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Millan More Comfortable Entering Second Season

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

Kieran Millan was nearly perfect in his 2013-14 season debut for the Denver Cutthroats.

Millan finished with 34 saves in Denver's 4-1 win over the Tulsa Oilers at the Denver Coliseum on Friday night, and it was only an outside shot while the Edmonton, Alberta native was screened that was able to get past him.

Kieran Millan

He also made a penalty shot save in the first period to keep the contest scoreless at the time. Millan actually made two saves in the sequence as he stopped the first shot on the original breakaway, but the Tulsa player was hooked and was granted another chance to score. The Oiler wasn't able to find the back of the net on the chance as Milan saw the puck the entire way.

"It's funny actually, I had a feeling that he wasn't going to deke again," Millan said of the penalty shot. "Pretty common for guys to shoot low glove or high blocker. Kind of had a read on him."

Colorado's fifth-round selection (124th overall) of the 2009 entry draft had another solid performance the next night, as he made 36 saves and stopped 16 shooters in a 3-2 shootout victory for the Fish.

While it was Millan's first regular-season contests, the netminder had been plenty busy over the last month as he participated in the Avalanche's rookie and training camp, the Lake Erie Monsters' training camp and preseason, and the Cutthroats' two preseason games.

Millan said being at the Avs' training camp last month had a big impact on his preparation for this season.

"It's been nice to already have a month under my belt and having the experience at the Avalanche camp was fabulous. Getting to work with Francois Allaire and see Patrick Roy every day was pretty cool for me," Millan said. "You take a lot from watching the pros play and seeing what they do everyday and it definitely helps you out."

Millan is in his second season with the Cutthroats, and head coach Derek Armstrong said one of the biggest differences he has seen in Millan's game is the comfort level of a being a professional player.

"He's a second-year pro. Anyone in their second year on a job learns the position a lot more," Armstrong said. "You come out of juniors or college as a high prospect, you have to mentally trick yourself to be a professional.

"He's been around the league, he knows what to expect and he looked comfortable in net."

The Avalanche hired Allaire and Jean-Ian Filiatrault as goaltending coaches for the organization this past summer, and Millan has already benefited from their expertise.

He said some of the techniques that the goalie coaches have stressed are stopping quickly and getting in position sooner.

"Little things like that, that you wouldn't think make a big difference, but they actually make the game a lot easier," Milan said. "Having a goalie coach, just hearing those kinds of things remind you to play the game properly and gives you that little bit of an advantage."

While he only spent about a week at the NHL camp, Millan said he learned a lot from the experience and is a better professional because of it.

"I think watching the NHL guys do the daily grind and how committed they were really opened my eyes," Millan said. "I had never been to an NHL camp, I played college hockey so you can't go to main camps while you’re a player. It was an eye opener, and I think I learned a lot and hopefully I can carry that onto this year and continue to play well."

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