Gerbe, B.C. crush North Dakota
By Pat Graham
DENVER — Nathan Gerbe’s hat trick helped Boston College advance to its third straight championship game — all at North Dakota’s expense.
John Muse stopped 29 shots and the Eagles rode a four-goal opening period to a 6-1 victory over the Fighting Sioux on Thursday night in the Frozen Four semifinals.
The Eagles have beaten North Dakota the last three years in the semifinal round, but haven’t won a national title since 2001, when they beat the Sioux in overtime. Boston College lost to Michigan State in the final last year and to Wisconsin in 2006.
Not even the nation’s top-ranked goalie could slow down high-flying Boston College, which will play the Michigan-Notre Dame winner in the final Saturday night.
The Eagles (24-11-8) roughed up Jean-Philippe Lamoureux for four goals on just 13 shots in the opening period, setting the tone for the evening.
"I think this certainly is an anomaly. The score is not indicative of the game itself," Boston College coach Jerry York said. "There’s a great deal of respect from our end as we think about North Dakota. It’s going to happen once in a light year that our teams get separated by this many goals. I’m extremely proud of our club."
Andrew Orpik, Dan Bertram and Ben Smith also scored for the Eagles in their eighth straight victory.
It was Gerbe’s third hat trick this season. He also had an assist on Smith’s goal, the fifth time in 2007-08 he’s had at least four points in a game. Gerbe has 33 goals this season to go with 31 assists.
Gerbe, a Hobey Baker finalist, also turned in a memorable contest in last year’s semifinals against North Dakota, scoring two goals and adding two assists.
"Tonight was another great game from our club," Gerbe said. "We have to keep that going."
Muse’s shutout bid came to an end with 76 seconds remaining when Jake Marto beat him with a shot over his left shoulder. The freshman goalie has been in net for all 43 games this season.
Lamoureux had allowed two or fewer goals in 20 of his last 23 games before the wheels came off against Boston College.
North Dakota’s sloppy play led to all four of Boston College’s goals in the opening period, including a short-handed breakaway goal by Gerbe.
Lamoureux finished the season with 27 wins, the most for the Sioux since Ed Belfour had 29 in 1986-87.
"Right now, it hurts pretty bad," Lamoureux said. "This is a group that deserves a better fate. B.C. played a better game tonight. We had a lot of turnovers on our part and they capitalized on them."
By gaining a spot in the semifinals this season, North Dakota (28-11-4) became the 10th team to make four or more consecutive trips to the Frozen Four. The record is 10 in a row by Michigan from 1948-57.