April 9, 2021
by Mike McMahon / Staff Writer (@MikeMcMahonCHN)
PITTSBURGH ?? Three of the four Massachusetts players who missed Thursday’s national semifinals due to COVID-19 protocols will travel to Pittsburgh on Friday in hopes of being rejoined before Saturday’s national championship game against St. Cloud State to become.
Top scorer Carson Gicewicz and goalkeepers Filip Lindberg and Henry Graham will travel to Pittsburgh on Friday. Second striker Jerry Harding stays outside.
The three players will test immediately upon their arrival in Pittsburgh and remain isolated from the rest of the team. The players will then test again on Saturday morning. If all tests are negative, players can rejoin the team for pre-game activities ahead of Saturday’s national championship game.
The players were out because of “COVID-19 contact tracing protocols,” the school said earlier this week.
“Losing four players isn’t easy,” said UMass striker Garrett Wait, who scored Thursday’s game winner with the next-man-up mentality. “
“Obviously, losing some of these key figures is difficult,” added Murray. “But it’s even better when that happens, and then you have guys who improve their game and guys who make an impact if it wasn’t their chance otherwise. It was just them who took advantage of it. And it was great for our team. “
Lindberg, who leads the nation by safe percentages, became the first goalkeeper in Massachusetts since returning from injury on Jan. 22. The Minutemen have not lost between the pipes with him since then.
Matt Murray, who played with Lindberg frequently for the past two years, became the starter Thursday, leading the Minutemen to an overtime win over Minnesota Duluth.
“I don’t think it took me too long to settle in,” said Murray. “I think since my last game I’ve really made sure to treat exercise as games and give it all I have every day. And I think that – helped me put my best foot forward today, and it felt natural. It felt great to be there again. “
On Thursday, the team hired student equipment manager Zac Steigmeyer as a backup. Steigmayer played prep hockey in Massachusetts, his last action being in 2017.
Gicewicz leads the team by 17 goals and had a hat trick for the Minutemen in a regional final win over Bemidji State. Harding appeared in 25 games that season and scored six points. Graham is the third goalkeeper on UMass’ roster.
I’m just happy to bring the band back together, “said Murray.” Steigs was a great guy to fill the extra goalkeeping role. But the three of us have really good chemistry. And obviously the absence of Carson is a huge presence and everything.
“I think it will be hard work and a smile when everyone comes back tomorrow.”