USHL: Des Moines Buccaneers’ top line

By Kevin Kasel

Batman and Robin. Tarzan and Jane. Yin and Yang. Abbott and Costello. Kane and Abel. Samir Saliji, Adam Miller and Marty Mjelleli.

OK, that’s three, but those three work so well together on the ice it’s scary for their USHL opponents. As of December 14, 2003, Mjelleli, a Minnesotan, is third in the league in scoring with 16 goals to go along with 16 assists. Miller, who hails from Michigan, is currently tied for 10th overall with 11 goals and 15 points and Saliji, a Slovakian, is tied for 14th with nine goals and 15 assists. These three account for 40 percent of the Des Moines Buccaneers goals and 38 percent of the points for the team so far this season. The Buccaneers are currently fourth in the USHL in goals scored per game at 3.46 goals per game.

This marks 20-year-old Mjelleli’s second and last season in the USHL. He played half of a season for the Tri-City Storm before coming to Des Moines in a late December trade. Both 19-year-old Miller and 19-year-old Saliji are in their first USHL seasons and both have one year of eligibility left. Miller played last season for the Detroit Little Caesars, while Saliji played for HKM Nitra in his home country of Slovakia. All three are undrafted by NHL clubs.

The Buccaneers will look to these three to continue their scoring as they come to the Christmas break. The Bucs currently have a 9-14-1-2 record, good for 21 points. They are currently 8 points behind Lincoln for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West Division.

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