Massachusetts will be without its leading goal-scorer, starting goalie and two other players for Thursday night's NCAA Frozen Four semifinal against Minnesota Duluth because of COVID-19 issues.
The Minutemen announced Tuesday morning that senior forward Carson Gicewicz, whose 17 goals lead the team and 24 points rank third, and junior goalie Filip Lindberg, who is9-1-4 in 14 starts, along with sophomore forward Jerry Harding and freshman goalie Henry Graham, won't play against the Bulldogs because of COVID-19 contact tracing protocols.
"I feel for these players who have sacrificed so much over the last year and committed themselves to getting our team to this point,'' UMass coach Greg Carvel said in a statement. "They have earned the right to compete for a national championship, and to have this unfortunate situation occur now is hard to comprehend. But nevertheless, it's a result that we have to accept, and we will move forward together and utilize the depth of our roster for Thursday's game in Pittsburgh.''
Gicewicz and Lindberg are the most significant losses for the Minutemen. Gicewicz has four goals in the NCAA tournament, including a hat trick against Bemidji State in the East Regional final. Lindberg's 1.33 goals-against average and .946 save percentage both lead the nation. He came on strong in the second half of the season, going 9-0-1 since Jan. 29. In NCAA tournament wins over Lake Superior State and Bemidji State, Lindberg stopped 48 of 49 shots. Senior Matt Murray, who is 9-4 with a 2.01 GAA and .913 save percentage but hasn't played since Jan. 18, would start in place of Lindberg.
Harding has two goals and four assists in 25 games, while Graham has been the Minutemen's third-string goalie.
Massachusetts is the third team directly impacted by COVID-19 since the NCAA tournament began and the second involving a Minnesota Duluth opponent. Michigan was forced out of its West Regional semifinal against the Bulldogs on March 26. Notre Dame couldn't play its Northeast Regional semifinal against Boston College.