The three goals were his first hat trick of his college career
Nina Walat / Daily Collegian
BRIDGEPORT, Conn.—When the Massachusetts hockey team reached the Hockey East Tournament this year, they turned to a familiar face to supply much of its offense.
In UMass’ (18-5-4, 16-5-4 Hockey East) first two Hockey East playoff games, Bobby Trivigno had six points to his name. Soon after the Minutemen captured the Hockey East crown, Trivigno was named the Walter Brown Award winner.
In the week leading up to UMass’ NCAA Tournament opener, all the talk was about its junior winger—and rightfully so, he’d practically willed them to wins down the stretch. However, as the stage grew, Minutemen head coach Greg Carvel knew his team would need more help.
“Trivigno can’t carry us every single game,” Carvel said after UMass’ win over Lake Superior State on Friday. “We need other guys to step up.”
And step up they have.
On Friday it was Jake Gaudet. The senior captain netted two goals to boost his season total from three to five.
Friday’s game served as the second-straight game that Trivigno had been held without a point, but just as during the Hockey East final, others stepped up in his place.
Then on Saturday—needing a win over Bemidji State (16-10-3, 8-5-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) to advance to the Frozen Four, the second in a three-year span—Trivigno went without a point once more. This time it was graduate transfer Carson Gicewicz who stepped up for the Minutemen.
“You have to have senior leadership leading the way this time of the year,” Carvel said. “Your best players and your oldest players.”
In UMass’ 4-0 win over the Beavers, it was Gicewicz making plays time and time again. Whether it was smart passes, clears on the penalty kill, blocked shots or, most notably, his three goals, Gicewicz was there to bolster the Minutemen on a night where Trivigno couldn’t find the scoresheet.
Gicewicz first found the scoresheet midway through the first. On the penalty kill, Gicewicz tipped a puck getting cleared down the ice. With the puck then sitting in no-man’s-land in the neutral zone, Gicewicz tracked it down, earing a two-on-one rush in the process. Then, with a pass to Oliver Chau to draw the defender and a pass back, Gicewicz buried the short-handed goal.
A second goal to close out the period matched the veteran’s career high and gave his team a two-goal advantage heading into the second frame.
In between periods the Orchard Park, N.Y. native even made it a point in his interview with the ESPN broadcast to say it was a goal of his to complete the hat trick.
It didn’t take long for him to bring his desire to fruition. And even as UMass’ most prolific scorer Trivigno failed to muster a point, Gicewicz added his third goal of the night. This time courtesy of a feed from the previous night’s hero, Gaudet.
“To get [a hat trick] on a stage like this, and for all of them to be where I didn’t have to do much,” Gicewicz said, “just goes to show how solid of a team we have and if you’re standing in the right spots, the guys will find you every time.”
It wasn’t that Trivigno has played poorly over the two-night stretch—he nearly put away a breakaway near the mid-point of the third—it was just what Carvel had preached: The Minutemen needed other players to step up if they were to succeed.
Thanks to secondary scoring options like Gaudet and Gicewicz, UMass now finds itself as one of the last four teams remaining, with just two wins between them and a National Championship.
“We’re just throwing four lines over [the boards],” Carvel said, “and everybody’s playing with energy and we played really good defensive hockey which is what I want to see out of the group more than anything.”
Noah Bortle can be reached at [email protected]. He can be followed on Twitter @noah_bortle.