Miller's reference lights way for Matt

HE may have toddled off back across the pond weeks ago, but the Drew Miller effect is still being felt in and around Renfrewshire.

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As Braehead Clan enter a period of transition that has seen the Detroit Red Wings star exit and Jordan Krestanovich walk after Paul Gardner was appointed head coach, there is someone heading in the opposite direction that will surely please the Purple Army.

Clan announced yesterday that 28-year-old Matt Schepke had touched down on Scottish soil to help boost numbers that had been dwindling at a worrying rate over the past few weeks.

And the former ECHL and AHL left winger is set to grace the Braehead Arena ice thanks to a glowing reference from Miller following his three-month stint in Scotland.

The pair are old pals, with the move to Clan apparently being sold to Schepke by the NHL ace, who has returned Stateside following the end of the lockout.

"I have heard great things about the organisation and the fans from guys who have played for the Clan," said the 28-year-old. "I can't wait to get out on the ice in front of the fans."

That opportunity may arrive sooner than anticipated, with Schepke in the squad to face Coventry Blaze at Braehead tonight in Challenge Cup duty.

The tie is poised at 2-2 from the quarter-final first leg, with a win not only bringing progress in the draw, but Clan's fifth game without defeat, which would be the side's best run of the season.

Despite arriving under a cloud of controversy after Krestanovich refused to stay on, Gardner's experience has been crucial in stabilising a team that was clearly struggling with a depleted squad as well as low confidence.

However, their recent good run, which was typified in Saturday's 6-2 victory in Belfast, has well and truly put Braehead on the right road.

Their final destination has yet to be agreed, but Schepke's arrival at least signals the journey will be a little less rocky.

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