UMass Goalie Filip Lindberg Playing With Maturity & Mettle

lindberg

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

UMass goalie Filip Lindberg stands on the precipice of history, but you’d never know it. He’s been holding court with national media for two weeks now. He’s still in his first season away from his native Finland, yet he fields questions from all angles like an upperclassman. Ben Barr, the coach who recruited this Nordic manchild, never doubted his mettle. 

“His English is perfect,” Barr said. “You know after talking one time with him that he would be a pretty impressive kid.” 

Lindberg faced a rash of adversity in this, his NCAA debut year, stuff that would buckle the knees of a strong kid. Lindberg’s competition in goal, Matt Murray, was having a banner year, relegating Fille to the distant reaches of the UMass bench. Lindberg took a three-week sabbatical at the World Juniors, and his reward for an IIHF gold medal was an illness that sidelined him even longer. It wasn’t rock bottom, but it was close.

“It was a rough time for me,” Lindberg said. “I missed probably eight games, because the World Juniors and then I got sick in February.” 

A stranger in a strange land, Lindberg turned to a comrade back in Finland for solace. “My best friend Olli, he’s in the military,” Lindberg said. “He’s been a great friend for me for five years. He would say, ‘Keep going,’ during rough times, ‘don’t give up.’” 

For kid who just turned 20, Lindberg showed impressive maturity in figuring out a way to cope with his crisis. The display of character did not go unnoticed.

“He’s a really mentally strong young man,” Barr said. “He never complained, he never gave anyone a funny look, every time he got a chance to go in, he went in and played well.”

Sometimes, the unscripted drama of sports presents us with stories of perseverance rewarded. On March 15, destiny called Lindberg. UMass fell into a 3-0 hole in its Hockey East quarterfinal opener, and Lindberg got the season-changing tap on the shoulder. He was living proof of sports’ age-old success formula: preparation. “I gave everything every single day, ready for my opportunity,” Lindberg said. “I got it, and I played well.”

That’s a major understatement. Including that relief appearance, the freshman has given up just three goals in his five postseason games. Even in the UMass loss to Boston College in the Hockey East semis, the kid remained unflappable. 

“Fille played really well in that game even though we lost,” Barr said. “We didn’t score a goal in that game, so it’s hard to win when you don’t score a goal.”

Lindberg kept his job, and rewarded the faith of his coaches with an impeccable two games in the NCAA Northeast Regional: 30 shots, 30 saves.

And now this blonde Nord is on the biggest stage in college hockey, with the full support of his team as they look to slay two dragons. Don’t bother reminding Lindberg that he is a mere freshman.

“I don’t really care I’m a freshman,” Lindberg said. “It doesn’t matter. It’s the same game. I’m just going to do what I do.

“It’s a big opportunity for us, a big tournament. We’re just going to do what we’ve been doing the whole season, just play UMass hockey.” 

Ranking NHL's Phase 2 Draft Lottery Teams By Worthiness

Minnesota Wild

The end of the qualifying round marks Phase 2 of the NHL’s altered draft lottery set for 6 PM EST, Monday evening, where eight teams will be thrown into an even chance at the No. 1 pick in 2020.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

6 Takeaways From NHL's Re-Opening Weekend

Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets

Saturday marked the first official NHL games since mid-March and the (re)opening weekend of the NHL was full of excitement, highlights, and lots of nail-biting.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Detroit Red Wings Using The NCAA To Develop Prospects

Yzerman and the Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings have suffered a steady decline in winning percentage over the past four seasons, ultimately leading to a last-place finish among all 31 teams in 2019-20.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

NHL Trade Deadline Deals Recap: Carolina Adds Firepower & Much More

Sami Vatanen, Carolina Hurricanes

With the continuation of the NHL season less than two weeks away, enough has occurred in the near five-month hiatus to forget about those who will be rejoining their new teams for a chance to win the Stanley Cup.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Atlantic Hockey Breakout Candidates For 2020-21

Air Force

The sports world remains in flux as COVID-19 continues to spread and resurge across the United States, and while the 2020-21 season schedule seems uncertain, the prospect of breakout players and career-bests is a certainty in Atlantic Hockey.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

NHL COVID-19 Update: Cases, Opt-Outs, Dates & More

Connor McDavid.jpg

As the NHL moves through its return-to-play phases, the league has announced August 1 as the official return of the 2019-20 season.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

WCHA Breakout Candidates For 2020-21 Season

Lucas Sowder, Minnesota State

While some aspects of the college hockey season might be up in the air due to COVID-19, one thing is certain: the WCHA is loaded with possible breakout stars.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

2020 NHL Draft Lottery: How The Placeholder Shapes Round 1

Staples Center LA Kings

The NHL Draft Lottery is an annual mix of emotions for fans as percentages turn to realities and franchise futures are altered — this year, one of those franchises is yet to be determined.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

FloHockey, CCHA Announce Exclusive Streaming Partnership

Screen Shot 2020-06-30 at 10.03.39 AM.png

FloSports, the innovator in live sports streaming and original content, announced today an exclusive multi-year agreement with the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) that will see every regular season and postseason event hosted by a CCHA member school streamed live and on-demand on FloHockey. The partnership brings elite NCAA Division I hockey to FloSports’ fast-growing FloHockey platform starting with the 2021-2022 season. CCHA also recently announced that highly-respected hockey coach and college athletics executive, Don Lucia, has been named commissioner.

2020 NHL Draft: Lafrenière Leads Best Of The Best Position Breakdown

NHL: NHL Draft

The date of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft remains in flux during the league’s continued navigation around COVID-19 concerns and new extended playoff format laid out.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In