Spinell, Miami hope to go further than Frozen Four
The Fargo Force organization is so new that it is still experiencing several firsts. Steve Spinell picked up a very special first last year when he became the first former Force player to compete in the NCAA Frozen Four.
In his freshman season with Miami of Ohio, Spinell played in 31 contests and scored one goal and added three assists for four total points. He also blocked 21 shots in his first year at the Division I level.
Spinell credited his time in Fargo under Coach Dean Blais as a key player in his preparation for Division I hockey.
“Coach Blais helped me develop my game to a whole new level and also helped me grow as a young man,” said Spinell.
Despite a successful first collegiate season, Spinell believes he can be better in his second season thanks to the style of head coach Enrico Blasi.
“I like playing for coach Blasi because he demands the most out of all of his players.”
Prior to his Miami career, Spinell spent time with the Ohio Junior Blue Jackets and the Fargo Force of the United States Hockey League.
“I played for the Junior Blue Jackets my junior year of high school and then the team was moved to Fargo where I played for my senior year,” said Spinell. “Those two years helped me grow and become more and more confident on the ice.”
He spent the 2007-2008 season with Ohio, where he netted five goals and 12 assists for 17 points. At the end of the season, the Junior Blue Jackets disbanded and Spinell and a handful of teammates moved up to Fargo to join the Force.
In his lone season in Fargo, the defenseman from Vernon Hills, Illinois, scored two goals and had eight total points. He was also an assistant captain under Dean Blais and picked up a team leading 139 penalty minutes, while helping lead the expansion team to the Clark Cup Finals.
This season, Spinell already has a goal and three assists and believes that Miami could be on the verge of more than just another NCAA Frozen Four appearance.
“When our team is playing physical and making strong, smart plays we are hard to beat,” said Spinell. “If we can raise our consistency level for playing our best hockey, then that will allow us to make a run at the title.”
Spinell is happy in Miami, and regardless of whether or not Miami can win a national title, there is no doubt Miami is the place for him.
“[Miami] is pretty close to home, great school, great coaches, and has awesome new rink.”
By: Tim How