Bobby Trivigno made his second chance at playoff hockey count in win over Northeastern

The UMass forward didn’t let the opportunity go to waste

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Nina Walat/Daily Collegian

By Noah Bortle, Sports Editor

Two years ago, Bobby Trivigno watched the Massachusetts hockey team lose the National Championship game from the stands. The then-freshman had been suspended for a hit in the semifinal game, forced to sit for the biggest game in UMass’ program history.

A year later, he was hungry to make up for his mistake—seeking a second chance at postseason hockey so him and the Minutemen could finish the job they’d started a year prior.

“As soon as that game was done I moved on, put it past me,” Trivigno said prior to the 2019-20 season. “Its kind of motivated me this year to keep disciplined and propel us to get back there this year.”

UMass never had a chance to get back to the National Championship game.

Just before the Minutemen’s scheduled quarterfinal matchup with Northeastern in March of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic put an end to any and all postseason play across college hockey.

Almost a year to the day after its 2020 season came to a screeching halt, the stars aligned for UMass to take on Northeastern in the same quarterfinal round the two were scheduled to play in a year prior.

A second chance at playoff hockey was all Trivigno needed. The junior winger left no doubt that he was going to make his second go at playoff hockey count, leading UMass to a 4-1 win.

“Getting playoffs taken away from us last year is a big deal,” Trivigno said at the end of February. “This time around when we get the chance, whether its Hockey East or the National Tournament, we’re going to be ready.”

Less than three minutes into Trivigno’s first postseason game in almost three years, he put his name on the scoresheet. After a Huskie turnover, Trivigno held the puck below the goal line. With a quick pass, the puck ended up on Garrett Wait’s stick and soon enough, into the back of the net; quick 1-0 lead for UMass.

Five minutes later, he was back at it again. On an odd-man rush, Trivigno received a pass, driving toward the Northeastern net. After briefly holding the puck, garnering the goaltender’s attention, Trivigno whipped a pass to an open Zac Jones to put the Minutemen up 2-0.

The passing the Setauket, N.Y. native flashed in UMass’ win is a reminder of the work he’s put in since his freshman year—the work that was motivated by a season that ended one win short.

His 16 assists in the regular season set a career high even though he played almost half as many games—22 compared to the 39 it took him to notch 15 assists as a freshman.

“He just does the right things,” head coach Greg Carvel said. “He scores, he makes nice plays, he wins puck battles.”

And to be sure no one forgot that he can still light the lamp, Trivigno capped off a three-point night with a goal of his own, opting to shoot on a 2-on-1 rather than dish it off to a driving Jones for yet another assist. The goal proved pivotal as the Minutemen’s lead had shrunk from 2-0 to 2-1 and the Huskies seemed to have all the momentum.

On top of all that, Trivigno has transitioned from a borderline hot head who got himself suspended to close out his freshman year, to a leader on a team full of veterans, sporting the “A” on his No. 8 sweater despite being just a junior.

“At the beginning of the year I knew he was going to be an important player for us,” Carvel said. “I didn’t realize he was going to be one of the best players in the league, if not the best.”

Trivigno knows it’s not over however—the way the last two years ended made sure he’d remember that the next game is never guaranteed.

Noah Bortle can be reached at [email protected]. He can be followed on Twitter @noah_bortle.