Historically, Pioneers are adventurous sorts, so perhaps it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Carter Mazur’s freshman year with the Denver Pioneers is proving to be one ongoing adventure.
“I would say it’s kind of living my dream in a way,” Mazur admitted.
A dream season that got underway when the hometown Detroit Red Wings selected the Jackson, Michigan-born Mazur 70th overall in the 2021 NHL entry draft.
“I just feel like I kind of had a lot of confidence coming into the year,” Mazur said. “Getting drafted to Detroit, everything related to (playing for USA Hockey at the) world juniors, trying out for the team, I kind of had a lot of confidence coming in (to play at Denver).”
The top freshman in #NCHChockey this season…
— The NCHC (@TheNCHC) March 17, 2022
Mazur is turning that confidence in an epic campaign both for him and for the Pioneers. Mazur was named the NCHC freshman of the year. He shares the NCAA goal-scoring lead among frosh with 14 and is tied for third in points by a first-year player with 36.
Carter Mazur Enjoying Award-Winning Campaign
“Getting all those awards, it’s just the cherry on top,” Carter Mazur said. “It’s not something I really care about that much.”
Then Mazur uttered words that will certainly be music to the ears of Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman.
“I’m here for team success,” Mazur said. “It’s pretty cool that I can say I won that award but we’re not done yet. We’re here to win the national championship and that’s the goal.”
Denver is playing the Michigan Wolverines in one of two NCAA Frozen Four semifinals on Thursday.
Transamerica and @UofDenver Athletics are proud to recognize the April Student Athletes of the Month, Jessica Hutchinson and Carter Mazur for their recent academic and athletic achievements. Congratulations! 🤸♀️🏒📚 pic.twitter.com/GZRkDyDsS1
— Denver Athletics (@DU_Pioneers) April 4, 2022
Recently, Mazur was earning the honor as Denver’s male student athlete of the month.
Mazur set up Cameron Wright for the game winner in Denver’s 3-2 victory over defending NCAA champion UMass Lowell in the West Region semifinal.
A Fast Start
That confidence that emboldened the left-winger was serving Mazur well as he was launching his NCAA career. His freshman campaign saw him counting nine goals through his first 16 games.
“That’s something you always need,” Mazur said. “You need a good start. I feel like the start is probably the hardest part, so if you have a good start, hopefully you finish the rest of the year pretty strong.
“I would say, yeah, having a good start really did help set me up for success.”
Breaking from the gate with such authority also was enabling Mazur to quickly show Denver coach David Carle that he would be a player that the Pioneers could be counting on in key scenarios.
“You want to have the trust within the team and especially with your coach,” Mazur said. “I feel like building that trust with your coach is important, especially early in the year.
“Showing that you can actually play in those moments is kind of huge, because then usually you kind of stick with it and keep building off of that.”
Carter Mazur Could Fill A Need For Red Wings
The Red Wings are showing an abundance of depth when it comes to defensive prospects. They include two of Mazur’s Denver teammates – Shai Buium (36th overall, 2021) and Antti Tuomisto (35th overall, 2019).
The cupboard isn’t nearly as well-stocked when it comes to forward thinking. That’s another factor making Mazur’s breakout freshman campaign so exciting to Red Wings fans. Yet as much as his goal-scoring is gaining him notice, NHL scouts are of the belief that it will be Mazur’s abrasiveness and tenacity that ultimately will be making him valuable as an NHLer.
In the 6-foot, 173-pound Mazur, Detroit may be brewing up its own future version of Brad Marchand in the system.
“I feel like I’ve really elevated my game and kind of – I like to say it’s being like a prick,” Mazur said boldly. “I feel like that’s kind of my job. I like to get under people’s skin and that’s something that I feel like when I’m at my best it’s what I do.”
— Spoked Z (@SpokedZ) December 27, 2021
His game also possesses another quality too often found lacking in Detroit’c current crop of forwards. Mazur loves to mix it up in front of the other team’s net.
“That’s something I pride my game on, really,” Mazur said. “The puck always goes there, so you might as well be there for it.
“It’s something that I’ve always done, ever since I was little.”
At this stage, it certainly would appear that there’s plenty to like about Mazur’s game and much cause for the Wings to be excited about what the future could bring.