The UMass Minutemen freshman has a famous person protection associate in Cale Makar, however Del Gaizo shall be a reasonably good prize himself on the draft this summer season.Marc Del Gaizo|Icon Sportswire/Getty ImagesBUFFALO – One bomb. That was the distinction in a riveting and generally weird Frozen 4 semifinal between UMass and Denver that noticed UMass win Four-Three in extra time on a blast from freshman defenseman Marc Del Gaizo.
The riveting half was apparent; the weird got here within the truth three totally different gamers had been assessed five-minute majors and tossed from the sport for head pictures, with UMass dropping two of their prime wingers in Niko Hildenbrand and Mitchell Chaffee. However because of a cellular Minutemen protection led by the pairing of Del Gaizo and Colorado Avalanche super-prospect Cale Makar, UMass was capable of persevere and clinch its first-ever berth within the nationwide championship sport.
Whereas a ton of ink has already been spilled on Makar, his associate is an intriguing prospect in his personal proper.
Del Gaizo was a potent weapon from the blueline final season within the USHL with the Muskegon Lumberjacks, main the league in targets by a defenseman with 12 and rating third in factors with 38 in 59 video games (one level behind future UMass teammate Ty Farmer, curiously). And whereas some scouts had been focused on his providers, the 5-foot-9, 175-pound rearguard was handed over within the draft. This summer season, anticipate his title to be referred to as for positive.
“I preferred him final yr in Muskegon,” mentioned one scout. “Strikes the puck, transitions very well, performs large minutes and he’s a robust child.”
For Del Gaizo, his remaining yr in Muskegon actually pumped up his confidence and getting handed over within the draft was simply one other piece of motivation for the New Jersey native.
“I’ve at all times been an underdog,” he mentioned. “I’m undersized and I’ve at all times had everybody trying over me; it’s simply one thing that fuels my hearth.”
Few shall be overlooking him now. The actual fact is, Del Gaizo has been fairly nice as a freshman and it’s due to his chemistry with Makar – not solely due to Makar – that the pairing works. Each gamers can rush the puck and each know when to hold again as supporters.
“We’re very comparable gamers,” Makar mentioned. “We go hand-in-hand in the best way that we’re transferring. When he’s up within the rush, I’m again, or vice versa. I feel we learn one another very well. We’re capable of talk properly on the defensive and offensive zone.”
The mobility of each gamers is spectacular and it’s wild to assume that UMass has one other high-end puckmover on the again finish in San Jose Sharks prospect Mario Ferraro. However a deep blueline is a luxurious their coach is pleased to take advantage of.
“I like my again finish as a result of they’ll defend properly,” mentioned Greg Carvel. “They’re at all times a part of our offense. They transfer the puck. They compete. That’s all the nice groups now, you need to be like that. Denver is like that. Their again finish is similar. I’m comfy with any of these guys in there in any scenario. I don’t assume numerous coaches can say that. That’s fairly an asset to have as a coach.”
Whereas UMass is certainly dropping Makar to the NHL as quickly as this match is completed, the returning presence of Del Gaizo and Ferraro (plus incoming freshman Zac Jones, who will even be drafted this summer season out of USHL Tri-Metropolis) will hold the celebration occurring the again finish.
Proper now, Carvel is simply pleased that Del Gaizo determined to step into that shot in extra time.
“Marc is a heck of a hockey participant,” he mentioned. “I used to be on him as a result of each time he acquired the puck on the blueline tonight, he wished to do a dipsy-doodle spin-around. The opposite staff is skating up the ice with it. I instructed him, ‘Shoot the puck.’ He had no alternative for that one. He hammered that one.”
And that gave UMass a date with the defending champions from Minnesota-Duluth. The Bulldogs have a reasonably spectacular blueline themselves, with NHL picks similar to Scott Perunovich (STL), Dylan Samberg (WPG) and Mikey Anderson (LA). Which staff will triumph? It could come all the way down to these elite blueliners on both aspect.
Tags: draft, NCAA, prospectsConnect: In regards to the AuthorRyan KennedyRyan Kennedy is the affiliate senior author and draft/prospect knowledgeable at The Hockey Information. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all referred to as his home. He lives in Toronto together with his spouse and youngsters the place he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.