Arizona goalie smokin'

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:37 AM ET

Mike Miron's nickname Tiny is a big stretch.

The Arizona Sting goaltender -- at 5 ft. 10 in. and a whopping 265 lb. -- is not only the biggest starting goaltender in the National Lacrosse League, he's one of the biggest players -- period.

Miron will backstop the Sting tomorrow night when he visits the defending NLL champion Calgary Roughnecks for the West Division final (8 p.m., Ch. 30).

As a goalie, Miron is the last line of defence in a league known for a lot of scoring -- hardly an enviable task.

Perhaps that's why Miron, in his fourth NLL season, is known to sneak out before and after games for a cigarette.

Sting head coach Bob Hamley said given Miron's job and the pressure that comes with it, it should be no surprise he enjoys a puff or two.

"It's a nerve-racking position," Hamley said, laughing.

"It's like a field-goal kicker. Either you're a hero or you're a bum. Maybe that's why he has the habit of smoking.

"I probably would, too, if I played goal."

Calgary went 2-1 against the Sting this season, scoring 48 goals on Miron.

As a big man with limited mobility, Miron relies on his angles more than his reaction time to make saves.

Calgary sniper Kaleb Toth, who led the team with nine goals against Arizona this season, said his teammates know the scouting report on Miron and what they must do to beat him.

"The trick against him is you have to pick your corners," said Toth.

"Don't throw a lot of fakes because you know he's not moving. Pick a corner and fire. He has a hard time moving side to side."

Miron knows the onus is on him to cover those corners and give shooters little to aim at.

"As an angle goalie, you're thriving on knowing where the net is at all times and knowing how much is showing," said Miron.

"Three or four inches the wrong way, you're caught. Obviously, I don't thrive on my reactions, so it's all about footwork and positioning."

Miron, who didn't pick up a lacrosse stick until he was 17 after spending his childhood as a hockey goalie growing up in Sudbury, Ont., has defied lacrosse convention by starting the sport so late and excelling to its highest level.

Given his size and limited experience, Miron has had his critics but Hamley defended his 'tender.

"Mike's taken a lot of heat," said Hamley. "But here he is, one of the last four goaltenders in the playoffs. He has to be doing something right.

"The kid is a good lacrosse player. We have a lot of confidence in him right now. He's been part of our foundation over the last three years."


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