University of Massachusetts men’s hockey head coach Greg Carvel had a simple request with three minutes remaining and his Minutemen leading St. Cloud State 5-0 in the NCAA Division I National Championship game.
“I asked them to soak it in, that they earned this,” Carvel told ESPN after the Minutemen earned the program’s first-ever Division I National Championship. “I asked them to take a minute, soak the last three minutes in. I tried to. I told them, ‘I’m 50 years old. This is as good as it gets.’ I wanted them to just take it in.”
The Hockey East champions dominated the Huskies on Saturday night at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. UMass took a 2-0 lead after the opening period and a 4-0 lead into the final frame before tacking on one final goal for the 5-0 verdict.
“I’m very proud of everybody in our program,” Carvel said. “Where this program was five years ago and now we’re National Champions. These kids have done it all. I’m so proud of them. So thankful. Very grateful.”
UMass junior forward Bobby Trivigno was named the Most Outstanding Player after he scored the fifth and final goal of the game in the third period.
Teammates Aaron Bohlinger, Reed Lebster, Philip Lagunov and Matt Kessel each scored goals through the first two periods.
“This is amazing,” Trivigno said on the ESPN broadcast. “These seniors have worked so hard for this. They completely changed this program around and they absolutely deserve this. I’m so happy for them.”
Trivigno praised the job his head coach has done, too.
“It’s the culture. He cares about character more than skill,” Trivigno said. “That’s what we’re building. We have a hell of a lot of character. I’m so happy to be part of it. It’s crazy.”
That character, as Trivigno expressed, was on display in the title game.
“Just the compete out there. Just battling hard,” he said. “I don’t even know what to say. Just so crazy. We just willed this one to victory.”
Saturday’s victory capped a season in which UMass ran through both the Hockey East tournament as well as the NCAA?s Bridgeport regional en route to reaching the Frozen Four. The Minutemen claimed one-sided wins over Lake Superior State (5-1) and Bemidji State (4-0) before a Frozen Four victory against the two-time defending national champion Minnesota Duluth (3-2).
UMass concludes its 2020-21 season with a 20-5-4 overall record.