UMass advances to the NCAA championship game with an overtime win over Denver

Denver had overcome a two-goal third period deficit to send the game to overtime

Paul Hamilton
April 12, 2019 - 12:26 am

Photo: Elsa - Getty Images


Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - UMass looked dead in the water in the third period, but found a way to beat the Pioneers in overtime 4-3. Marc Del Gaizo’s one-timer from the top of the left circle was an absolute laser that beat Filip Larsson. Del Gaizo is no stranger to scoring goals as that was his 13th of the season.

Denver had totally taken over their semifinal matchup against UMass, dominating the third period. The Pioneers were down 3-1, but spent most of the period in the offensive zone and it paid off with two Cole Guttman goals to send the game to overtime.

Denver out-shot UMass 15-4 in the third and would’ve won the game had it not been for Filip Lindberg.

This turned out to be a fun game with a lot of drama, and UMass and Denver are two very good college hockey teams, but they play dumb and are undisciplined. In the first two periods, the two teams combined for three vicious head hits that resulted in major penalties and game misconducts.

Niko Hildenbrand took the first one and it resulted in the Pioneers taking the lead on a Kohen Olischefski goal. Lindberg had made four brilliant saves before Olischefski finally pushed one by him.

UMass then took advantage of three straight Denver penalties to score three power play goals in 1:41.

Ryan Barrow went head hunting and took a major penalty for Denver, resulting in two of those goals. The Pioneers will be kicking themselves for their undisciplined game because in the end, they lost because of it.

It was fun to watch the Minutemen on the power play. They move the puck with such precision. The likely Hobey Baker award winner Cale Makar made a beautiful play to Mitchell Chaffee for one of the goals. Makar now has 16 goals and 33 assist for 49 points on the season.

Bobby Trivigno and John Leonard scored the other two for UMass.

Chaffee took the next head shot major penalty, but UMass did a terrific job killing it off giving up one scoring chance.

Denver made it close midway through the third period when Guttman curled through the slot and rifled a wrister by Lindberg. The Pioneers earned the goal as they maintained quite a bit of zone time leading up to that goal.

Denver continued to dominate the period as Guttman tied it from in front with just 3:46 left in regulation time. You have to wonder how much of a toll having two forwards getting kicked out had.

UMass has been No. 1 in college hockey for a lot of the season, and at 31-9-0 will be a huge test for Minnesota Duluth, which is looking for back-to-back National Championships. The Bulldogs beat Providence 4-1 to up their record to 28-11-2.

The Championship game will be Saturday starting at 8:00.

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