Fairbanks fits well on Taranto
Leading the United States Hockey League in scoring is a fabulous accomplishment. During the inaugural season of the Fargo Force, Andy Taranto did just that by scoring 34 times. He also added 25 assists for 59 points.
Taranto was more than just a difference-maker in his time at Fargo. He was a savvy veteran that head coach Dean Blais wanted on the ice in any situation. That was proven by his +33 plus-minus rating. And that he had 21 power play points and seven shorthanded points in his only season with Fargo.
Before coming to Fargo, Taranto played nearly a season and a half with the Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets. In his time with the Blue Jackets, he netted 18 points and had a -11 plus-minus rating. When the Ohio franchise dissolved, Taranto had a coming out party with the new franchise in Fargo.
“The experience I had in Fargo playing 60-plus games and being able to play every night helped me with playing consistently,” said Taranto. “I learned that I needed to give my best effort every shift of every game in order to help my team succeed.”
Not only did Taranto have the opportunity to play with three USHL organizations (he played with Omaha before going to Ohio), but he had the luxury of playing for Dean Blais. Blais is now coaching at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, but his presence can be felt in Fairbanks, Alaska, where Taranto showcases his talents for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks.
“One thing that I respected the most [about Blais] was how he would sit down with us and have a meeting about the things he felt I did well and struggled with each week,” said Taranto.
The now-sophomore credits his successful freshman campaign to his coaches in Fairbanks because they took the time to sit down with Taranto at his request. That is something that was ultimately thanks to Blais.
In his freshman season, Taranto showed how valuable it can be to come into Division I hockey as a 21-year-old. His 18 goal, 24 assist season earned him a spot on the CCHA All-Rookie Team as well as an All-CCHA Honorable Mention spot. Taranto was even a CCM Rookie of the Year finalist.
The Woodridge, Illinois native is still a fan favorite in Fargo and is off to a quick start as a sophomore in Fairbanks. He has three points in the young hockey season.
“The only thing that I try and focus on in the beginning of the season is that, after it is all said and done, I leave everything I have on the ice and don’t have a single regret,” said Taranto.
Apparently, his approach is working.
By: Tim How