Last Saturday, Cale Makar was finishing up his sophomore season at UMass, a season that ended in crushing defeat in the D-1 Men's Ice Hockey Championship game. Makar and the Minutemen fell to Minnesota-Duluth 3-0, coming up just short of the first men's hockey national title in school history. Makar, who was announced as the winner of the Hobey Baker Award the day before the game, did not tally a point in the loss. Tough way to go out, but it's safe to say he was able to get over it real quickly.
That's because on the very next day, Makar was signed to a three-year entry level contract by the Colorado Avalanche, the team that drafted him in 2017 with the fourth overall pick. Rather than try to work his way up to the NHL, Makar kept his commitment to UMass, playing two seasons before signing with the Avs on Sunday and forgoing his final two years of college.
That decision proved to be a prudent one on Monday, when Makar was thrust into the middle of a heated Stanley Cup Playoff series between the Avalanche and the Calgary Flames. After splitting the first two games in Calgary, the Avs returned home for Game 3 and got to work early, taking a 2-0 lead in the first period. With just over four minutes until intermission, the 20-year-old rookie defenseman joined an offensive rush and received a pass from Avs star center Nathan MacKinnon. Rather than shy away from the moment, Makar took the puck directly to the net and fired one in:
Is scoring your first career NHL goal in your first career NHL game on your first career NHL shot in the STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS any good? Yeah, we'd say so. It's even better when your parents are on hand to watch. Waterworks city:
The goal made Makar just the seventh player in NHL history to score his first goal in his NHL debut in the playoffs. That's a club that might be tougher to join than Augusta National.
Makar's goal made it 3-0, and Colorado went on to win 6-2 to take a 2-1 series lead. Not a bad week for this kid.