Suspended 2 years ago, UMass’ Trivigno completes turnaround as Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player

Forward Bobby Trivigno, right, watches UMass coach Greg Carvel lift the NCAA championship trophy on Saturday (photo: Jim Rosvold).

PITTSBURGH — Bobby Trivigno missed the NCAA championship game two years ago. He didn’t miss when he took a shot in the third period Saturday night.

Trivigno scored the goal that capped off UMass’ 5-0 victory against St. Cloud State in the NCAA championship game at PPG Paints Arena.

Adding that to his two assists in Thursday’s semifinals, including the play that set up Garrett Wait’s overtime goal, Trivigno was named the Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player.

“It’s crazy. It’s literally unbelievable,” Trivigno said with a piece of the net tucked into a national champions hat. “We earned this win for sure. I’m just so happy to be part of it.”

Trivigno was suspended for the 2019 championship game after an unpenalized hit was reviewed by the NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey committee, which hands out supplemental discipline in the national tournament.

He hit Denver’s Jake Durflinger in the side of the head with his right arm in front of the UMass bench with 3:11 left in the third period of a game the Minutemen won in overtime. The punishment came the next day.

“Just where I was two years ago to now as far as emotionally is worlds of difference,” Trivigno said. “And I’m just so grateful I got to play, be part of this amazing team, program, amazing school. I’m grateful for everything.”

There wasn’t a chance for an answer last season because the NCAA tournament was canceled at the start of the pandemic. The opportunity was well-taken this week.

In overtime on Thursday, Trivigno circled behind the net and threaded a pass through the top of the crease to Wait at the back door for the putaway.

On Saturday, Trivigno ripped a shot from the left side high past St. Cloud State’s David Hrenak six minutes into the third period for the 11th goal of his junior season.

It was the cherry on top of an epic turnaround story.

“I’m so proud that we could bring it back home to UMass,” Trivigno said.