BUFFALO, N.Y. – Marc Del Gaizo scored on a one-timer from the top of the left circle at 15 minutes, 18 seconds of overtime, giving Massachusetts a 4-3 victory over Denver in a Frozen Four semifinal that ended just after midnight Friday.
“It was probably the coolest moment of my life,” said Del Gaizo, who scored when Oliver Chau dug out a loose puck behind the Denver net and fed a pass to him, resulting in the freshman defenseman’s 13th goal of the season.
UMass (31-9), playing in its first Frozen Four, acquitted itself well. The Minutemen, 4-1 in five overtime games this season, scored three power-play goals in a stretch of 1 minute, 41 seconds of the first period to build a 3-1 lead. Mitchell Chafee’s goal at 13:04 put UMass ahead 2-1 and, 18 seconds later, John Leonard made it 3-1. Those two goals came on a five-minute major penalty on Denver’s Ryan Barrow for contact to the head.
Colin Staub scored in the first period for the Pioneers (24-12-5), and Cole Guttman scored twice goals in the third, his second tying the score with 3:46 to play.
Denver, playing in the Frozen Four for the third time in four years, has won eight NCAA titles, the most recent in 2017 when the Pioneers beat UMD 3-2 in Chicago.
Filip Lindberg of Espoo, Finland, had 37 saves for the Minutemen, while Filip Larsson of Stockholm had 24 saves for the Pioneers. Both freshmen were coming off two shutouts in region play. Lindberg’s best save of overtime came a little over eight minutes in when he stopped Tyson McLellan on a close backhander.