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It has been nearly seven decades since college hockey became a national « three-peat » championship would have. Fans of the sport who want to see someone else will have to wait.
Garrett Wait scored 14½ minutes in extra time to secure a spot for Massachusetts in a second straight Frozen Four title game. The Minutemen ended Minnesota Duluth’s hopes for a third straight championship with a 3-2 nightcap win of two NCAA semifinals held Thursday night at the PPG Paints Arena.
UMass faces St. Cloud state. Saturday also in the PPG Paints Arena. St. Cloud State beat Minnesota State 5-4 in the first semi-final on Thursday.
After a regular shot of 36:15, UMass dominated extra time (13-2 lead), partly thanks to a 31-second power play -Time was supported which resulted in some jaw-dropping goalscoring opportunities. The Minutemen drove this momentum for the next few minutes before Wait sent the socially distant crowd home with reduced capacity after midnight.
« The boys have just implemented our game plan perfectly (in extra time), » said goalkeeper Matt Murray who played his first game since January 18 sharply (36 saves). It was definitely noticeable that they were ready to go into this overtime. “
Garrett Wait with the GAME WINNING GOAL IN OVER TIME! 🚨🚨 @ UMassHockey is on the way to the National Championship !!! # FrozenFour x 🎥 @espn pic.twitter.com/Q7jGvS9Wy8
Bobby Trivigno received support for Anthony Del Grazio’s goal in the third half as well as for the UMass winner. Trivigno received primary support for the overtime goal, working with the puck behind the net before shooting to the side of the crease to the left of goalkeeper Zach Stejska. Trovigno pushed the puck over the blue paint to a waiting Wait, who was all alone on the opposite side.
« Most of the credit goes to Bobby, » said Minutemen coach Greg Carvel. “That’s what we tried (in overtime) – wear them down, use our feet, create some chances, and have some presence on the back post – and they carried out. It was well done. «
UMass not only faced a two-time defending champion, the Minutemen also had to do without four players – 17-goal goalscorer Carson Gicewicz, starting goalkeeper Filip Lindberg, third goalkeeper Henry Graham and depth striker Jerry Harding » Covid- 19 contract tracking logs. «
But the understaffed Minutemen (19-5-4) played largely undeterred and took the lead with a Zac Jones goal in power play 15½ minutes after the start of the game. After Minnesota Duluth scored the next two goals, Del Grazio prevailed at 11:35 when he blasted home a rebound from Josh Lopina, which shot into an open net. « They kind of got us on the ropes there in the end, » said Bulldogs junior striker Tanner Laderoute. « Got to give it to them. »
Laderoute and Cole Koepke scored a goal for the Bulldogs (15-11-2), who tried to join the Michigan teams from 1951-53 as the only one in the history of the Join college hockey en and win three Frozen Four titles in a row.
Minnesota Duluth attempted to play in a fourth straight national championship game (the 2020 Frozen Four was canceled) after losing to Denver in the 2017 championship before he defeated Notre Dame in 2018 and UMass in 2019. « It’s not easy to come back here, » said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. “And to make it four years in a row, it basically still leaves a bitter taste that loses the game. But certainly proud of our group. “
After the game, UMass announced that Gicewicz, Lindberg and Graham will be returning to the team on Friday and – if they pass the Covid tests – will be cleared for the title game on Saturday.
Chris Adamski is an employee from Tribune Review. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or on Twitter.
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