There were three incidents related to hits to the head during Thursday night’s Frozen Four tilt between U Mass and Denver. Three of those resulted in major penalties. The fourth has now resulted in a suspension.
Minutemen forward Bobby Trivigno has been suspended for the NCAA National Championship game for an illegal check to the head of Denver’s Jake Durflinger.
No penalty was called on the play.
Referees have ejected three players in this game but somehow missed this pic.twitter.com/oqK0wKJI4v
— CJ Fogler (@cjzer0) April 12, 2019
Refs Dan Kovarik and John Lupinek handed out major penalties to Denver’s Niko Hildenbrand and Ryan Barrow, as well as UMass’s Mitchell Chaffee. All three were ejected as a result.
“[Durflinger] was coming at him so he got his elbow up to protect himself,” said U Mass coach Greg Carvel. “I understand why he was suspended. I feel strongly that the game shouldn’t have gotten to that point. I’ve never seen a game with so many players thrown out. In a national semifinal game, it was unlike any other game I’ve coached.”
Denver head coach David Carle asked the officials to review the play, but opted not to formally challenge the non-call.
“I asked them to take a look at it. I was asked if I wanted to use my challenge,” Carle said. “I chose not to.”
The NCAA advised UMass of the suspension prior to Friday’s practice.
“We looked at that this morning as a committee and decided that it was a clear hit to the head,” said NCAA committee chair Steve Metcalf. “Unfortunately, it was missed in the game but deserving of supplemental discipline.”
While the suspension punishes the Minutemen and their championship hopes, it does little to help Denver, who would likely have preferred the ensuing major power play in a game they eventually lost in overtime.
“We’ll rally around [Trivigno’s suspension],” Carvel said.
“I feel badly for him. When you’re 5-8, you have to protect yourself a little bit out there and unfortunately he crossed the line.”