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NCAA Frozen Four at Pepsi Center

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
The 2008 NCAA Frozen Four - college hockey's premiere event - is being contested at Pepsi Center from April 9-12.


In Thursday evening's semifinal games, Boston College topped North Dakota by a 6-1 count, while Notre Dame earned its first trip to the NCAA title game by downing Michigan, 5-4 in overtime.

For all your Frozen Four needs, including recaps, features and photos from the event, visit NCAASports.com.

Boston College's Nate Gerbe (9) is mobbed by his teammates after scoring his third goal of the game on Thursday night
Eagles Fly Past Sioux, 6-1
Gerbe Scores Three, Muse Stops 29 for BC
For the third straight year, the Boston College Eagles and the North Dakota Fighting Sioux met up with a berth in the NCAA Division I National Championship Game on the line.

And for the third straight year, the Eagles sent the Fighting Sioux home.

Junior forward Nathan Gerbe led the way for Boston College with a hat trick and freshman netminder John Muse made 29 saves as the Eagles earned a 6-1 victory over the Fighting Sioux Thursday in front of a sellout crowd of 18,543 at Pepsi Center.

“I think this is certainly an anomaly, this type of game, because the score is not indicative of the game itself,” Boston College head coach Jerry York said. “Having said that, we’re extremely proud of our club. We did a lot of just basic meat and potato hockey tonight – finishing checks, moving pucks – we’re certainly not trying to reinvent the wheel here at BC.”

The Eagles set the tone early, jumping out to a 4-0 lead after one period.

Boston College opened the scoring at 7:08 after Kyle Kucharski blocked a North Dakota point shot and led a 2-on-1 rush before feeding Andrew Orpik, who put a low shot past Fighting Sioux netminder Jean-Philippe Lamoureux (21 saves).

Gerbe, one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, then put his skills on display by scoring twice within a 1:59 span. The junior forward notched an unassisted short-handed goal at 13:14, followed by another tally at 15:13 on a shot from a tough angle that trickled past Lamoureux.

Eagles forward Dan Bertram rounded out the first-period scoring with 14.8 seconds left on the clock on a one-timer from the high slot.

Boston College continued its strong play in the second period. Gerbe completed his hat trick to make it a 5-0 game with a power-play goal at 6:37, while Ben Smith stretched the lead to six goals at 11:58.

The Fighting Sioux finally solved Muse with 1:16 remaining in the third period, as Jake Marto scored the only goal of the frame when he picked the corner with a high shot.

“Tonight was not the way we had envisioned  to end the year, but that doesn’t take anything away from the character and class of this group of guys on this hockey team,” North Dakota head coach Dave Hakstol said. “Tonight, [Boston College] brought the lead that we couldn’t come back on.”
Boston College will face the winner of Thursday’s other semifinal contest between the University of Michigan and the University of Notre Dame in Saturday’s NCAA National Championship Game.

Notes: Gerbe’s hat trick was the third of his career, all of which have come this season…The Eagles are making their eighth Frozen Four appearance in the last 11 years, the most of any school in the nation during that span…Boston College is now 18-4-3 when scoring first…The Eagles are 10-1-0 in neutral site contests this season…Tonight’s game marked the fourth straight year the Eagles and Fighting Sioux have met in the NCAA Tournament.


Irish Keep on Fighting
Notre Dame Needs Extra Session to Down Michigan
The University of Notre Dame is making its first appearance at the NCAA Frozen Four one to remember.

Notre Dame freshman Calle Ridderwall – who had three goals in 37 games coming into Thursday’s contest - opened the scoring in the first period and ended the game with an overtime tally to lead the Irish to a 5-4 victory over the University of Michigan in front of 18,544 fans at Pepsi Center.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrate one of Calle Ridderwall's two goals in the squad's Frozen Four Semifinal win over Michigan
Ridderwall knocked home the rebound of a Dan VeNard shot at 5:44 of the extra session to send Notre Dame to its first ever NCAA title game.

“It was kind of a crazy game. There was no time in which I felt comfortable,” Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson said. “I have a rich tradition in playing the underdog role. The underdog thing is overblown. When you get to this level, the teams in college hockey are so close where anything can happen.”

Notre Dame stormed out of the gates with a pair of goals early in the first period. First, Ridderwall cut around two Michigan defenders and beat netminder Billy Sauer (6 saves) to his glove side five minutes into the contest. Mark Van Guilder then made it a 2-0 game 42 seconds later on a low shot from the left faceoff dot.

Before the first period ended, Ryan Thang extended Notre Dame’s lead to three goals with his 18th tally of the season. With the Irish short-handed, Thang carried the puck up ice and worked his way around a Michigan defenseman before putting a backhand over Sauer’s right shoulder with 34.9 seconds left in the frame.

At the start of the second period, freshman goaltender Bryan Hogan replaced Sauer in the Michigan net, a move that seemed to spark the Wolverines.

Chad Kolarik and Matt Rust scored just 15 seconds apart in the middle of the second stanza to cut the Wolverines’ deficit to one goal heading into the final frame.

Kolarik deposited a centering feed from Kevin Porter past Notre Dame netminder Jordan Pearce at 8:48, while Rust tipped in a puck from just outside the crease at 9:03.

Early in the third period, Notre Dame was whistled for a bench minor and Kolarik capitalized by netting his second goal of the game on the ensuing power play. After Max Pacioretty’s shot from the slot rang off the post, Kolarik knocked home a rebound out of mid-air at 2:16 to even the game.

Notre Dame sophomore Kevin Deeth helped the Fighting Irish reclaim the lead at 11:30 on a forehand attempt, but Michigan’s Carl Hagelin again evened the game at 14:39. Hagelin won a foot race to a puck deep in Notre Dame’s defensive zone and put a backhand attempt on net from a seemingly impossible angle. Somehow, the shot squeezed between Pearce’s left pad and the goal post to send the game to overtime.

Pearce finished with 29 saves in the victory, while Hogan stopped 18 shots in just over 45 minutes of relief work.

“We didn’t get the start we wanted, but I liked the way that our team regrouped in the second period, and even in the third period,” Michigan head coach Red Berenson said. “We didn’t look good in overtime, don’t ask me why. We were on our heels. We’re a team that plays to win, and we like overtime. I felt good about our team, our team felt good about it, but we didn’t play well.”

The Fighting Irish now advance to Saturday’s National Championship contest, where they will face the Boston College Eagles.

Notes: The last overtime game at the Frozen Four came five years ago to the day and also involved the Michigan Wolverines. On April 10, 2003, the Minnesota Gophers needed overtime to dispatch the Wolverines by a 3-2 count in the semifinals…Notre Dame is making its third appearance in the NCAA Tournament (2004, 2007, 2008) and its first appearance at the Frozen Four in the program’s 40-year history…With the win, the Fighting Irish matched their second-highest win total (27) in school history…Notre Dame’s 1987-88 squad also had 27 wins, while last year’s team racked up 32 victories…Michigan was making its 23rd appearance at the Frozen Four, the most of any school in the nation...Kolarik’s pair of goals gave him 30 on the season, the fourth highest total in the country.

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