It should come as no surprise that forward Bobby Trivigno scored the winner Friday night to send UMass back to the Hockey East championship game. It’s been quite a week as the senior caps what has been a remarkable career with the Minutemen. On Tuesday, he was named Hockey East player of the year, joining Cale Makar (2019) to become the second UMass player to win the award.
On Wednesday, he was listed as a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award. The athletic department wasted little time jumping in with a marketing campaign. Three years ago, it came up with the slogan “Hobey needs more Cale”, distributing buttons with the phrase to media members. This time around, the slogan is “Bobby T for Hobey B”, with the phrase, along with a caricature of Trivigno appearing on buttons and T-shirts at TD Garden.
Trivigno is certainly a worthy candidate. He was named Tournament MVP after scoring the tying goal and assisting on the winner in UMass’s 2-1 overtime win over UConn in Saturday night’s championship game, and is tied for second in the nation with 48 points (20 goals, 28 assists).
UMass coach Greg Carvel talked about Trivigno’s progression in his four years at Amherst.
“In order for kids to develop, they have to want to be coached and pushed and challenged,” said Carvel. “Bobby was raised that way, so coming in here wasn’t much of an adjustment for him. We’re tough and hard on all our players, we push them, but all of them are raised differently, but Bobby was raised in a way that any time you challenged him, he took it personally and he proved you wrong. That’s all he’s done his whole life is prove everybody wrong.”
Trivigno and his UMass teammates will find out where they’ll head for the NCAA tournament when pairings are announced Sunday on ESPNU at 6:30 p.m.
There was a nice moment between semifinal contests Friday night when former Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna presented longtime associate commissioner Kathy Wynters with the Hockey East Founders Medal.
The award had been a long time coming, with Bertagna announcing that Wynters would be honored in February 2020 at the that season’s Hockey East Championships. But the tournament was canceled, while the 2021 edition was held at campus sites because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Bertagna and Wynters stepped down from their roles with Hockey East after the 2019-20 season.
After graduating from Providence College in 1982, Wynters worked with former PC athletic director, and then-Hockey East commissioner, Lou Lamoriello on the launch of the conference in 1983 and coordinated the first three Hockey East championship tournaments.
She would work her way up to associate commissioner, serving as event manager for 29 men’s Hockey East championships and 18 women’s Hockey East championships, 20 women’s Beanpot tournaments, and special events such as the Frozen Four, Frozen Fenway, and the Belfast Friendship Four international events.
One of the things she is most proud of is the Skating Strides Against Breast Cancer initiative. After 14 seasons, the Skating Strides program has raised nearly $400,000 for grass roots breast cancer initiatives.
“I had a great 30-year career. I worked with some of the best minds in the business as far as I’m concerned,” said Wynters. “Lou Lamoriello and Joe Bertagna were my two mentors. You don’t get much better than the two of them. It was a great run.”
Garden was rocking
A number of factors suggested attendance for championship weekend could be low. All four competing schools were on spring break; regionals are next weekend, with hopeful fans perhaps waiting to see if their school would be playing in Worcester or Albany, N.Y.; and the Frozen Four, which is nearly sold out, will be at TD Garden in three weeks.
But Friday night’s semifinals drew 13,106 fans, with the second game of the evening between UMass and UMass Lowell featuring a particularly boisterous crowd.
“The atmosphere was great,” said UMass Lowell coach Norm Bazin. “These guys play all year to play in an atmosphere like this. The venue’s excellent. It’s exciting, and we were thrilled to be a part of it.”
Saturday night’s final drew 12,049 fans for a two-night total of 25,155.
Follow Andrew Mahoney on Twitter @GlobeMahoney.