Recapping Calgary Flames’ prospect Matthew Coronato’s NCAA debut

In July, Brad Treliving may have surprised some Calgary Flames fans during the first round of the NHL Draft. With the 13th pick, the names of Chaz Lucius, Fabian Lysell, and Xavier Bourgault were available to choose from, with many draft projections having the Flames selecting either Lucius or Lysell. However, the Flames selected incoming Harvard freshman Matthew Coronato, who was touted for the offence he brought to the ice. Coronato played his first couple games with the Crimson this weekend—let’s see how the Flames’ 2021 first rounder has fit in in the NCAA.

Coranato’s four point debut

Harvard faced off against Dartmouth College on the road to open their season on October 29, 2021.

Coronato was slotted as the right wing the top line with Arizona Coyotes prospect John Farinacci centering him and Montreal Canadiens prospect Sean Farrell. It only took a minute and ten seconds for Coronato to get on the scoresheet, scoring a beautiful shorthanded goal on a breakaway.

Coronato has always been known for his offensive abilities (his killer shot in particular), but his defensive game is not to be slept on at all if Harvard has him on their first penalty kill unit in his first professional game.

Later in the second period, Coronato registered a primary assist on Wyllum Deveaux’s goal and a secondary assist on John Fusco’s goal. This got him to an impressive three points in the game, however, he was not done just yet.

Coronato finished off his night with another goal, redirecting a shot from Sean Farrell, and could have had another one were it not for a brilliant save by the Big Green’s goaltender Justin Ferguson on a breakaway. Despite giving up nine goals against, Ferguson was their best player.

Coronato ended the game with two goals (on three shots) and two assists, giving him an incredible four points in his NCAA debut. The Crimson dominated this game, winning with a final score of 9–3.

Coronato continued to score

Just one night later, Harvard had their home opener against Bentley University on October 30, 2021.

Coronato again was on the top line, as all lines remained the same as their game against Dartmouth College.

Harvard opened the first period with a flurry of goals, and Coranato got onto the scoresheet 16 minutes into the first period as they extended their lead to 4–0. He registered a primary assist on John Farinacci’s goal.

However, the second period is when Coronato decided to show the hockey world how good he really is. He took matters into his own hands, spinning away from a Bentley player, skating into the middle of the zone, and undressing the whole Bentley team before executing a perfectly placed goal past the goaltender.

Coronato finished the game with a goal and an assist for two points, along with four shots on goal.

Coronato’s overall performance

Matt Coronato is just too good for the NCAA. I don’t think there is any other way to put it. He is an absolute force for this Crimson team, and he is currently third in the NCAA in scoring pace with three points per game. Only his junior and sophomore teammates—Henry Thrun and Sean Farrell—are above him.

It is unlikely that he continues to put up points at this pace, but given he has six points in two games without a single power play point is an enormous testament to his potential at the NHL level. However, it is worth tempering expectations just a tad as neither Bentley nor Dartmouth are strong hockey schools (with all due respect). That being said, if he can put on this level of performance when Harvard plays Boston College later this month, it will be a true display of Coronato’s value as a prospect.

It has been a while since the Flames have had a prospect that has started their season with this much excitement. Coronato is a true offensive talent with phenomenal two-way potential. If he can continue to put points on the board as an NCAA rookie, there is a strong chance he could be playing for the Flames far earlier than expected.

Photo by Gil Talbot

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