Minnesota Duluth Defeats UMass For Second Straight Title

Standing on the brink of history, the UMass hockey miracle finally ran aground. In a signature performance, Minnesota Duluth suffocated the Minutemen for 60 minutes, outplaying them in every facet of the game, crushing their championship dreams 3-0. 

Duluth, officially designated a dynasty, jumped the Minutemen in the game’s opening two minutes. Swarming the UMass defenders, the Bulldogs generated a half-dozen shots, three grade-A chances, and a drawn penalty. In the final analysis, UMass never recovered. Duluth captain Parker MacKay roofed a backhand on the ensuing power play, and the champs had the only goal they needed. 

“I don’t know if nervous is the right word, but we were out of sorts,” said UMass coach Carvel about the opening sequence.

The final three-goal differential did not reflect the severity of this night’s mismatch. UMass senior Kurt Keats summed it up best. “They’re a different animal,” said Keats. “One that we haven’t really seen all year.”

Duluth outworked and outmuscled UMass to such an extreme degree, that the Minutemen managed a mere seven shots at the game’s halfway point, 18 for the game. The UMass power play, so dominant throughout the season, went 0 for 4 with just 3 shots attempted in the championship game. But analytics didn’t tell this story of dominance—seeing was believing.

College hockey media maven Bernie Corbett called Duluth, “Seal Team Six, the guys that took out Bin Laden.” He witnessed them do the same thing in last year’s Frozen Four as well, strangling the life out of Ohio State and Notre Dame. Buffalo 2019 was the program’s third championship of the decade. Playing Duluth and its anaconda style, a two-goal deficit is a mountain, three is Everest. 

This championship game was also a bittersweet farewell to Cale Makar, a player the college hockey universe won’t soon forget. Experts are convinced that Makar will be playing in the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs Monday, but his heart was clearly with his college mates after this farewell game. He came to the podium still wearing the UMass colors, adorned in a sweaty sweater. 

“I just want to keep it on as long as I can. I’m so very honored and humbled to put this jersey on every single game. Our team has brought so much respect to our program. Honestly, it’s going to be a couple of years that I never forget my entire life.”

Carvel, Makar’s partner in thrusting UMass to hockey prominence over two seasons, made a salient point about his superstar. “He’s a better person than he is a player.”

This was not a heartbroken UMass team on the podium; they had been defeated so thoroughly that they could actually pause and consider what they HAD accomplished without suffering the pain of what could have been. There’s was a season of unimaginable accomplishments for a squad picked to finish in the middle of the Hockey East pack: it’s first #1 national ranking; it’s first Hockey East regular season title; it’s first Frozen Four. Heady stuff for a team that had only managed five wins two seasons ago. 

The face of the program, Makar, spoke to its recent transformation. “The amount of respect that we’ve created for this emblem of Massachusetts and UMass, it’s just amazing.”

Hockey East's Biggest NHL Prospects

Hockey East featured six first-round, NHL Draft picks last season, including Hobey Baker winner Cale Makar, who joined the Colorado Avalanche for their playoff run just days after leading UMass to the National Championship game. 

Minnesota State's Marc Michaelis Reflects On IIHF World Championships

Minnesota State captain Marc Michaelis opened last month’s IIHF World Championships in street clothes. While his German countrymen were racking up wins against the lesser hockey nations from Group A, he was in the press box gnashing his teeth.

More Ways To Watch FloHockey

null

Never Miss A Moment

No Home Ice Advantage, Blues Take Home Stanley Cup

BOSTON – The “championship drought” continues for the city of Boston.

Most Impactful Moments Of The Stanley Cup

Forty-nine years after being swept by the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final, the St. Louis Blues got their revenge with a 5-1, Game 7 victory.

The Shot Of A Lifetime

It was the shot of a lifetime. Certainly Ray Lussier’s lifetime. 

Huge Crowd, Big Blues Letdown

ST. LOUIS – “Sellout crowd” would be an understatement at Enterprise Center on Sunday night.

Suitors Aplenty For Winnipeg Jets' Jacob Trouba

Last week I highlighted Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba as an NHL star on the trade block this summer and suitors should be lining up for his services.

No Overshadowing Zdeno Chara's Night

It was supposed to be a modern-day Willis Reed moment.

Carvel And Makar, The Farewell Address

There was pressure on UMass head coach Greg Carvel to produce. It was the Hobey Baker Banquet, a month after the Hobey Baker Award, and everyone in the room wanted to hear something they didn’t already know about college hockey’s generational star.