Bobby Trivigno’s record night lifts UMass hockey past LIU, 6-3

  • UMass captain Bobby Trivigno posted a five-point night to lift the Minutemen past LIU, 6-3, Friday at the Mullins Center. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • UMass goalie Matt Murray watches the action against LIU on Friday night at the Mullins Center. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • The UMass hockey team picked up a 6-3 win over LIU on Friday night at the Mullins Center. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

Staff Writer 
Published: 2/4/2022 11:59:23 PM
Modified: 2/4/2022 11:57:52 PM

AMHERST – It seemed only fitting that Friday night’s UMass hockey game ended the way it did. 

Captain Bobby Trivigno had a banner night for UMass, racking up four assists during the course of the contest, the first time a Minuteman had done so since James Marcou accomplished the feat in 2009. Then, to put the icing on the cake, it was Trivigno who dangled his way down the ice for the empty-net goal to seal UMass’ 6-3 win over LIU in non-conference action at the Mullins Center. 

The captain’s five-point night was slightly overshadowed by the fact that the visiting Sharks scored three goals on just 13 shots. The Minutemen managed to pull away for the win regardless of LIU’s persistence, thanks in part to a five-on-three power play at the end of the second period.

“(We had) mostly positives tonight,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said. “The only thing I didn't like about the game was they get three goals on 13 shots and two of the goals are odd man rushes. I didn’t think we were hard enough above the puck for the goals (and) a few other times in the game, but otherwise pretty solid effort.”

The Minutemen (14-8-2) came out hard in the first period, limiting LIU to just six shots on goal and keeping play, for the most part, in their offensive zone. Just over 10 minutes into the first period, Trivigno orchestrated the first goal, skating end-to-end with the puck and feeding a waiting Garrett Wait in the slot to go up 1-0. 

About a minute later, UMass got its first power play opportunity of the night, and it took about 30 seconds to capitalize. Ryan Ufko picked up a pass from Trivigno and let a blast from the point go, soaring past LIU netminder Vinnie Purpura for the team’s second goal. 

But the Sharks (8-16-3) proved to be a peskier opponent than UMass may have bargained for – every time the home team picked up a two-goal lead, the visitors responded with a tally of their own, keeping the No. 10 Minutemen within striking distance.

LIU’s John Gormley made it 2-1 with under three minutes to go in the first, and though Matthew Kessel responded immediately 39 seconds later to restore the two-goal lead, LIU cut it back down to a one-goal lead seven and a half minutes into the second. 

The game's turning point came at the end of the second period, when Cal Kiefiuk was boarded by Jake Stevens on a UMass power play, a call initially missed by the referee. A challenge from Carvel with 10 seconds remaining in the period sent Stevens to the box, and put a minute and 20 seconds back on the clock for the Minutemen to go to work on the resulting 5-on-3. They didn’t need all of that time – Josh Lopina capitalized on the power play with 58 seconds remaining to head into the second intermission up 4-2. 

The Sharks fought back, as Preston Brodziak made it 4-3 a little less than four minutes into the third, but Lopina’s goal stood as the game winner. Kiefiuk picked up a goal with six and a half minutes left that brought the home crowd to its feet, and Trivigno put away the insurance marker later to secure the win.

TRIVIGNO’S TRIUMPH 

Trivigno is currently riding a nine-game point streak, picking up 15 points (8G, 7A) during that time. That's a streak that doesn’t look like it’ll be ending any time soon. 

“I thought he was flying. I thought his speed was at another level,” Carvel said on Trivigno. “He's feeling good. You can tell he's got some confidence. But he's skating. He's really moving faster than everybody else. That’s to me what I think makes him really, really hard to defend. He's fast then you try to hit him. He's probably gonna try to hit you back.”

“I’m trying to keep that grit and and hard aspect in my game, but definitely somewhere I can improve is that offensive ability to make plays and stuff like that,” Trivigno said postgame.

FACEOFF FIEND

Though Trivigno had a night for the record books, Lopina quietly had a dominant night as well. Though he finished with a vital power play goal and also picked up an assist, where he shone most was the face-off dot. Lopina won 16 of 20 faceoffs for the Minutemen, a whopping 80 percent success rate, continuing what he’s been doing all season. Trivigno said it was nice to see UMass’ faceoff specialist be rewarded for his efforts offensively, as well.

“He's always a monster in the faceoff dot and makes it really, really easy on me and (Wait). For him to contribute offensively and get that goal on the power play was huge," Trivigno said.  “(I’m) really proud of him for that reason." 

BLOOD IN THE WATER

LIU is still brand-new as far as programs go; the Sharks are in their second year as an independent program and are still learning and growing as an organization. But that said, the team isn’t content just showing up to games anymore. They're here to win.

“We're past the point, in year two, of moral victories. We come in here and expect to surprise teams and to gain credibility,” LIU head coach Brett Riley said. “And I thought the second part of the game, we did that but too little, too late.”

A game against the defending national champions is a tall order for any team, but Riley and his squad were thrilled to travel to the Mullins Center for the weekend series.

“When Greg called, we were jacked up to come in this building and play this team. It's everything to us. It's been a big recruiting sell, to play the best of the best as an independent program," Riley said. “We're road warriors. We'll go anywhere, we'll play anywhere. These games are great for us. There are a measuring stick for where we're at, where we need to be. I think we can learn a lot from them, quite frankly.”

The teams get right back at it Saturday night at the Mullins Center for the final tilt of a two-game set (7 p.m.).


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