BC takes 13-game winning streak into Frozen Four final

Updated: April 6, 2007, 2:21 AM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Banking on a lethal power play, Boston College ended North Dakota's season one game short of the Frozen Four final for the second straight year.

Nathan Gerbe scored the go-ahead goal on the man advantage with 4:06 to go, and the Eagles were 3-for-7 overall in a 6-4 victory over North Dakota in the semifinals Thursday night.

Boston College is 21-for-59 on the power play, an astounding 35.6 percent success rate, during a 13-game winning streak heading to the title game Saturday night against Michigan State (25-13-3).

The Eagles (29-11-1) outshot North Dakota 49-35 but needed two short-handed, empty-net goals in the final minute to clinch it.

"I thought North Dakota was the best team we played all year," BC coach Jerry York said. "They pushed us right to the limit.

"We're not trying to avoid losing, either, and when you get two teams with that philosophy it's a terrific game to watch."

Gerbe, who had two goals and two assists, broke a 3-all tie after North Dakota was worn down by consecutive penalties. The go-ahead goal came only 7 seconds after Robbie Bina went off for elbowing.

"Penalty killing is hard work and when you lack a little bit of energy, it's an advantage to the opposition," North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol said. "That was what turned the game around."

Boston College is seeking its first title since 2001 and third overall, while Michigan State hasn't won it all since 1986. The schools will be meeting in the championship game for the first time.

Gerbe beat Philippe Lamoureux with a one-timer from the slot off a pass from Brock Bradford for a 4-3 lead, only 32 seconds after T.J. Oshie had tied it with a short-handed goal. Gerbe, a fifth-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 2005, is tied for second in the nation with seven game-winners.

"I don't really care about the points," Gerbe said. "The feeling about getting back to the championship game and having another chance to cap it off is unbelievable."

Dan Bertram had his first two-goal game of the season for the winners, who beat North Dakota 6-5 in the semifinals last year before losing to Wisconsin in the championship game. Goalie Cory Schneider, who made 25 saves, said Boston College's late success made up for hitting several posts earlier in the game.

"We got pretty unlucky throughout the game hitting all of those posts, and the puck bounced off the net a few times," Schneider said. "We knew they were going to come eventually."

Chris Porter scored twice for North Dakota (24-14-5) and Oshie, the St. Louis Blues' 2005 first-round draft pick playing on the NHL team's home ice, had a short-handed goal and an assist.

"You're never out of the game," Porter said. "We fought right to the end and I was really proud of the way we played."

The teams combined for six goals in the final 7 minutes, including a pair of empty-netters in the final minute by Boston College to put it away. Joe Rooney scored a short-handed, empty-netter with 50 seconds to go for a 5-3 lead, North Dakota answered on Porter's power-play goal with 16.4 seconds left, and Gerbe added another empty-netter with 5.5 seconds to go.

Boston College has outscored the opposition 61-23 during its winning streak.

Porter opened the scoring at 10:28 of the first period with his 12th goal from the slot after the puck squirted loose. Boston College tied it on a power play at 15:41 when Bertram's deflection attempt dropped at his skates well in front of the net and he converted his own shot.

Oshie's shot off the right side of the net rattled around to the other side and nearly trickled in before Jonathan Toews slapped it in on a North Dakota power play at 3:15 of the second. Bertram's eighth goal was the third shot in a flurry that knotted it at 2 at 15:21 of the second, with only 6 seconds to go on Erik Fabian's hooking penalty.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press