BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (Webster Bank Arena) - Carson Gicewicz recorded a hat trick and Filip Lindberg turned aside all 18 of Bemidji State University's shots on goal as the University of Massachusetts defeated the Beavers, 3-0, in the NCAA Tournament East Regional Final and advance to the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh, Pa. April 8 and 10.
The Beavers' return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 11 years came to an abrupt end, but not before fourth-seed BSU convincingly knocked off the region's top seed University of Wisconsin, 6-3, to earn the right to play in the regional final for the second time in program history.
Locked in a scoreless tie for the first 11 minutes of the game, the Beavers caught the first break of the evening when the Minutemen's Oliver Chow was called for hooking at the 11:33 mark activating the BSU power-play unit. Just 1:10 later Jake Gaudet was escorted to the penalty box giving the Beavers 50 seconds of 5-on-3 power-play time. The minutemen snuffed out the two-man advantage and flipped the script netting a short-handed goal before the second penalty expired. Completely grabbing momentum. Gicewicz was credited with the short-handed goal after getting behind the BSU defense and taking a pass form Chow.
The UMass lead grew to two goals before time ran out of the first period. Again it was Gicewicz who found the back of the net at the 19:09 mark, this time from Matthew Kessel and the Minutemen skated into the locker room at the first intermission with a 2-0 lead.
Gicewicz was back at it in the second period. The senior slipped his third goal of the game pat the BSU goaltender Zach Driscoll at the 6:34 mark to net the hat trick and a 3-0 lead for the Minutemen. Gaudet and Marc Del Gaizo were credited with assists on the scoring play.
The Beavers spent the middle of the second period in the penalty box. BSU was whistled for three penalties during the final 12 minutes of the frame, which included a 1:34 UMass 5-on-3 opportunity. The nation's top penalty-kill answered the call and kept the Minutemen from adding to their lead.
As the period wound down, UMass found itself understaffed taking two penalties during the final 2:23.
Bemidji State opened the third period trailing 3-0 and with 1:44 of power-play time, but were unable to generate any significant chances.
With just over three minutes to play, BSU pulled its goaltender for an extra attacker. Chow stymied the strategy netting his fifth goal of the season at the 16:56 mark of the third.
Driscoll finished the afternoon with 24 saves and three goals allowed in 59:30 of action. He drops the curtain on his senior season with a to 15-10-3 record. One of the finest backstops in BSU history. He finishes ranked among the top 10 Beavers goaltenders of all time in minutes played (5,168-8th), wins (46-10th), saves (2,157-9th), goals against average (2.055-3rd), shutouts (9-t3rd) and save percentage (.9234-1st).
The Beavers' 2020-21 season comes to an end at 16-10-3 overall after posting an 8-5-1 record in Western Collegiate Hockey Association play to finished fourth. BSU earned a No. 4 seed in the WCHA Playoffs and swept Michigan Technological University in the opening round. After bowing out to eventual champion Lake Superior State in the WCHA semifinal, the Beavers earned their second at-large bit into the NCAA Tournament in program history and made its fifth appearance in the tournament netting a 6-3 win over No. 4 University of Wisconsin in the semifinal before tonight's loss. In addition, the Beavers penalty-kill unit set program records for power-play goals allowed in a season (7) and power-play percentage (.917) as well as leading the nation in that statistical category.