”
(Geneseo Hockey Photos)