‘Best time of their lives’: UMass men’s hockey team rolls over St. Cloud State to win national championship

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The Minutemen mobilize their goalie after winning the NCAA Championship in Pittsburgh.



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“I am very happy for our children,” Cavel said. “We’ve been pushing them really hard over the past four years, especially in the senior category.

Junior goaltender Filip Lindberg, who missed Thursday’s semifinal due to COVID-19 contact tracing protocols and school policies, was back in the net for UMass, recording 24 saves for his fourth shutout career in the tournament, an NCAA record.

Junior Bobby Trivigno, who took advantage of a bad line change by St. Cloud and beat St. Cloud goalkeeper David Hrenak with a crooked short side with 14 minutes left for UMass’ fifth goal, has been named the tournament’s most outstanding player.

“We have a really deep team,” Trivigno said. “Our [defensemen] did a great job tonight. It was a group effort in Zone D, and it takes a lot to rule out a team. I think we have earned it. They did an incredible job.

UMass got goals from a pair of unlikely sources in the first 20 minutes to take a 2-0 lead.

Freshman Aaron Bohlinger picked the right time to get his first college goal, skating the puck on the ice after a roll. It quickly became a two-on-none as a pair of St. Cloud skaters collided and fell. Bohlinger passed the left and sent him through the ice to his classmate Ryan Sullivan, who drew St. Cloud goalkeeper David Hrenak to his side before sending him back to Bohlinger, who once put him into the net for a 1-0 7:26 lead in the game.

UMass’ second goal looked slightly like the winner of Thursday night’s game, with second goal of the season Cal Kiefiuk circling around the back of the net and pulling the puck through the area of ​​Reed Lebster, who hit him for his second goal of the season with just 1: 04 left in the first period.

“Our depth was one of the main reasons we got to the game tonight,” said senior captain Jake Gaudet. I’m so happy these guys are putting pucks in the net; they completely deserve it. We wouldn’t be here without a strong four-line squad and we have six excellent [defensemen] who plays exceptional and an excellent goalkeeper.

St. Cloud had the chance to take the lead in the opening minutes of the game, as Veeti Miettinen shot a twist past Lindberg, but the puck slammed onto the crossbar. The Huskies would end the first period with just three shots on goal.

Two special team goals gave the Minutemen a cushion in the second period. St. Cloud looked like he had a chance to come back in the game when he went on a power play with 16:03 left, but Philip Lagunov turned the situation around on the Huskies, causing a roll and carrying the puck across the blue line. , then deking defender Nick Prebix and beating Hrenak with a backhand, five holes to a 3-0 advantage.

It was the senior’s fourth goal of the season and the 16th in his 129-game career.

“We’ve been talking a lot about five-hole goals and trying to get the goalie out of the way over the last few months,” Lagunov said. “In terms of implementation, it has been put into practice.”

After St. Cloud had just one power play in the middle of the period, UMass threw a power play after the Huskies were called out for too many men on the ice.

The Minutemen executed flawlessly on the man advantage, keeping the puck in the Saint-Cloud zone and extending the lead on a Matt Kessel stopwatch from the point off a feed from Oliver Chau for a lead of 4-0 with 6:45 left in the intermediate period.

The Huskies managed to get a flurry of shots at the end of the period, finishing with 12 shots for a total of 15 over two periods, but Lindberg had the answer every time as UMass had the 4-0 advantage in the last 20 minutes.

With the game underway three minutes to go, Carvel reunited his team during a timeout so they could seize the moment.

“You don’t get such an opportunity too often in a championship situation,” Carvel said. “Some people told me today to take the moment and soak it up, so I said that to the kids.

“The game was obviously over and I wanted to tell them something before things got crazy. I wanted them to get in touch with them, look each other in the eyes and remember the moment, because honestly it will be the best time of their lives, and I just wanted them to hear it from me and hear my gratitude for all they did.

UMass’s Matthew Kessel celebrates with his teammates after scoring against St. Cloud St. in the second period.Jared Wickerham for the Boston Globe
UMass’s Philip Lagunov (17) greets teammate Garrett Wait after Lagunov’s shorthanded goal against St. Cloud St. gave the Minutemen a 3-0 second-period lead at the NCAA Championship at PIttsburgh.
Jared Wickerham for the Boston Globe
The Minutemen mobilize their goalie after winning the NCAA Championship in Pittsburgh.
Jared Wickerham for the Boston Globe
UMass's Philip Lagunov carries the trophy to his teammates after their 5-0 win over St. Cloud St.
UMass’s Philip Lagunov carries the trophy to his teammates after their 5-0 win over St. Cloud St.Jared Wickerham for the Boston Globe
Members of the Massachusetts hockey team celebrate their 5-0 victory over St. Cloud St. in the Men's Frozen Four.
Members of the Massachusetts hockey team celebrate their 5-0 win over St. Cloud St. in the Men’s Frozen Four.
Jared Wickerham for the Boston Globe

Follow Andrew Mahoney on Twitter @GlobeMahoney.

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