UMass hockey notebook: Packed stretch ahead for Minutemen after long layoffs

  • UMass captain Bobby Trivigno is a 2022 Hobey Baker award nominee. He was a first-team All American last season and the Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • UMass defenseman Scott Morrow is tied for the team lead with 18 points. The Minutemen host Northeastern at 7 p.m. Friday in the Mullins Center. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • The UMass hockey team begins a streatch of five games in 10 days by hosting Northeastern at 7 p.m. Friday at the Mullins Center. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

Staff Writer
Published: 1/18/2022 5:41:33 PM
Modified: 1/18/2022 5:40:28 PM

What about second break?

The UMass men’s hockey team hasn’t played a game in two weeks. This stretch follows a span where the team played three games in a week after three weeks off for the scheduled time off between semesters. That’s just three games in 40 days for the No. 14 team in the country.

The Minutemen went 1-2 in those games, taking out Merrimack before dropping two games at Michigan.

“When you play high-end teams, they really expose the weaker parts of your game,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said. “When you do lose, the silver lining is you usually find a way to make your team better.”

Now the Minutemen are facing a stretch of five games in 10 days, all against top-shelf Hockey East competition. It starts Friday when No. 10 Northeastern visits the Mullins Center at 7 p.m. It’ll be UMass’ first home game since Jan. 3, and the teams will play the second half of the home-and-home at Matthews Arena at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Then Boston University comes to Amherst on Jan. 25. No. 16 Providence completes the three-game home stand Jan. 28 before the Minutemen travel to Tsongas Arena to play at No. 12 UMass Lowell on Jan. 30.

“(We’re) making sure our batteries are fully charged,” Carvel said.

UMass (10-6-2, 7-2-2) will likely have its full lineup available to get through the onslaught. Carvel said there are a few “bumps and bruises” but didn’t rule anyone out for the series.

“We're just a lot closer than we used to be. So if we're missing one or two guys, I can live with that,” Carvel said. “Five and six is tough to get over, but we’ve got pretty good depth. So if we're only missing one or two guys, it's not an issue.”

GET OUT THE VOTE – UMass senior forward Bobby Trivigno is one of 77 nominees for the 2022 Hobey Baker award. The first-team All-American and 2021 Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player co-leads the Minutemen with 18 points. He’s scored eight goals with 10 assists.

“There’s not many games you go into where you’re like, ‘hey guys we’ve got to make sure we keep this guy in check.’ And I'm guessing teams do that when they talk about Bobby,” Carvel said. “That’s a guy that makes an impact.”

Trivigno notched his 100th career point against the Wolverines. Teams can nominate as many players as they want, but Carvel doesn’t think it makes a lot of sense to nominate more than one. 

“You should know who your best player is,” he said. “Bobby is that and continues to be.”

The announcement of the 77-player long list also coincided with the opening of fan voting, which runs through March 6. Vote at https://hobeybaker.com/awards/vote-for-hobey/ once per day.

The Hobey Baker award will be presented April 8 during the Frozen Four in Boston.

STAYING WHOLE – Fifteen of the 25 players on the USA’s Olympic men’s hockey roster are current college hockey players. Eight ranked teams are losing stars to the Beijing Games. Two are from Boston College, and one is from Boston University to make up the Hockey East contingent.

There are none from UMass. The Minutemen remain intact while other teams will have holes to fill down the stretch run and potentially into the postseason depending on quarantine requirements. The Olympic men’s tournament runs from Feb. 9-20.

“You're not losing depth guys. You're losing your best players. So I think it's an advantage for some teams and a disadvantage for others,” Carvel said. “It is primarily college hockey players and the best ones from good teams. So I think it is obviously an advantage.”

SETTING THE TABLE – As Hockey East play prepares to return in earnest, the Minutemen sit second in the league standings with 24 points. UMass Lowell leads the conference with 31 points, but the River Hawks have played 13 league games.

The Minutemen and Northeastern (third with 23) have only played 11. Providence, tied for fourth with BC and BU at 19 points, has also played 13 games.

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

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