In a Frozen Four version of a heavyweight prize fight, the Minutemen of UMass KO’d reigning champ Minnesota-Duluth, 3-2, in overtime. Junior transfer Garrett Wait delivered the knockout, jamming in a puck from atop the goalmouth early Friday morning.
“It was pretty cool, something everyone dreams about,” said Wait, whose tally handed the Bulldogs their first NCAA loss since the 2017 championship game.
There was little cause for optimism for UMass fans for much of this contest. The Minutemen had been outplayed, outshotand essentially bullied down low by Duluth’s heavyweights, trailing 2-1 in the third. But the Minutemen received a major boost from junior Anthony Del Gaizo’s tying goal midway through the final stanza, and the game noticeably turned. UMass dominated the overtime, outshooting the champs 12-2, until Walter Brown Award winner Bobby Trivigno carried the puck deep around the Duluth goal line before finding Wait, who delivered the final blow at the 14:30 mark of sudden death. According to UMass coach Greg Carvel, this was all part of the winning formula.
“That was our plan going into overtime,” said Carvel postgame. “Try to wear them down, cut back, take the puck to the back post, and have somebody there to tap it in. The one thing about this team, is they know what makes them good. When they smell blood in the water, they took it up a notch.”