Gerbe, Muse power BC's rout of North Dakota in Frozen Four semis
DENVER -- Jerry York is fond of calling his team a meat-and-potatoes squad.
"There's no trickery with our club," the Boston College coach said. "We're not trying to reinvent the wheel at BC. We just stay with the game plan."
As in, get the puck to Nathan Gerbe and let him work his magic.
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.
Yet the Eagles are hoping their third straight visit to the title game is a charm.
"This team is different than in the past," said defenseman Mike Brennan, whose team will play Notre Dame in the final Saturday night. "We're so focused on what we want to do."
Not even the nation's top-ranked goalie could slow down high-flying Boston College.
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," 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.
That's the thing about Gerbe -- he's always deflecting credit to his teammates.
But they realize his worth.
"He's just a dynamo," Brennan said. "Nathan was outstanding the whole game. He likes to deflect all the glory to his team. He's just a great team guy."
The 5-foot-5 Gerbe learned something early in his hockey career: Quickness had to be his best weapon.
"I had to learn to skate fast because of my size," Gerbe said. "I'm not going to outmuscle anyone down low, so I have to be quick."
Asked if he ate anything special for breakfast the day of the game, Gerbe just grinned.
"Same as usual -- cereal and a bagel," he said.
Brennan just glanced at him.
"Same as me and I didn't have [three] goals," Brennan said.
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 shorthanded 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. BC 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.
However, the Sioux once again ran into their nemesis, losing to the Eagles for the sixth time in the NCAA tournament in nine meetings. North Dakota did win a national title in 2000 by beating Boston College.
"They came out and played a very good hockey game, made some plays early on in the hockey game," North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol said. "Obviously, tonight is not the way we had envisioned to end the year. That doesn't take anything away from the character and class of this group of guys on our hockey team."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
2008 NCAA MEN'S HOCKEY TOURNAMENT
Frozen Four Index Bracket | Schedule/Results | Scoreboard
Championship Game• Albright: BC's season lives on with title
• Gerbe's two goals power the Eagles
• INCH: Gerbe lifts BC | Notebook | Tourney team
• Watch: BC-ND highlights | Analysis
• Albright: York, Jackson vying for third titles
Frozen Four• Albright: Irish turnaround nearly complete
• ND upsets UM in OT, advances to first title game
• INCH: Swede and Sauer | Notebook
• Albright: Third time remains a charm for BC
• Gerbe's hat trick lifts BC to 3rd straight title game
• INCH: Eagles remain steady | Notebook
• Watch: Notre Dame | BC | Frozen Four recap
Features• Albright: Frozen Four's burning questions
• Albright: Sauer gets better with age
• Albright: BC's modern-day Muse
• Boston College proves it belongs
• Michigan looks dominant in winning East
• Waves of Wolverines too much for Niagra
• Five burning tournament questions
• Princeton caps run with tourney bid
• ESPN.com's Expert Predictions
• At-large selections among tourney surprises
Inside College Hockey• Capsules: BC-NoDak | Michigan-ND
• Northeast: Final | Notebook
• Midwest: Final | Notebook
• East: Final | Notebook
• West: Final | Notebook
• Player of the Year
• Rookie of the Year
• Defenseman of the Year
• Goalie of the Year
• Coach of the Year
• Freshmen All-Americans