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UMD men's hockey: Wright's history with Bulldogs goes beyond 2022 NCHC Frozen Faceoff

Denver transfer Cameron Wright was on the 2018-19 Bowling Green team that lost in overtime to UMD in the NCAA regional in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Denver plays UMass Lowell in regional semifinal game in Loveland
Denver players celebrate after scoring a first period goal against UMass Lowell during the NCAA regional semifinal game on Thursday, March 24, 2022, at Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

LOVELAND, Colo. — Five minutes into Denver’s postgame press conference Thursday night following the 3-2 victory over UMass Lowell at the Budweiser Events Center, Pioneers fifth-year senior forward Cameron Wright was asked about playing Minnesota Duluth and red-hot goaltender Ryan Fanti in the NCAA regional final at 3 p.m. Saturday in Loveland.

Wright answered the question by Mike Chambers of the Denver Post without hesitation by throwing out what some may call "bulletin board material" while drawing a look at the end of his answer from the teammate seated beside him, sophomore forward Carter Savoie.

“We owe them," said Wright, who scored the game-winning goal Thursday for Denver in the third. "We're going to come out fast and we're going get traffic in front of the goalie. We're going to bat a couple in and find a way to score on this guy and beat them for sure.”

What Savoie may or may not know is that any beef Wright has with the Bulldogs dates back much further than last Saturday’s 2-0 victory by UMD in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff semifinals at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, where Fanti made 30 saves for the first of his three consecutive shutouts.

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The Thunder Bay native stole the show in the NCHC tournament, posting back-to-back shutouts at the Frozen Faceoff at Xcel Energy Center last weekend.

Wright transferred to Denver in the offseason for his fifth season of NCAA eligibility after playing his first four seasons of college at Bowling Green. He was a sophomore wing on the Falcons’ 2018-19 squad that saw its season ended by UMD via a 2-1 overtime loss in an NCAA regional final in Allentown, Pennsylvania. BGSU led that game 1-0 going into the third period before Bulldogs senior captain Parker Mackay tied the game with 3:01 to play and then scored the game-winner 11:45 into OT.

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That was Bowling Green’s only trip to the NCAA tournament in Wright’s four years with the Falcons, as head coach Chris Bergeron left the program after that game to take the head coaching job with the NCHC’s Miami RedHawks.

Wright posted between 20-29 points each year at Bowling Green, but has 31 points in 38 games this season with Denver. His game-winning goal in the third period was his 21st goal of the year, making it a collegiate-high.

“It’s a huge goal for me and that’s why I came to Denver, to win hockey games and be in the national tournament,” Wright said. “It’s been good so far and we’re hoping to win three more games here and maybe lift that trophy.”

Wright has already lifted one trophy as the Pioneers shared the NCHC regular season championship, the Penrose Cup, with North Dakota this season.

In the postgame, Denver coach David Carle compared Wright to another former Pioneer who helped the program hoist a trophy at the expense of UMD — Jarid Lukosevicius, whose second-period hat trick won DU an NCAA title in 2017 in Chicago.

“He gets to the right areas, he finds a way to one-time pucks and get pucks in the back of the net,” Carle said. “He’s a one-shot scorer. It’s been proven throughout the year. It’s hard to score 20-plus goals a year in college hockey, even harder to do it in our conference. He’s fit in unbelievably well.”

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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