Published: 10/13/2022 3:46:30 PM
AMHERST – The University of Denver holds a particular position in UMass hockey historical past.
Marc Del Gaizo unleashed a slapshot in overtime of the 2019 Frozen Four to ship the Minutemen to their first nationwide championship sport right away vintage that stored the then-greatest season in program historical past alive.
“We’ve scored some big goals and played in big situations, but that goal, for whatever reason, maybe because it’s overtime and there were actual fans in the building compared to maybe (Garrett) Wait’s overtime goal (against Minnesota Duluth in 2021) and it took us to a stratosphere that we hadn’t been to,” UMass trainer Greg Carvel stated. “I still – actually I just watched it (Tuesday) morning as we were preparing for Denver and using that clip as an example of – to me it was also on a personal level – that was a system beating a system as opposed to any individual play. That rings up there as well as one of the most memorable.”
But as the Thirteenth-ranked Minutemen get ready to host Denver at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday – the No. 1-ranked, protecting nationwide champion Pioneers – it’s just that, a memory. Denver beat UMass in two video games in Colorado all through the 2019-2020 season and was once meant to return to the Mullins Center the next season earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic restricted school hockey groups to conference-only video games.
Only one participant stays from both crew from the 2019 nationwide semifinal: Denver senior defenseman Kyle Mayhew, who’s in his 5th season of eligibility because of the NCAA’s blanket COVID-19 waiver. There are 5 Pioneers who stay from the Jan. 2020 sequence: goalie Magnus Chrona, ahead Brett Edwards, defenseman Lane Krenzen, defenseman Justin Lee and Mayhew.
UMass retained 3 gamers with revel in towards Denver: its management staff of seniors Eric Faith, Cal Kiefiuk and Reed Lebster.
“We know they’re gonna be a good team. It’s been a couple of years. Obviously, we have a whole different team than we had then and they have a whole different team, but I think some of the systems will probably be the same,” Kiefiuk stated. “But we’re going to focus on ourselves and what we need to do. That’s what makes us successful is when we focus on ourselves and focus on our game.”
UMass (0-0-1) wanted till the 3rd duration in its opener towards AIC to search out its sport. That might be too past due towards Denver (2-0). The Pioneers poured in 8 objectives of their first two video games – wins towards Notre Dame and Maine at house – and scored six instances within the first two sessions.
“I don’t feel like I have to worry about us not being ready to play Denver,” Carvel stated.
The Pioneers gave the impression to have discovered a remedy to the publish championship hangover that UMass wanted a few weeks to shake remaining season. Perhaps profitable 9 nationwide titles teaches a program the remedy.
“Last year, there was concern of the hangover and complacency being national champions and I felt there was some of that even though we talked about it, it took us a while to get going last year,” Carvel stated. “We went through the summer, and I thought we handled it really well. We weren’t national champions, but we are Hockey East defending champions. I don’t feel any kind of complacency.”
For the primary time in additional than a 12 months, the Minutemen are aiming on the goal fairly than dressed in it.
“God-damn, it feels good to be the underdog,” Carvel stated. “It’s a lot easier to get excited for games when you’re the underdog as opposed to the – it’s not really pressure – you’re gonna get other teams’ best all the time. We’ve had a very good little history with Denver over the last couple of years, and I don’t expect them to come in here and take us lightly.”
Denver leads the best-ever sequence 5-1, however that one win was once one to bear in mind.
Kyle Grabowski can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.