One is a party, two is a show
Cale Makar, a first round fourth overall draft pick by the Colorado Avalanche, considers his fellow D-partner’s work ethic and overall attitude to be an exceptional example to the young roster.
“I think the only level the guy has is 100 percent,” Makar said. “He’s an energy ball for sure, whenever our team needs a little bit of a spark he’s always there.”
Carvel did not have the two drafted defenseman on the same pair at the beginning of the season, but after toying with the rotations Makar and Ferraro found themselves side-by-side.
“I think we’ve got a lot of chemistry together; we find each other well out there on the ice,” Ferraro said of Makar. “I think we have similar play styles out there and he’s definitely very hardworking and has a lot of skill.
“That motivates me to build up my skills as well and I think we learn from each other quite a bit out there,” he added. “We both have our strengths and weaknesses as players, as everyone does, we try to push each other as best as we can during practice. It’s definitely great playing alongside him.”
“It’s pretty cool [playing with Ferraro],” Makar said. “I know that we both like to push the pace of games and move our feet as fast as we can and get up the ice together.”
On Dec. 6 it was announced that both Makar and Ferraro were selected to the 32-player roster for Canada’s World Junior selection camp. The pair were two of the four NCAA players selected for the squad.
“We’ve been pretty successful early in this season and the team’s success does bring on individual success.” - Mario Ferraro
“It’s definitely great to have a great player there like Cale with me,” Ferraro said. “Like I said, not many people get this opportunity and it’s awesome to have a guy like that by my side at that camp.”
The two have the opportunity to potentially be a part of the 23 selected to join Team Canada in the 2018 World Junior Championships in Buffalo beginning on Dec. 26.
“We’ve been pretty successful early in this season and the team’s success does bring on individual success,” Ferraro said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity and I’m going to make the most of it.”
Ferraro’s selection by the Sharks this past June concluded the most historic draft in UMass history, sliding in as the second highest draft pick the Minutemen have carried behind Makar.
UMass joins Boston University and Michigan as one of three schools to have more than one player drafted before the third round this year. Out of the 22 players that were chosen from Hockey East institutions, Makar and Ferraro took first and fourth.
“We play the hell out of [Mario] and Cale,” Carvel said. “They both play about 27-28 minutes every game so those two guys are really important.”
Carvel has high hopes for the defensive duo, believing that every day they continue to figure out ways to be more offensive. Together they are going through the transition from junior hockey to the collegiate level.
“Tighter checking, finding ways to contribute offensively and not trying to do too much is probably what him and Cale are going through right now,” Carvel said in early November. “I just expect [Ferraro] to continue to be a dominant, physical presence on the ice.”
The duo have combined for 46 blocked shots and 17 points, playing a major role in the Minutemen’s turnaround season so far.
For UMass, having not just one but two high NHL draft picks on the roster captured a lot of attention and brought a new sense of excitement to the Mullins Center for the first time in a long time.
“If Cale wasn’t here, he’d probably get a lot more spotlight,” Carvel said. “Second round is a pretty good draft pick, but I think he’s the type of kid he doesn’t even think twice about that.”