Sr. | D | Vernon Hills, Ill.
Key Statistics: Spinell put up solid offensive numbers during his junior season, notching a career-high 12 points on one goal and 11 assists. But it was the defensive numbers that told the real story for the 6-foot-2, 216-pound blueliner. Spinell led his team with 70 blocked shots and posted a plus-minus rating of plus-17 on the year.
What He Does: The numbers above tell Spinell’s story. He’s a solid, reliable, physical defenseman who fits in well with Miami’s fluid offensive system and he will be a defensive leader for the RedHawks. The senior knows how to use his size and physicality effectively and he will provide stability for a young defensive corps that lost Chris Wideman and Cameron Schilling (among others) to graduation. For some perspective on Miami’s relative inexperience on the back end, consider this: Spinell has 109 career games under his belt and fellow senior Joe Hartman has 122. The other six defenders on Miami’s roster — four of them freshmen — have totaled just 61 career games.
The Bigger Picture: As noted above, Spinell will be counted on to eat up important minutes this year as some of his less-seasoned teammates adjust to increased playing time or college hockey. Clearly, coach Enrico Blasi has faith Spinell will deliver both on and off the ice; he named Spinell the team’s captain, an honor not taken lightly at Miami. With freshmen Ryan McKay and Jay Williams taking over in goal after both Cody Reichard and Connor Knapp graduated, that stability becomes even more important. The captain has already shown the ability to meet all of these requirements. Blasi believes the key to Spinell’s success this year will be in his ability to maintain his high standard of play and ability to lead by example without trying to extend himself beyond his skills and role in Miami’s system.
Miami coach Enrico Blasi on Spinell: “Steven a guy who just has the respect of everyone both on and off the ice. The way he plays and works hard on the ice made him a great candidate to be named captain … (Spinell and Hartman) can’t read your column and think they’re expected to do everything for our team. You need to play your game and be who you are, not trying to be someone that you’re not — that’s the trap that you fall into.”