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Marc Del Gaizo, UMass Win National Championship

On Saturday night, University of Massachusetts (UMass) Head Coach Greg Carvel completed a comeback five seasons in the making. There was no comeback in the NCAA championship game: the Minutemen dominated St. Cloud State, winning 5-0 to capture the program’s first title. But there was a comeback for the program as a whole from basement dweller to national juggernaut.

Since joining the Hockey East Conference in 1994-95, the Minutemen recorded just two winning seasons (2003-04 and 2006-07) before Greg Carvel took over. In Carvel’s first season —2016-17—UMass finished with a 2-19-1 record.

Then came a freshman class—highlighted by Cale Makar and Mario Ferraro—that helped turn the program around.