East Palestine’s Miller makes Phantoms’ roster

Staff report


East Palestine native Matt Miller made the Youngstown Phantoms’ 23-man roster on the same day they boosted their blue line heading by acquiring defenseman Alex Smith from the Indiana Ice.

Miller, 18, played for the Detroit Compuware 18-under team last season. Miller’s brother is East Palestine native J.T. Miller of the New York Rangers.

In the trade for Smith, Youngstown sent a conditional sixth-round pick in Phase 2 of the 2014 USHL draft to Indiana.

A two-year USHL veteran, Smith, 18, adds valuable experience and puck-moving ability to the Youngstown defensive corps. The 6-foot, 180-pound blue liner is expected to join the Phantoms today in Ann Arbor, Mich., ahead of their season opener vs. Team USA.

“We’re very pleased to add a player of Alex’s caliber to our squad,” head coach Anthony Noreen said. “He’s a guy with two years of experience in our league, who’s proved he can produce and play a serious role on some good teams. He’s a guy that we hope can provide some depth to our back end.”

Smith, a Brownstown, Mich., native, recorded one goal and one assist for two points along with 19 penalty minutes in 12 games for the Ice in 2012-13. His season was cut short in October when he suffered a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the rest of the season.

Muskegon’s first pick (No. 5 overall) in the 2011 USHL futures draft, Smith recorded 2-13-15 and 49 penalty minutes in 47 games for the Lumberjacks in the 2011-12 season. He was dealt to the Ice in exchange for a pair of picks during the 2012 USHL entry draft.

“We’re talking about a guy who played [in the USHL] as an under-ager and put up 15 points. That’s pretty impressive,” Noreen said.

The Phantoms play tonight at 7 and face off against the U.S. under-17 team Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

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