BOSTON — While the games certainly counted, and provided a glimpse into the state of multiple hockey program’s around New England, Frozen Fenway felt more like a celebration than any old event.
The fifth edition of the popular event saw eight programs participate. UMass, Boston College, Northeastern and UConn on the men’s side, and Quinnipiac, Harvard, Boston University and Holy Cross on the women’s side headlined the two-day event that produced great hockey.
What made that hockey so great?
Northeastern men’s hockey coach Jerry Keefe has an idea.
“Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games,” Keefe said following Northeastern’s victory, forecasting the story of both games Saturday.
Friday night provided a “magical” experience on the women’s side, with Saturday doing much of the same on the men’s.
It seemed as though each team had a hero, whether they won or not.
In game one, Northeastern had goaltender Devon Levi, who finished with 29 saves on 30 shots, stopped a barrage of shots from UConn skaters to help the Huskies (in red) take home a victory. UConn had Matthew Wood, who scored its lone goal and single-handedly almost dragged them back with his puck possession and defensive intensity.
In game two, Boston College had Cam Burke score a pair of goals and play stout defense in their surviving effort against the Minutemen. UMass had Ryan Ufko return and pot its second goal in his first game since returning from the World Juniors, where he lead Team USA with nine assists in five games.
All of those players are viewed as leaders for their respective teams and potential NHLers, and they all showed up in the biggest moment of their respective seasons.
Here are more notes from the Frozen Fenway doubleheader:
— Levi was the star of the festivities, single-handedly keeping UConn from storming back and making it a game against Northeastern. The Buffalo Sabres prospect is viewed by many as the top goaltender in the country — including his coach and teammates.
“Our goaltender was great tonight. He was big-time,” Keefe said postgame. “We’ve got all the confidence in the world in Levi. He’s the best goaltender in the country and we know that.”
“Dev (Levi) does what Dev does,” Northeastern captain Aidan McDonough said postgame. “Everyone always says he’s the best goaltender in the country for a reason. He just works harder than anybody that I’ve ever met. He leads the way with work ethic.”
— UMass’ Ufko and Kenny Connors both returned Saturday after playing for Team USA in the World Juniors. UMass coach Greg Carvel spoke about the representation of UMass at the World Juniors.
“We thought both guys represented UMass and Team USA very well,” Carvel said. “… We’re proud of what they did. They said UMass hockey quite a bit during the tournament because of those guys.”