Future looks bright on ice for Carvel’s Minutemen

  • After winning the Hockey East regular season title and advancing to the Frozen Four title game, columnist Chip Ainsworth thinks the UMass hockey team deserves its own Champions Center. FOR THE RECORDER/CHIP AINSWORTH

  • Goalie Filip Lindberg, a sophomore-to-be, gives UMass much needed stability between the pipes heading into next season. AP File

For the Recorder
Published: 5/10/2019 9:03:20 PM
Modified: 5/10/2019 9:03:07 PM

The UMass hockey program lost another valuable member of its 31-win team when the San Jose Sharks signed Mario Ferraro, their 2017 second-round draft choice.

The 6-foot, 195-pound defenseman played all 80 games in his two seasons at UMass. “They will miss his tenacity and ability to headman the puck,” said color analyst Brock Hines.

First-round pick Cale Makar turned pro immediately after the last game, and it’s a wonder UMass coach Greg Carvel ever took him off the ice. “He was a generational player,” said Hines, “the Marcus Camby of hockey.”

Makar had one goal and five assists in 10 playoff games for Colorado. Hockey writer Larry Brooks of the New York Post called his play  “transcendent… infusing the Avalanche and the tournament with unabashed exuberance.”

The loss of the their two best defensemen might prompt Carvel to promote Zac Jones a year ahead of schedule. The 18-year-old Virginia native was named the U.S. Hockey League’s Rookie of the Year for the Tri City (Neb.) Storm. He had 45 assists, scored seven goals and was a plus-38 in 56 games.

“He puts as much work and time into what he does as anyone I’ve coached,” GM/head coach Anthony Noreen said on the USHL’s website.

Neutral Zone reported that Jones is the son of a “minor league equipment manager” who chose UMass over Union College, Providence and RPI. “UMass has everything a hockey prospect could ask for,” Jones told Neutral Zone, “top notch facilities, great campus and school. The coaching staff is one of, if not the best in college hockey.”

As decimated as UMass is on the blue line, the Minutemen at long last have a bona fide netminder. Filip Lindberg had a 1.60 goals against average and .934 save percentage in 17 games this season and showed himself to be undaunted by the scepter of playoff competition.

“This is the first time in the Carvel Era we know who the starting goalie is. Unless other teams are stocked to the gills, we’ll be in the battle for the top four this season.”

And for seasons to come, if the athletic department gives Carvel the resources he needs.


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