BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — With a 4-0 win over Bemidji State – and a natural hat trick by senior Carson Gicewicz – the UMass Minutemen advance to Pittsburgh, making their second consecutive Frozen Four appearance.
“I thought that was a very dominant game, a very thorough game by our group,” said coach Greg Carvel. “We came out, we set the tone, and played very strong, defensive hockey. I don’t think we gave up a ton. There weren’t a ton of scoring chances in the game, but our first line was huge this weekend and scored most of our goals.”
The UMass top line of Oliver Chau, Jake Gaudet and Gicewicz was responsible for seven of the nine goals the Minutemen tallied in Bridgeport. In Friday’s 5-1 win over Lake Superior State, Gaudet netted two and Gicewicz scored one. In tonight’s game, Chau had the Minutemen’s fourth goal.
After expressing his displeasure with his team’s performance against the Lakers Friday, Carvel said that tonight the Minutemen responded well.
“I was not happy with the game yesterday” said Carvel. “It happens. You’re not going to get an A-plus game every night, but tonight was an A-plus game.”
There was one area of the UMass game that Carvel said was lacking, the Minutemen’s special teams.
“We took too many penalties,” said Carvel, “and I didn’t like our power play tonight, but five-on-five, a real dominant effort by our group.” Carvel was pointed specifically to an extended two-man advantage in the middle of the second period.
“I thought the only part of the game when we sank a bit was when we got the five-on-three power play,” said Carvel. “We’d gone up 3-0 and things are going our way and you get that five-on-three power play, we stopped playing as hard as we were and started cheating a little bit the last five minutes of the second period. I wasn’t happy with that.”
Gicewicz opened the scoring at 14:24 in the first, finishing a shorthanded odd-man rush with 10 seconds remaining in the Bemidji State power play and less than a minute after a two-man advantage for the Beavers had expired. Aaron Bohlinger fed Gicewicz, who passed to Chau, who dished back to Gicewicz for the goal.
“I actually thought I had a breakaway,” said Gicewicz. “Chauser’s a pretty quiet guy and I’ve never heard him yell that loud for the puck, so I dropped it to him and at that point, he’s going to make the right play. He put it right on my stick and that’s a huge goal.”
“That’s a punch to the gut,” said Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore. “You want to score in a five-on-three. If you’re not going to score, don’t give up the shorty and it’s still 1-0. It’s tough on you psychologically as well when you give up the shorthanded goal.”
Gicewicz made it even harder for the Beavers to recover when he delivered his second goal with less than a minute remaining in the first. At 6:34 in the second, Gicewicz scored his 17th of the season to give the Minutemen a 3-0 lead. Chau’s goal came at 16:56 in the third with Bemidi goaltender Zach Driscoll pulled for the extra attacker.
“We’ve come back from games before,” said Beavers’ captain Ethan Somoza. “We’ve been behind. We’re comfortable in that situation. We just weren’t able to do it tonight.”
“It was a really good hockey team we played today,” said Serratore. “It was the best hockey team we’ve seen all year. They had great speed, well balanced team. Once we got behind, we started chasing the game and it was just hard to get that first one. I felt if we’d have gotten the first goal or even when it was 2-0 we’d have answered back, that could have jumpstarted us but that just never happened.”
In net for UMass, Filip Lindberg stopped 18 in his fourth shutout of the season, the 10th of his career.
Bemidji State finishes the season with a 16-10-3 record and the Beavers’ first NCAA appearance since 2010. “This was a very difficult year, for our guys, for everybody,” said Serratore. “This has been a tough year and they’ve really battled through a lot.”