By Matt Langone
Maybe it's a good thing that Benn Ferriero's cell phone doesn't currently have a working voicemail, because the Essex native would have undoubtedly been spending a great deal of time listening to messages the past couple of days.
Granted, all of the messages would have been congratulatory.
Ferriero, a rookie center on the San Jose Sharks, scored his first career NHL goal last Saturday night in a 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The former Governor Dummer and Boston College standout scored on a rebound off a shot from fellow rookie Jason Demers in the first period. It was the first goal of the game and sent the Sharks well on their way to their first win after a disappointing 5-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in the season opener last Thursday.
Ferriero was unable to be reached for comment about his explosion on to the NHL scene, due to his lack of voicemail and the fact that he was preparing for last night's game in Los Angeles. However, he shared his excitement with sanjosesharks.com.
"It was a double-plus because I helped the team get its first victory and it was my first NHL goal," Ferriero told the team's official Web site. "It's a great feeling to not only get the team going, but to get the goal and the win."
On Sept. 1, the 22-year-old Ferriero signed a two-year contract with the Sharks as a free agent. He was originally drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in the seventh round of the 2006 NHL entry draft, but he decided to play out his four years at BC until he graduated last spring and was left unsigned by Phoenix. While at BC, the 5-foot-10, 185-pounder recorded 139 points in 165 games and helped the Eagles win the national title in 2008.
Based on most reports in the San Jose area, Ferriero came into Sharks camp as a sleeper and a bit of a longshot to make the team. But he quickly made his presence felt.
Ferriero's smart and fundamental play in the preseason earned him a roster spot. He tallied three goals and two assists in five exhibition games.
The Essex product had appeared in both of San Jose's games entering last night's contest and has seemingly improved as each day has gone by. According to recent reports by the San Jose Mercury News, Ferriero has been skating with the Sharks top line alongside former Boston Bruins star Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley in recent practices. Not too shabby, considering the talented Sharks are widely regarded as one of the favorites to win the Western Conference this season.
Back home on Cape Ann, the Ferriero family is obviously ecstatic to see Benn thriving among the world's greatest hockey players. Of course, it has and will continue to mean a lot of late nights watching Benn play on television because of the late West Coast starts, which often occur at 10 p.m. on the East Coast. Also, the Sharks unfortunately don't visit Boston this season
"It was really exciting to see Benn score that goal," said Cody Ferriero, who is Benn's younger brother and will be heading to BC to play hockey next year and is a senior at Governor Dummer. "We knew he had been playing pretty well. I got to talk to him a couple nights ago and ask him how it felt. He said that all the guys on the team have been very cool."
Nathan Ferriero, Benn and Cody's 15-year-old younger brother, is also having fun watching his oldest brother.
"We have always watched the NHL, so this is really exciting," he said. "All of my hockey friends think it's awesome."
Material from sanjosesharks.com and the San Jose Mercury News was used in this report.