Hockey East tournament: Bobby Trivigno continues hot streak to send UMass to championship

  • Josh Lopina and Bobby Trivigno delivered the UMass hockey team a lead 52 seconds in to Wednesday's Hockey East semifinal against Providence at the Mullins Center in Amherst. The Minutemen beat the Friars 5-2 to advance to Saturday's championship game against UMass Lowell. THOM KENDALL/UMASS ATHLETICS

Staff Writer
Published: 3/17/2021 9:36:44 PM

Bobby Trivigno continued his rampage in the Hockey East tournament semifinals. After assisting on UMass’ two first-period goals, the junior forward opened the second period with a goal 1 minute, 22 seconds  in from Zac Jones. Jones fed him a cross-ice pass to the right circle, and Trivigno unloaded to the far side of the net.

That broke a tie and proved the game-winner, as UMass beat Providence 5-2 at the Mullins Center on Wednesday to reach its first Hockey East championship game since 2004. The Minutemen will host seventh-seed UMass Lowell at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Mullins Center after the River Hawks upset No. 1 Boston College 6-5 in double overtime in Chestnut Hill.

“It’s been a crazy year. I’m so proud of our kids,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said.

Trivigno’s goal, his second of the tournament and sixth point, put UMass ahead 3-2, and the Minutemen controlled the game’s remaining stages.

“It gave them a lot of energy and it took energy away from us,” Providence coach Nate Leaman said. “From that point on, we struggled managing pucks'.”

UMass outshot the Friars 28-17 over the final two periods, and Providence only put 11 shots on goal. UMass goalie Filip Lindberg saved 20 shots, and nine of them were in the first half .

“The second and third we clamped down and didn’t give them anything,” Carvel said. “We didn’t give them any life, they couldn’t get momentum going.”

Recently minted Hockey East Co-Rookie of the Year Josh Lopina started ignited UMass in the game’s first minute. He scored 52 seconds in, finishing a Matt Kessel pass from behind the net in the slot after the Minutemen overwhelmed the Friars early. Trivigno picked up a secondary assist on the play.

Providence responded quickly. Brett Berard tied the game five minutes later on a wraparound to Lindberg’s left following a Nick Poisson pass off the boards. 

The Friars went on the power play 40 seconds later when Aaron Bohlinger was whistled for hooking. Parker Ford gave Providence a 2-1 lead with 12:46 remaining in the period from Tyce Thompson and Michael Callahan.

“I think we were unfazed. We’ve been in situations like that before and we stayed the course,” Trivigno said. “Kudos to them getting up one on us, but our team is determined to win hockey games and we  know how to do that.”

The Minutemen settle d, then its high-powered blue line duo went to work. Kessel slid a pass across the blue line to Jones, who clapped a slap shot after centering himself in the offensive zone. That tied the game at 2 with 9:14 in the period. Trivigno also had an assist on the play.

“I thought Jones was outstanding,” Carvel said. “He wanted to be a difference maker.”

Fourth-liner George Mika netted an insurance goal midway through the third period. Fresh off the bench after a change, Marc Del Gaizo fed him a pass inside the blue line, and Mika beat Jaxson Stauber from distance. Colin Felix had the secondary assist.

“That was a back breaker,” Carvel said.

Del Gaizo added an empty-netter to cement UMass’ victory with 41.2 seconds left.

The Minutemen swept the River Hawks in two games this season, including winning at Tsongas Arena for the first time in a decade.

“It’s been hard year in many ways but these kids have made it memorable,” Carvel said. “If you told me at the beginning of the year, ‘you’re gong to be playing in the Hockey East championship game,’ I don’t know if I would have believed it. But these kids have made it happen.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.

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