Freshmen finding early success for hockey team
Freshman forward Mike Ferrantino hits the puck up the ice on Oct. 8 at Munn Ice Arena. MSU defeated Windsor, 6-1, in the first and only exhibition game. Adam Toolin/The State News
Filled with nerves and sitting in a seat unfamiliar to him, Michael Ferrantino sat ready to begin his first press conference as an MSU hockey (3-4-1 overall, 2-2-0 CCHA) player.
As a freshman forward on the team, he never had been in the singular spotlight of a weekly press conference before, but it’s the attention that comes with netting a first collegiate goal in a dominating 6-1 win over Bowling Green.
“It’s been awesome,” Ferrantino said. “There’s so much opportunity because (of) all the guys that left last year; it’s been awesome being in the lineup every night. I’ve learned a lot in the couple of games we’ve had so far, and there’s still a long way to go for me.”
Coming from the United States Hockey League, Ferrantino said he’s currently going through an adjustment period as he grows accustomed to the new style of college hockey.
He spent the 2011-12 season with the USHL Omaha Lancers, where he finished the season with a 9-14-23 scoring line, before heading to MSU and switching to a Spartan sweater.
“The toughest adjustment probably is the speed, the strength, the size of the guys,” he said. “I think college hockey is a lot smarter than junior hockey.”
Alongside Ferrantino making those adjustments is a large incoming class of 12 new players — two transfers and 10 freshmen. The hockey and maturation aspects of playing a college sport have been made easier for Ferrantino by having so many players going through the exact same things.
“Having such a big class has actually been great,” he said. “Whether it’s when we have to be places or on the ice, you can share stories and help guys out if they need it, and they help you out as well.”
Another particular player in that freshman class has been making quite an impression on the ice, walking away from Saturday’s game against Bowling Green with two goals and two assists: forward Matt DeBlouw.
“He’s come so far in this month into the season here,” sophomore forward Brent Darnell said of linemate DeBlouw. “He’s a real special player. He can skate, he’s pretty physical, good hands, got a hell of a shot. I just think learning how to use his speed is the biggest thing — at times, he may not know how good he can be.”
DeBlouw currently sits third on the team in shots on goal, with 24 in eight games. He’s been playing on a line in between Darnell and sophomore Matt Berry — a group head coach Tom Anastos called “a real force” on Saturday night.
“He was kind of tabbed … as a defensive forward, and I think he’s more of a two-way forward,” Anastos said of DeBlouw. “He’s responsible defensively, understands defense and has the capabilities to play offense. He showed some poise (in the) nice goals that he scored. He’s created offense in games so far this season. I would think that his confidence should be building.”