Watch Out! Watch Out!

Bri Repetto

Photo Courtesy of UMass Athletics

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.

Like 2019, the championship 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,” he said before the semifinal matchup against Minnesota Duluth. “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.”

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 were definitely not the last. In addition, the zoo definitely holds the title as the best University in the nation as the welcoming parade 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! 

Wagon Wednesday: Women’s Lax can’t be Stopped

Another week, another Wagon Wednesday. Welcome back! It’s a big week ahead, but let’s take a look back at the previous seven days. Women’s lacrosse highlights this week as they continue to demoralize A-10 opponents by outsourcing them 42-13 this week in back-to-back wins. Track and field is also on a hot streak as they filled up the podium in their latest meet. Women’s soccer started the week off last Wednesday dropping a tight road matchup against St. Joe’s. Saturday was a very busy day around UMass sports, though women’s soccer and track were the lone home teams on the first weekend with students welcome back in the stands. The week concluded yesterday afternoon with a dominating softball sweep over URI. Now let’s dive into this week’s top stars.

Our first star of the week is from the streaking women’s lacrosse squad. Senior attacker Caitlyn Petro had herself an afternoon on Saturday, notching a goal in the 21-goal onslaught of the Bonnies. However, the most impressive part of her game was her 20 draw controls, good for a program record. It’s only fitting that the New York native is the nation’s leading draw specialist. Pure domination this week from the Minutewomen has the team in a good position to continue their push towards the national rankings. 

On to our second star. This week we turn to the track where we find Abby Collins. The senior edged out her competition this weekend, sweeping first place finishes in both the 100m and 200m heats. Look at these times too, 12.51 seconds in the 100m and 25.91 in the 200m. SHEESH! You’re going to need slow motion to see her in those races cause those are some serious wheels Collins has. The whole track and field squad performed well this weekend too with a first place overall finish in the day’s events. 

Moving to our final star of the week, we jump back to the lacrosse field with Haley Connaughton. Making her second appearance on Wagon Wednesday, Connaughton deserved the nod as she ripped seven points against Duquense on Thursday by way of five goals and two assists. We’ve said it before, but our sources suggest that letting the Minutewomen get hot is not recommended. A-10 goalies might be receiving some sympathy cards soon the way this season is going. There’s not much else you can say here except wow! 

Now that we’ve sufficiently chirped A-10 goalies, that concludes this week’s Wagon Wednesday. This week is a massive one highlighted by hockey’s second straight Frozen Four appearance tomorrow night at 9 PM. Find some friends, find a TV and tune in because the natty is on the line. If you’re looking for things to do this weekend, field hockey, both lacrosse teams, and women’s soccer all have home games this weekend. Be there, be loud and be safe. See you right back here next week for another edition of Wagon Wednesday!

Wagon Wednesday: On to the Frozen Four

The Wagon is red hot. Like, scorching hot. AND it’s Wagon Wednesday! Name a better combo… we’ll wait. Think about it, but while you do that, a quick recap on the last week since there was a lot.

Let’s start with the playoffs. The Minutemen are off to their second straight Frozen Four after two dominating wins eerily similar to that of their last run to the natty. Women’s soccer extended their win streak to four games after snatching two close games this week. On the men’s side, Coach O’Leary’s squad split their games the week with the loss coming in overtime. Then you’ve got the track and field teams filling up the podium in their latest meet on Friday. Oh, and then there’s women’s lacrosse who continues to terrorize teams as they outscored their opponents 37-17 this week en route to two wins. Still thinking about a better combo? I’ll raise you a trio of stars from this week instead.

Leading the Minutemen to their second straight Frozen Four berth in just his first season in the maroon and white, Carson Gicewicz earns the first star of the week. The transfer had himself a night against Bemidji State on Saturday ripping three goals in the 4-0 win. Gicewicz’s hatty was the first of his collegiate career and first in team history in the NCAA Tournament. The second goal was probably the most impressive as it came off a waist-high deflection from a Matt Kessel point blast. Also just going to shoutout Oliver Chau because he’s been dishing out some beautiful setup passes on some of these goals, including on Gicewicz’s third of the night.

Our second star had herself a game for books too the following afternoon. Kelly Marra makes her second Wagon Wednesday appearance in three weeks after potting SEVEN goals (yes, you read that correctly) in the Minutewomen’s win over La Salle on Sunday. She put on a clinic and literally could not be stopped.. She also dished out an assist on the first goal of the game as well, making it an eight point day for the senior. Can we also talk about Haley Connaughton’s behind the back goal to put her on Sportscenter Top 10? On the run, behind the back and with some heat to the top shelf. Good luck to any goalie who has to face this team going forward.

The third star of the week keeps the beating La Salle theme going. Georgie McTear, aka Georgie Clutch Genes, stays hot with two goals, including an OT winner in Saturday’s tilt with the Explorers. McTear was involved in each of the Minutewomen goals on the afternoon as she assisted on the only one she didn’t score herself. As for her OT winner, McTear must’ve wanted to go home early or something because she wasted no time scoring less than a minute into overtime.

So that’s the trio of stars for the week, but in the spirit of OT winners, Olivia Gouldsbury of women’s soccer got one of her own, sending her team home happy Sunday afternoon. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Coach Dowiak and company have something special brewing over there at Fort Rudd as they’ve now rattled off four straight W’s.

That’ll do it for this edition of Wagon Wednesday. Hockey has a break before their Frozen Four battle with Minnesota Duluth a week from tomorrow but baseball and women’s soccer get the week started today with a bunch more games coming this weekend. Stay hot Flagship and we’ll see you back here next week. Until next time!

Wagon Wednesday: The Champ is Here

For the first time in program history, your UMass Minutemen are Hockey East Champions! To think this was just the cap to an electric week of UMass sports is unreal. Happy Wagon Wednesday everyone, and let’s look back real quick. Women’s lacrosse steamrolled Holy Cross for their third straight win while the men’s squad grabbed a convincing win over Drexel. Men’s and women’s soccer are both staying red hot as the men’s team stays undefeated after hanging a five spot on URI three days after tying La Salle. Coach Dowiak’s women’s squad shows us why Fordham is STILL too high after a 2-1 OT win against the Rams. Don’t forget about baseball either. They split both doubleheaders this weekend with Towson, though the bats were lively and the line was moving in game four as the Minutemen cruised to a 10-1 beat down in their series finale. Oh, and there’s women’s basketball and Coach Verdi earning his 150th win as the Minutewomen wrapped up their incredible season in the WNIT. 

Now for the good stuff: our three stars of the week. This week’s first star has yet to appear on a Wagon Wednesday, but what a time like a championship game to earn your first nod! Oh Captain our Captain, Jake Gaudet is our first star of the week after scoring the title clinching goal against Little Brother. Playing in his last game on Mullins Center ice, Gaudet seemed to want to skate over every square inch of the rink. He was all over the place the entire 60 minutes, playing a true “senior game” helping to propel the rest of his teammates to the first tournament title in program history. Filip Lindberg had a goose egg in net too, but this week, the spotlight belongs to Gaudet who has helped build the NewMass culture. 

Our second star of the week you probably have a 50/50 guess as to who it is by now. At this point, we should call these “Wagon Wednesday: Sam Breen & Two Stars”. It seems like every week she’s featured on Wagon Wednesday and I’ve lost count at this point the exact number but it’s probably close to the number of double doubles she had this year. Although she was one rebound shy of another double double, Sam Breen dropped 27 points on Ohio to close out the season, setting a new program record for points scored in a postseason game. It was a classic Breen Machine game, as she was dominant on the glass and showed why she deserves her selection to the WNIT All Region Team. We are sad that the season is over for the Minutewomen, but ending their statement season on a high note is exactly what you want to see heading into next year. 

Finally, the third star of the week earned A-10 Player of the Week honors after helping the Minutemen stay undefeated on the season. Introducing freshman forward, Alex Hughes. The Connecticut native shined in the 5-2 win against URI for men’s soccer with two goals on three shots. This Minutemen squad is red hot and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. A well balanced attack that opponents have a tough time game-planning for could prove to be the difference maker for a dominant run through A-10 Conference play. 

I could keep going about several other performances that just barely missed the cut this week (like Lindberg’s shutout or Kelly Marra & Haley Connaughton both posting hat tricks for women’s lacrosse). Unfortunately, three stars is the limit, so that’ll do it for this week’s Wagon Wednesday. This coming week there are several big games to watch, including, men’s soccer continuing their run through the A-10, women’s lacrosse and soccer each with a pair of games, and of course hockey begins their second consecutive run at a national title on Friday night. Stay tuned while the UMass Wagon stays hot and see you next week!

We’re going to go down in f-ing history

Bri Repetto

Photo Courtesy of UMass Athletics

The momentum built up over weeks and the game was finally here. It was a battle for the State: UMass Vs UMass. Who would take the title as Hockey East Champions? The game was filled with heart racing moments that made every fan jump out of their seats. This was the final game and the UMass Minutemen reigned supreme.

This will be a game that will go down in UMass history as this season’s 2020-21 team has done what no UMass team has done before. They fought hard over the course of this year to place as the third seed heading into the playoffs, and man did they take hold of this tournament. We saw it with Northeastern and Providence where they never once wavered in their strong lead.

Keeping up with this, defensemen Marc Del Gaizo made an excellent play in the second where he forced Lowell player Matt Brown away as he approached the net. By playing towards Brown’s chest Del Gaizo avoided any chance of a penalty and managed to get the puck away so Filip Lindberg could cover and pause play. Such key players on the roster held the line and kept pucks away from Lindberg who absolutely dominated in goal. In this final match he came out with a shutout after stopping an impressive 16 shots on goal.

Even when times looked tough in front of the net, Lindberg played with patience and strength, as shown by one play specifically where he was forced into the net as a whole herd of players had jumped on him. Lowell, believing the puck to have crossed the blue line, started yelling at the referees to review the play. However, the linesman on the ice originally called it no goal. No matter if the puck crossed the line or not, there was definite goalie interference on Lindberg. After a few minutes it was deemed no goal after review. Despite this one instance being so chaotic, Lindberg managed to control the puck really well throughout the game. He even had an amazing glove save on Lowell’s forward Andre Lee who was a real force for the Riverhawks. 

Lee had a dominating presence in the game for Lowell as he seemed to be thrown out onto the ice constantly. All you heard from the announcers was his name followed by “…puts the puck on net…” Despite this solid play for the Riverhawks, he failed at getting the puck past Lindberg. This is something that UMass Captain Jake Gaudet succeeded at against Lowell goaltender Henry Welsch late into the first.

This is definitely a goal that you need to go back and rewatch if you missed it. Gaudet shot the puck and it rebounded off of Welsch and the side of the net just slightly behind it. With quick thinking, Gaudet stayed with the puck and shot it towards the net where it then went off the arm of Welsch and in. It was a tremendous goal by Gaudet, and he scored his third goal of the season in his final game on home ice. Well deserved and I am sure every UMass fan jumped out of their seat when they witnessed it crossing the blue line. Unfortunately for UMass fans, none were permitted into the game to see this all unfold in person. I am sure however that in the case that fans could attend, Mullins would have been lit up from excitement and pride. It is nothing short of amazing what this team has accomplished, and I am sure every student, alumni, or future Minutestudent feels the momentum of this victory.

Lastly, at the conclusion of the game several players from UMass and a few from Lowell were named on the Hockey East All-Star Team. These players consisted of goaltender Filip Lindberg (UM), defensemen Zac Jones (UM), Anthony Baxter (UML), forwards Bobby Trivigno (UM), Jake Gaudet (UM), and Matt Brown (UML). Lastly, Trivigno earned MVP of the series as well as the Walter Brown Award of which he is the first to win in UMass history. 

UMass now looks ahead to the NCAA Bridgeport Regional matchup against Lake Superior on Friday March 26 at 6:30. To be a part of the Militia from home, follow along on Twitter and Instagram to cheer on your UMass Minutemen!