PITTSBURGH -- St. Cloud State vanquished two of the top teams from Hockey East, Boston University and Boston College, on its way to the second Frozen Four berth in program history, but it turned out beating a third team from that conference was one task too many for the Huskies.
Behind a suffocating defensive effort and a 25-save shutout from goalie Filip Lindberg, Massachusetts defeated St. Cloud State 5-0 on Saturday night in the NCAA men's Frozen Four championship game at PPG Paints Arena. Instead of winning their first national championship, the Huskies saw the Minutemen skate off with their first crown after finishing runner-up to Minnesota Duluth two years ago.
In the process, the Minutemen (20-5-4) were the last men standing from a Frozen Four that featured three Minnesota teams for the first time – the Huskies, UMD and Minnesota State Mankato. St. Cloud State (20-11) was shut out for the first time since Dec. 13 and only the second time this season.
UMass got goals from five different players – Aaron Bohlinger, Reed Lebster, Philip Lagunov, Matthew Kessel and Bobby Trivigno – and rode the momentum of a penalty kill that went 3-for-3 – and supplied a spectacular shorthanded goal by Lagunov.
Lindberg, who missed Thursday's 3-2 overtime semifinal victory over Minnesota Duluth while in COVID-19 protocol, kept the Huskies in check all night. He faced only six shots through the game's first 30 minutes as the Minutemen built a 3-0 lead.
Huskies goalie David Hrenak made 17 saves.
St. Cloud State had the game's first good scoring chance 1:30 into the first period when Veeti Miettinen stole the puck at center ice, made a move into the UMass zone and rifled a shot off the crossbar.
The Huskies had sustained pressure in the UMass zone near the 6:00 mark, but Minutemen defenseman Ty Farmer passed to start a breakaway that became two-on-none after a pair of Huskies collided at the blue line. Bohlinger, a freshman defenseman, finished it, taking a pass from Ryan Sullivan and scoring before Hrenak could slide over for a 1-0 lead at 7:26.
The Huskies got the game's first power play at 15:27 when Anthony Del Gaizo was whistled for slashing. Huskies fans howled for another penalty when a Massachusetts player grabbed the puck out of the air and literally threw it out of the zone after Lindberg made a save on Zach Okabe. That helped the Minutemen kill the penalty.
UMass extended the lead to 2-0 at 18:56 when Lebster slammed home a wraparound pass by Cal Kiefiuk, who won a puck battle along the boards to start the play.
The Minutemen got their first power play 24 seconds into the second period when Huskies defenseman Seamus Donohue was called for tripping. The Huskies killed the penalty with Hrenak needing to make only one save.
St. Cloud State got its second power play at 3:57 of the second when Sullivan went to the box for tripping. Instead of cutting into the UMass lead, the Huskies saw the deficit grow to 3-0 on a shorthanded goal when Lagunov gathered an errant Huskies pass, sped into the St. Cloud State zone, toe-dragged around defenseman Nick Perbix and beat Hrenak at 5:10.
St. Cloud State got its third power play at 10:31 of the second when Jake Gaudet was called for elbowing. The Minutemen killed that one, too, and the Huskies were whistled for too many men on the ice at 12:35. Kessel made the Huskies pay with a rocket from the point at 13:50 for a 4-0 UMass lead.
Trivigno boosted the UMass lead to 5-0 at 6:00 of the third period with a blast from the top left circle past Hrenak.