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The Wright Stuff

Burnsville native, St. Thomas Academy grad scores in Denver’s championship.

Denver sophomore Jared Wright scored his 15th goal of the season, giving his team a 1-0 lead over Boston College in the Frozen Four title game. (MHM Photo / Rick Olson)

ST. PAUL — Jared Wright did it before.

No, not win an NCAA national championship. That happened for the first time Saturday night with Denver. But he’s scored game-winning goals on the ice sheet at Xcel Energy Center in a couple of big games to help his team pull off the upsets of a top-seeded opponent.

Skating in a Denver Pioneers sweater Saturday, Wright scored about halfway through the second period to give his team a 1-0 lead over No. 1 Boston College (34-6-1) in the Frozen Four national championship game. It turned out to be all the Pioneers (32-9-3) needed on the way to a 2-0 shutout of BC for Denver’s 10th national championship in program history and second in three years; no program has won more national titles.

“I think it’s the biggest moment of my life,” Wright said. “I’m just so proud to be a Pio and a part of this program.”

Jared Wright (center) and his Denver teammates celebrated two goals on the ice before eventually celebrating the program’s 10th NCAA championship. (MHM Photo / Rick Olson)

Wright, a Burnsville native, celebrated with his teammates in his home state. It’s also been about four years since he helped his St. Thomas Academy to an upset victory in the state high school hockey tournament as a junior. In the 2020 tournament, Wright also scored a second-period goal which held up for the winner in the Class 2A quarterfinals as the unseeded Cadets upset top-seeded Andover 3-2.

The Cadets took fourth place in 2020 and reached state the next season but lost to Eden Prairie in the quarterfinals. Wright was a senior captain that season, finishing second in scoring with 16 goals and 38 points in 21 games. He only scored six goals but added 18 assists in his junior season.

Before coming to Denver, Wright scored 15 goals and 19 assists during the regular season with Omaha in the USHL.

Though the high school tournament offered a couple of bright spots, Wright didn’t get the chance to celebrate a state championship that so many hope to achieve.

“Obviously, that’s a big dream growing up in Minnesota to win that,” Wright said, of the high school state tournament. “Winning this is I think so much bigger. It’s the pinnacle of my life so far.”

Making such a contribution to his team on the biggest stage in college hockey is huge. But doing it in his home state?

“It just means everything,” Wright said. “Especially with my grandparents, don’t get to see me a whole lot in Denver. So, just scoring in front of them, and then also my mom and brothers and family, it just means the world to me.”

Minnesota connects
For all of the pre-Frozen Four chatter around the state of hockey lamenting the fact that none of the Minnesota teams made it to St. Paul, the Frozen Four still offered some home cooking. Among the final four teams, seven Minnesota natives were listed on the rosters. Of those, five players hit the ice over the weekend. Two of them played for Denver in Wright and his teammate Tristan Broz, former Gophers player and Blake School graduate, who scored the overtime winner in Thursday’s semifinal.

Sophomore Rieger Lorenz is pumped after scoring Denver’s second goal of the game against BC. (MHM Photo / Rick Olson)

Though not a Minnesota native, Minnesota Wild prospect Rieger Lorenz assisted on Wright’s goal and scored the second goal in the championship game. As Wright did in the postgame press conference four years ago when St. Thomas Academy upset Andover, he praised teammates for their contributions to his goal in the NCAA title game.

“Rieger made an awesome play to get it back to me,” Wright said. “Just kind of threw it blind to the net, and I was lucky enough it rolled in.”

That Lorenz and Wright line, the two sophomore wingers combined with freshman center Kieran Cebrian, was responsible for the goal-scoring in the championship game. Also credit to defensemen Shai Buium, Sean Behrens and Zeev Buium for their assists, especially the pass along the boards from Zeev to Rieger.

“I think we move our feet a lot, stay above pucks,” Wright said. “We reload really well. I’m beyond blessed to play with Zeevs and Rieger. And I think we just complement each other really well.”

Road to Denver
Wright played for three seasons with St. Thomas Academy, and he also skated in a few games with the Minot Minotauros in the NAHL during that 2020-21 season before a year with Omaha in the USHL. His visit to Denver’s campus, plus the people and the coaches, all went into his decision to make Denver University his college home, he said. Wright added that he’s “very lucky that this coaching staff saw something in me” and is grateful for the opportunity to play.

Denver coach David Carle complimented winger Jared Wright on the different ways he’s found to score goals this season. (MHM Photo / Rick Olson)

Perhaps that notable “something” was Wright’s speed. Denver coach David Carle referred to his speed as “exceptional” and said that he’s not sure if there is a faster player in college hockey than Wright. The sophomore finished the season with 15 goals and 10 assists. As his offensive confidence keeps growing, Carle said Wright is learning to score in different ways.

In Saturday’s game, Wright tried to make it a two-goal effort with a breakaway tally only a couple of minutes after his goal, but he was denied by Boston College goaltender Jacob Fowler. Carle noted that Wright had a few of those types of breakaway goals throughout this season and last.

“But he’s scoring in different ways around the net, finding open ice in quiet areas,” Carle said. “So, that’s been great to see.

“And he’s the nicest human you’ll ever meet. Amazing, amazing kid. So proud of him. Teammates love him. You can tell how much it means to him to be here and to be part of this, and there’s not many people that you cheer harder for than Jared Wright, I’ll tell you that.”

Heather's love for watching hockey started when the Minnesota Wild came to town in 2000. Before that, she caught a few Minnesota Moose games as a youngster, and more recently she's kept up with the Austin Bruins and Fargo Force. She's a writer, freelance journalist and blogger who previously worked as a news reporter in Austin and Fergus Falls, Minn. She enjoys watching sports and closely follows the Wild, Minnesota Twins, IndyCar Series, tennis and prep sports. Heather keeps up her sports blog Thoughts from the Stands. You can follow her on Twitter/X @hlrule or Instagram @hlrule.

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