Carson Gicewicz hat trick sends UMass hockey back to Frozen Four

  • UMass senior forward Carson Gicewicz netted his first career hat trick against Bemidji State on Saturday in the NCAA East Regional final at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. The Minutmen defeated the Beavers 4-0 to advance to their second consecutive Frozen Four. THOM KENDALL/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • UMass senior forward Carson Gicewicz netted his first career hat trick against Bemidji State on Saturday in the NCAA East Regional final at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. The Minutmen defeated the Beavers 4-0 to advance to their second consecutive Frozen Four. THOM KENDALL/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • UMass junior Filip Lindberg saved 18 shots for his third NCAA Tournament shutout Saturday, as the Minutemen beat Bemidji State 4-0 at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. THOM KENDALL/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • UMass senior forward Oliver Chau finished with two points, as the Minutemen defeated Bemidji State 4-0 on Saturday to return to the Frozen Four. THOM KENDALL/UMASS ATHLETICS

Staff Writer
Published: 3/27/2021 7:41:01 PM

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Carson Gicewicz soaked in the moment, then he seized it.

The UMass senior watched all of the Webster Bank Arena big screen pageantry before Saturday’s NCAA East Regional final against Bemidji State.

“I was looking, taking it all in. This is a first for me, it’s a first for a lot of the guys on this team,” the graduate transfer from St. Lawrence said. “Just trying to experience it the right way.”

No better way than by collecting your first collegiate hat trick in a 4-0 victory that sent the Minutemen back to the Frozen Four. Gicewicz scored a natural hat trick, netting three consecutive goals in the game’s first 26 minutes, 34 seconds. The arena public address announcer pronounced his name three different ways.

“To get one on a stage like this, and for all of them to be where I didn’t have to do much,” he said, “it goes to show how solid of a team we have, and how if you’re standing in the right spots, the guys will find you every time.”

It was the NCAA Tournament’s first hat trick since Denver’s Jarid Lukosevicius put away three goals in the 2017 national championship game. No UMass player had ever scored a hat trick in the NCAA Tournament. John Leonard had UMass’ last hat trick in Feb. 2020 against UMass Lowell.

“Carson had cooled down after a real strong start and middle of the season,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said. “We’re getting him going.”

Gicewicz put away two goals in the first period to stake the Minutemen an early advantage. The first emerged from potential disaster.

Oliver Chau committed a hooking infraction 11:24 in that became a 5-on-3 after 50 seconds when Jake Gaudet was whistled for tripping. UMass managed the two-man disadvantage then turned the second penalty into a lead.

Bemidji dumped the puck in, and UMass controlled it behind its goal. Freshman Aaron Bohlinger found Gicewicz with a stretch pass up the middle. Gicewicz heard Chau screaming for the puck – he normally doesn’t do that – so he dropped it to him shortly after crossing the blue line. Chau drove toward the net, faked a shot and returned it to Gicewicz across the ice. He buried a one-timer for his first career shorthanded goal that put UMass ahead 1-0 14:24 in. It was Chau’s third assist in two regional games.

“That’s a punch in the gut,” Bemidji coach Tom Serratore said. “If we’re not going to score, don’t give up the shorty. It’s tough on you psychologically, as well.”

Four minutes, 44 seconds later, Gicewicz doubled the lead. He parked himself right outside the Bemidji crease then redirected a Matthew Kessel blast into the net in the period’s final minute.

Gicewicz completed the hat trick 6:34 into the second period. Gaudet carried the puck from the blue line and attacked the net before finding Gicewicz across the crease. He went five-hole to give UMass a 3-0 lead. Marc Del Gaizo added an assist, as well.

After setting up goals all weekend, Chau put a bow on UMass’ second consecutive Frozen Four trip with 3:04 left. He chased down a puck that could have been icing if he didn’t get there and slipped it into an open net.

“We complement each other well. They like to shoot the puck, I like to give it to them,” Chau said. 

UMass didn’t clean up its penalty issues from the opener against Lake Superior State. The Minutemen sent the Beavers to the power play six times but didn’t allow any man-advantage goals. Philip Lagunov was whistled for a five-minute major for contact to the head and game misconduct at 17:22 of the third period. That penalty disqualified him.

The Minutemen (18-5-4) drew three penalties: a roughing call eight minutes into the second, a tripping call three minutes later and a boarding call 50 seconds after that for a two-man advantage. They only managed three shots in six power play minutes.

“We took too many penalties, and I didn’t like our power play,” Carvel said. “But 5-on-5, real dominant effort.”

Filip Lindberg notched his third career NCAA Tournament shutout with 18 saves. He’s only allowed one goal in four regional games.

UMass will have a rematch of the 2019 national championship game against Minnesota-Duluth in the national semifinals on April 8 in Pittsburgh. The Bulldogs knocked off No. 1 North Dakota in five overtimes early Sunday morning.

“That’s out of our hands, we just focus on the next one,” Chau said.




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