Elizabeth Muirhead ’20 | Assistant Sports Editor
This season, the UMass men’s hockey team has taken UMass athletics and the college hockey world by storm with their phenomenal opening half of the season. As of Mon., Dec. 10, their record stands at an impressive 13-2, and they’re ranked second behind St. Cloud State in Minnesota. Their record looks even more impressive when you consider the mixed results that the team earned last season; they finished with a record of 17-20-2. So what changed this season to make the team more successful?
For starters, we need to consider how fresh players impacted the team’s dynamic. This year, the Minutemen gained nine new players, including a transfer from St. Lawrence, Jacob Pritchard ’19, who made his presence on the ice known with 16 points in only 15 games. Other notable additions to the team include Bobby Trivigno ’22, who has put up 10 points in 14 games, and Marc Del Gaizo ’22, who has 9 points in 15 games.
When I reached out to captain Mario Ferraro ’21 to ask about the team’s success this season, he said, “We've been successful as a team because we are never satisfied with the success we’re having. Every day we get to the rink ready to elevate and get better because we know that's what it is gonna take to win a championship.” The relentless and inspiring tone set by the captain speaks to UMass’s ability to deliver on the ice and persist. This attitude is illustrated by their performance this weekend. Last Friday, they competed against the number-eight team, Quinnipiac, in an away game and lost 4-0.
The next day, they took on Quinnipiac again at home and won in an exciting 3-1 comeback win. The first period was completely scoreless, with UMass outshooting Quinnipiac 13-8. In the second period, the score broke with Chase Priskie of Quinnipiac scoring his first goal of the season on a powerplay. Even thought they were losing 0-1, UMass managed another 12 shots to Quinnipiac’s 10 in the second period. Finally, five and a half minutes into the third period, UMass managed to put one away with a goal by defenseman Ivan Chukarov ’19, assisted by Colin Felix ’22 and Mitchell Chaffee ’21. A few minutes later in the period, UMass’s Jacob Prichard ’19 scored the game-winning goal for the team, assisted by Philip Lagunov ’21. Finally, with only 30 seconds left on the clock, Bobby Trivigno ’22 scored an empty-net goal to make the game 3-1 and solidified the 13th victory for UMass this season.
The anticipation of the matchup and close nature of the two teams made this past Saturday’s game extremely popular. UMass student Michael Knox ’20 remarked, “We waited outside for like an hour and a half.” Another UMass student, Nick Simonelli ’20, noted that “the team was feeding off the energy of the crowd, which was what really changed the momentum of the game.”
The team doesn’t play again until Fri., Jan. 4, where they take on UMass Lowell at home. Even if you can’t make it to the upcoming games, be sure to keep your eye on the schedule and come support one of the best NCAA hockey teams in the country.