Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Taylor Makar finding production again in UMass’ win over Maine

Sophomore nets two goals in the third period
Dylan Nguyen/ Daily Collegian (2023)

ORONO, Maine — Head coach Greg Carvel wanted more production from Taylor Makar heading into the Massachusetts hockey team’s series against Maine. With two goals, Makar showed Carvel that he can continue to produce for the Minutemen (12-16-5, 6-14-3 Hockey East).

On Friday, Makar did not start off at his best for UMass after being swapped out with Tyson Dyck in the first period. With the sophomore line falling behind, Carvel wanted to see a change by slotting Dyck into the line for a few shifts. The sophomore was put back into his spot to start the second frame of the game, though.

Makar got his feet under him in the third period, giving the Minutemen a lead to light a fire under not just himself but for the team.

The sophomore netted his first of the night after Lucas Mercuri passed to Makar from the neutral zone while he fell to his knee with a Black Bear (15-14-5, 9-10-4 HEA) on him. With a defender on him, Makar skated from the boards in the neutral zone to the front of the Maine goaltender. With a wrist shot around the goaltender, Makar got his first goal since Dec. 29 against Lake Superior State.

The forward typically has scored his goals in the same fashion for UMass and his second goal on Friday was similar to his first. Ryan Lautenbach passed to Owen Murray close to the net but Murray did not take long to pass to Makar who was having himself one of the best periods of his season. Makar took the puck between a players legs and tapped it in for his second of the night.

“Just great plays from my teammates, my linemates,” Makar said on the goals. “Just fast paced up the ice and then kind of just make the most of it on both those goals. Didn’t really see much, kind of blacked out.”

Makar and his linemates have wanted to see more production out of one another after Carvel has voiced to them that they have not been playing at their best. With the night the sophomores had, Makar, Lautenbach and Mercuri can go into Saturday’s game with more confidence.

“It always helps,” Makar said on the goals for confidence. “Just like everyone in their career, they just gotta keep going and I think that is something with the team is that we got all the guys that you can not be producing but other guys will step up.”

It was evident that Makar had found his feet under him quickly in the third not just on the scoresheet but all over the ice. With physicality throughout the game, the sophomore made big hits to keep the puck away from goaltender Cole Brady and off of the Black Bear’s sticks.

An upside that Makar has taken pride in is ability to use his speed to his advantage in games. Due to Makar’s speed, he has been able to rush to net to put shots on net. He also has the ability to get to the puck before the opposing team can while also quickly getting it up the ice.

“[Makar’s speed] is his huge advantage,” Carvel said. “When he protects pucks in the first period, what does he do? He gets a puck in the neutral zone and turns it over, it’s a chance again. When he used his speed wise, it’s in the back of the net. It’s pretty black and white with Taylor. When he wants to use it, it’s a huge advantage for us.”

Despite not contributing to the scoresheet for the second half of the season, Makar has been someone everyone can look up to on the team. Makar’s presence in the locker room is one that can be felt by not just the young guys, but players his age.

“[Makar] is a true professional and he really carries himself the right way and it’s really good for him to get rewarded,” Morrow said.

Kayla Gregoire can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Kaygregoire.

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