Bobby Trivigno, UMass hockey seniors leave a lasting impact

  • Boston 03/25/22 NCAA Regional Tournament- UMass vs Minnesota- Massachusetts forward Bobby Trivigno (8) best checked hard by Minnesota’s Matthew Knies in the 2nd period. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff (sports) JOHN TLUMACKI--THE BOSTON GLOBE VIA AP

  • UMass senior Bobby Trivigno, right, played his last game for the Minutemen in Friday's NCAA Tournament loss against Minnesota. THOM KENDALL/UMASS ATHLETICS—THOM KENDALL FOR UMASS ATHLETICS

Staff Writer
Published: 3/25/2022 11:43:47 PM

WORCESTER – Greg Carvel wrapped his arms around Bobby Trivigno before he stepped off the ice for the last time as a Minuteman. UMass had just lost 4-3 to Minnesota in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in overtime Friday night at the DCU Center.

Trivigno, UMass’ senior captain,  hugged every one of his teammates before they entered the tunnel while Carvel waited. It’s his job to be the last one off the ice.

“Regardless of the situation, you’ve got to be the best captain you can be. Obviously everyone was really upset after the game, but we stay together,” Trivigno said. “I absolutely loved leading these guys. I love this group. … I don’t know if I’ll ever play with my best friends again.”

Carvel let him linger in that moment a little longer. They didn’t say much. Everything one could say in that moment had been uttered over four years of transforming a punch line to a powerhouse. 

“When we got to UMass, it was a mess and nobody understands what we’ve gone through to get here. It was the character of this senior class that really changed things,” Carvel said. “Nobody more so than Bobby. Bobby embodied what we’re trying to be. Chip on our shoulder. Prove the world wrong. That was our only choice as a program.”

Trivigno’s class, which was eight strong when they arrived at UMass and is down to just four now, arrived in Amherst after a .500 season. The one before that featured just five wins. Two of the eight left the program, while Marc Del Gaizo and Filip Lindberg went pro after last season.

The four who stayed (Anthony Del Gaizo, Colin Felix, Ty Farmer and Trivigno) were present for the entirety of the greatest four-year stretch in UMass hockey history. They won a Hockey East regular season title and reached the national championship game as freshmen. Their sophomore year was cut short right before the postseason began by the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but UMass won 21 games and was a top-10 team. Last year featured the team’s first Hockey East tournament title and first national championship. This season saw the Minutemen defend the conference championship and reach their third straight NCAA Tournament (fourth overall).

They finished 94-38-8. That’s more wins than in the eight years that preceded their arrival.

“I don’t think either of us came in here like, we’re going to be a national powerhouse all four years,” Anthony Del Gaizo said. “It definitely exceeded my expectations. I’m so proud of what we accomplished. It was a great four years.”

UMass was recruiting a different caliber of player in Carvel’s first two years. It was harder to attract NHL prospects, so he, assistant Jared DeMichiel and (current Maine coach) Ben Barr sought character and grit. Trivigno was everything they wanted. All of 140 pounds as a freshman, he bowled over the opposition and didn’t back down from anyone.

“That’s the guy. This guy’s gonna lead us,” Carvel said. “He’s all everything last year. He came back, and I think he came back for the right reasons. It’s refreshing to me.”

Trivigno’s ascent mirrors the one UMass made. He didn’t have any other scholarship offers coming out of Setauket, N.Y. He was primarily a pest as a freshman and blossomed into an All-American, a Hockey East Player of the Year, a two-time Walter Brown award winner and a Hobey Baker finalist. His assist in Friday’s game broke a tie to make him UMass’ all-time scoring leader in the Hockey East era with 131 points. Technically he’s fourth all-time, but the three players ahead of him all played at least one season against Division II competition.

“I like coaching at UMass because it attract kids that are like me, blue collar, work for everything in your life. Nothing comes easy. Bobby Trivigno is exactly that,” Carvel said. “That’s why I coach. Winning’s great. Winning’s fun, but we get judged by it way too much. The kids in the locker room know what they got for four years, and I’m always proud of that.”

When Carvel finally let Trivigno go into the tunnel and step off the ice for the final time wearing ‘Massachusetts’ on his chest, he wasn’t flooded with sadness. They’d accomplished more than they could dream at UMass and built a foundation for the future.

“Just gratitude, mostly. No sadness, I mean, of course it’s sad. I like when I can say to a kid, ‘you don’t owe me anything. I owe you.’ That’s absolutely the way it is for Bobby,” Carvel said. “There’s not many moments in your life like that when these seniors realize it’s over. You want to be there to support them and be close to them. I just wanted to give him a hug one more time. I like hugging the kids.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.

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