Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Makar, Ferraro make long-awaited debut for UMass hockey Saturday

By Zander Manning

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(Caroline O’Connor / Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts hockey team’s 1-0 victory over Queen’s University Saturday won’t count toward its official record, but it still had value nevertheless. Freshmen defensemen Cale Makar and Mario Ferraro each made their debut at the Mullins Center, and the two highest draft picks in UMass history showed glimpses of greatness early on.

Niko Rufo scored the only Minutemen goal in the win over the Gaels, coming on a powerplay strike at 12:34 of the first period, but it was Makar and Ferraro who left the largest impressions following their first contest in maroon-and-white.

UMass coach Greg Carvel was very impressed with what he saw in his two prized blueliners.

“There’s no reservation in their game,” Carvel said of Makar and Ferraro. “They’re comfortable, confident. Cale’s offensive abilities are extraordinary. I thought he had a pretty quiet game, he’s probably not too happy with his game because he didn’t have the puck as much as he probably wanted to.”

“Mario just goes, goes, goes and you just see, I’m not going to put the reigns on him, he out-wills players and it’s great. He’s just such a strong skater and he just makes things happen because he’s just so aggressive. That’s what we knew they were going to be, it was good to see from day one that they’re comfortable here,” Carvel said.

Carvel is excited to see what both Ferraro and Makar can bring to the table moving forward for the Minutemen after the two combined for eight (four each) of UMass’ 42 total shots against Queen’s.

“They’re high draft picks for a reason, it’s not like they came here and we made them better,” Carvel said. “They’re good hockey players and they’ll continue to get better. I’m excited for our group because they’re fun to watch. I have fun watching them play and they’re going to create offense for us.”

Despite being drafted fourth overall by the Colorado Avalanche, Makar doesn’t let the pressure that comes with being the star-recruit get to him.

“I don’t speak for [Mario] but I don’t think I’m a guy that pressure affects me,” Makar said. “I kind of just go out there and play my game and don’t let those outside factors affect my game.”

Ferraro, a second-round pick (49th overall) of the San Jose Sharks, echoed Makar’s statement that any pressure makes it more exciting for him as opposed to making him nervous.

Makar and Ferraro are two of 13 freshmen on the UMass roster, and were noticeable among newcomers in the Minutemen’s scrimmage win. Makar was paired with sophomore defenseman Jake McLaughlin while Ferraro was alongside sophomore Shane Bear to round out the top four on the backend.

Now with game one under everyone’s belts, Makar highlighted the importance the upperclassmen will have on leading this young squad throughout the rest of the season.

“We lean on them and all of us freshmen, we’re a group together, but at the same time we’re a team and I think that’s just how everyone looks at it.”

 

Zander Manning can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @ZMSportsReport.

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