BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - Redshirt senior Carson Gicewicz recorded the first NCAA Tournament hat trick since 2017 to lead #6/5 Massachusetts hockey back to the Frozen Four with a 4-0 shutout of Bemidji State in the NCAA East Regional Final at Webster Bank Arena on Saturday night. It marks the second straight regional title for the Minutemen, who won the 2019 Northeast Regional Championship to earn their first-ever Frozen Four berth. UMass will face the Minnesota Duluth/North Dakota winner in the National Semifinal at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Thursday, April 8, at either 5 or 9 p.m. on ESPN2.
"I thought that was a very dominant and thorough game by our group," said UMass head coach Greg Carvel. "We came out and set the tone and played very strong defensive hockey. There weren't a ton of scoring chances in the game. Our first line was huge this weekend and scored most of our goals. Carson (Gicewicz) had the hat trick, Oliver (Chau) and Jake (Gaudet) chipped in with goals as well. But it was a real team effort tonight. I just thought we executed our game plan thoroughly and stifled Bemidji tonight. We took too many penalties and I didn't like our power play tonight, but 5-on-5 it was a real dominant effort by our group."
With the second of two penalties that gave the Beavers a 5-on-3 midway through the first about to expire, freshman Aaron Bohlinger's outlet pass sent Gicewicz and Chau off to the races on a shorthanded odd-man rush. Gicewicz shoveled home the give-and-go from Chau to put UMass on the board 14:24 into the first period.
Gicewicz then added his second of the night in the final minute of the opening stanza, redirecting in Matthew Kessel's shot from the point at the net front.
At the 6:34 mark of the second period, Gicewicz completed his hat trick, which was the first in the NCAA Tournament since Denver's Jarid Lukosevicius scored three in the 2017 National Championship Game. Gaudet collected the puck from junior Marc Del Gaizo and drove to the net where Gicewicz was positioned at the top of the crease to slide the puck under goaltender Zach Driscoll.
Chau later capped the scoring with an empty net goal at 16:56 of the third period for his second point of the contest, while Del Gaizo picked up his second assist for a multi-point performance, as well.
UMass out-shot Bemidji State, 28-18 in the contest and went 0-for-3 on the power play, while the Beavers were 0-for-5 with the man advantage.
Junior goaltender Filip Lindberg (9-1-4) made 18 saves in his third career shutout in the NCAA Tournament, tying a record previously set by Boston College's Cory Schneider (2006-07). Driscoll totaled 24 saves for Bemidji State.