The game plan that Detroit Red Wings prospect Carter Mazur employs to be a productive hockey player has roots in ancient Greece, not the frigid arenas of North America.
That’s an ancient Greek aphorism. Mazur does indeed know himself as a player. He boasts a keen understanding of how he needs to play to be successful. That’s why he’s a step away from being ready for the NHL. That’s also why he doesn’t look out of place playing for Team USA at the World Championships.
“By sticking with how I play I know I can get rewarded, especially in big moments, especially in this tournament where it is tough to score,” Mazur said, via cell phone from Tampere, Finland after helping USA defeat Austria 4-1 at the World Championships.
It was a big day for Mazur who scored the game-winning goal on a well-placed shot from the high slot. He was set-up on a pass from Ontario Reign AHL player T.J. Tynan to give USA a 2-1 lead with 1:40 left in the second period.
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) May 17, 2023
The Americans are 4-0 in the tournament. This is only the fifth time USA has started the World Championships with four or more consecutive wins. USA won a medal in the four previous times that occurred.
“To get that one goal under my belt was a huge momentum booster as well,” Mazur said. “But there is more of a bigger picture here. I want to win a gold medal. That’s something I’ve always dreamed about. That’s the goal.”
Mazur (drafted 70th overall in 2021) is playing 12-13 minutes per game and has two points, and is +5 in the four games. He certainly is showing why the Red Wings expect him to make a bid to earn a place on the Red Wings’ roster at some point next season. Mazur is one of their most coveted prospects.
It certainly helps Mazur that Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde is an assistant coach for Team USA. He’s on the bench watching Mazur’s confidence continue to grow.
“Great goal,” Lalonde said from Finland. “Been excited from what I’ve seen from Carter so far. Obviously a young player. One thing I really like about him is he is a straight line player. He plays through checks, plays through bodies, which is sometimes something you have to teach young kids when they come to our level.”
Mazur played two years of college hockey at Denver and then signed with the Red Wings. He then launched his pro career by putting up six points in six games for the Grand Rapids Griffins in the American Hockey League. Mazur has played confidently in college, Grand Rapids and now in Finland.
“He doesn’t look out of place in these situations because he plays through bodies and he plays on the inside,” Lalonde said. “That is a good sign for him.”
Mazur said playing in the 2022 World Junior Championships launched his confidence surge.
“That’s when I started to take off in a way,” Mazur said. “And that’s when I kept going with and kept growing my game, just having the confidence that I know I can be a good player wherever I am playing. Sticking with how I play. That’s a big part of it.”
Playing hard and focused is what Mazur is about. He does know what he needs to do to be the best version of himself. This is a player who asked Red Wings Director of Player Development Dan Cleary to send him videos to help him develop an improved scoring touch.
It’s not easy for Mazur to discuss his personal game because his focus is about the team success. USA has not won a gold medal at this tournament since 1933.
“Without a doubt, we feel real happy where we are at,” Mazur said. “A couple of close games. Those are good to have because when it gets to the quarterfinals those games are going to be close, really competitive. It’s huge to build the momentum and show we can win big games.”