Coming into the Frozen Four it was Massachusetts Vs. Minnesota x3. The Minutemen found themselves exactly where they were two years ago in the tournament as they pushed their way through to the championship game. It is interesting to look back and see how similar the tournament was laid out between two seasons ago and this year’s.
Both semifinal games went into overtime with the Del Gaizo brothers helping to propel the team forward into the finals. Of course everyone knows of the famous goal by MDG, where he scored a rocket of a shot from the top of the zone during a tight overtime. This season, it was Anthony’s turn as he scored the tying goal in the third that put the game into overtime for Garrett Wait to score the game-winner as M. Del Gaizo had done two seasons before to put UMass Hockey into the championship game. The championship match was a shutout game, as well. Luckily for us, we were the team to hold the shutout, as Filip Lindberg stayed strong in net having faced 25 shots on goal. The defense was a force out on the ice and definitely made some moves of their own to create pressure and keep pucks away from the net.
Zac Jones, for instance, made an incredible move as St. Cloud was presented with a breakaway opportunity. He managed to catch up from behind and stretch out his stick to poke the puck away from the opposing player. With that, it came with no surprise that his skill level made him highly sought after by his drafted team, the New York Rangers. With the close of this season, Jones heads to New York to start his NHL career. Best of luck and thank you for your amazing contributions to UMass Hockey!
The Minutemen then went on to win 5-0 in the championship game with goals by Aaron Bohlinger, Reed Lebster, Philip Lagunov, Matthew Kessel, and last but not least, Bobby Trivigno. Trivigno’s star performance led to him earning several titles, including Hockey East Player of the Week, MVP of the NCAA Frozen Four National Championship and CCM/AHCA First Team All-American. After missing last year’s championship game due to a suspension he had more determination to come into this one with a fire underneath him.
“Having to watch that game was probably one of the worst times in my life. I had a pit in my stomach and I don’t want to feel that again. I want to be on the winning side so I’m willing to do anything to get us there.” He stated before the semifinal matchup against Minnesota Duluth which he surely lived up to in this season’s playoff run.
The Minutemen, now with Hockey East Champions under their belt, just added the new title of National Champions. Both wins were the first in the UMass Hockey program’s history and with a team as stacked as this one, definitely not the last. In addition, the zoo definitely holds the title as the best University in the nation as the welcoming parade in itself was a zoo with students literally in trees to see the team come off the bus.
Congratulations to all UMass Hockey Players, Coaches, and Staff! See you next season and GO UMASS!