Rocco Carzo making early impact in 2012

By Cameron McDonough

Cade Belisle/Collegian

Before the Massachusetts hockey team gave up a 3-0 lead in the final period of last Friday’s game against then No. 3 Boston College, forward Rocco Carzo was stealing the show.

The senior captain had the first multi-goal game of his career against the Eagles. He scored the game’s first goal eight minutes, 46 seconds into the game and followed it up with his second goal of the game at the 13:20 mark of the second period, putting the Minutemen up 3-0 at the time.

Carzo credited his teammates with putting him in a good position to score both goals Friday.

“I give a lot of credit to my line mates,” Carzo said. “They set it up both times and I was just there to bank it home. So I give credit to them and my teammates.”

UMass coach John Micheletto was especially impressed with Carzo’s second goal and called it the “prototypical Rocco Carzo goal.”

The role as an offensive threat is new to Carzo. With his two goals on Friday, he’s already tied the number of goals he had all of last year.

His highest goal-total in a season  as a Minuteman came back in his freshman year when he scored six goals and added six assists.

It’s a change he said that the new coaching staff has asked him to make.

“The coaches have told me they want me to be more offensive,” Carzo said, “which is fine, I mean I like playing offense. I scored in juniors a bunch and I scored freshman year, but I think I’m going to take on more of that kind of role. I still obviously want to be good at my (defensive)zone too.”

The jubilation of Carzo’s two goals last Friday quickly turned into despair, as UMass blew the lead and eventually lost 5-4 in overtime. As a result, Carzo’s stellar performance was no longer the story.

Instead, Carzo had to focus on calming down his teammates after the game.

“I was just calming them down a little bit,” Carzo said. “There were guys who were mad after the game, but you’ve got to stay calm after that and move on.”

When asked how the team morale is after the tough loss, Carzo said it’s still high.

“I mean we played well for the first two periods and in the third period we obviously ran out of gas,” Carzo said. “We took a lot of positives out of that game. We played well with one of the best teams in the country. So I mean that’s a lot to take out of it.”

The role as someone who younger players look to after a game like last Friday is something Micheletto asked of Carzo and senior forward Kevin Czepiel when he named them co-captains earlier this year.

So far, Carzo is embracing the new role and says that it’s been a lot of fun.

“It’s a great honor and I take pride in it,” he said.

Micheletto sees Carzo as the type of player who leads by example.

“Lead by example is sort of the style that he has,” Micheletto said. “Again he’s just a very level person. He’s not different on one day or another. If his game is good it’s not like he’s a giddy kid and if his game is bad he’s not going to be a dower guy.

“He’s the same guy everyday regardless of what’s going on to him personally or what’s going on around him. So I think our guys appreciate that evenness and that’s what he’s brought to the leadership role.”

Cameron McDonough can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MDC_McDonough.