Mix of new players shine in UMass hockey’s exhibition win

Marc Del Gaizo, Ty Farmer each enjoyed solid nights


(Caroline O’Connor/UMass Athletics)

By Ryan Ames, Assistant Sports Editor

Some fresh faces got their 2018-19 season off on the right foot in the Massachusetts hockey team’s 6-1 exhibition win over the Royal Military College of Canada.

Freshman Marc Del Gaizo scored the game’s opening goal and played well on UMass’ top defensive pairing beside Cale Makar. Transfer Jacob Pritchard seems to have integrated seamlessly into the lineup, notching a goal and assist in his first game in the Maroon and White.

Ty Farmer, another first-year blueliner, looked good for the Minutemen while freshman forward Bobby Kaiser registered the last goal of the game on a wicked wrist shot late in the third period. The other Bobby, Bobby Trivigno, didn’t net any points but proved to be a menace in the corners and around the net all game.

In the week leading up to the exhibition, coach Greg Carvel was hesitant to express complete confidence in his defensive unit given the plethora of freshmen on the backend.

After Saturday’s victory at the Mullins Center, the third-year coach was specifically impressed with Del Gaizo and Farmer.

“They’re very good offensive players and you could see that instantly tonight,” Carvel said. “They both have to mature and they will quickly because they’re smart players. I was real excited with the way they played.

“It was good for (Del Gaizo) to score early and (Farmer) moves the puck real well. It was good for them to get that game under their belt and find their comfort zone because they’re gonna need it next week,” Carvel added.

Makar expressed his enjoyment being partnered with Del Gaizo after just one contest.

“I really like playing with him,” Makar said. “He plays with a lot of tempo and sometimes likes to slow the game down as well. I think we play very similar styles and we complement each other well.”

To go along with his game-opening goal, Del Gaizo added an assist and finished with four shots, one blocked shot and was a +2 after 60 minutes.

“We’ve been working hard for the past month or so since we’ve been back and all the freshmen, we were here in the summer so we’re really excited,” Del Gaizo said. “We just got to build on it from now.”

Del Gaizo and Farmer also saw significant action on both the power play and penalty-kill for UMass, manning the point on each respective unit.

The Minutemen went 2-for-8 on the man-advantage and allowed just one power play goal of the six opportunities RMC had.

Niko Hildenbrand was the other UMass goal scorer and tied for the team-lead in shots along with Makar, with seven.

“I think we were all excited to get that first (game) under our belt,” Leonard, who scored twice Saturday, said. “We were waiting all week for it, all month so (I’m) really excited.”

Ryan Ames can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.