Semifinal Notebook: Boston College vs. North Dakota

One Last Time

This is the third straight Frozen Four appearance for Boston College, and the fourth for North Dakota. Every senior on the ice tonight has had his season ended, at some point in his career, by the seniors on the other side of the puck.

This is the third year in a row that the Sioux and the Eagles have met in semifinal action in the Frozen Four, with Boston College victorious all three years. In 2004-05, these seniors’ freshman season, UND beat BC in the East Regional final.

In each of the four NCAA tournament meetings between the Sioux and the Eagles, the winning team has scored six goals (BC: 6-4, 2007; BC: 6-5, 2006; UND: 6-3, 2005).

And in each of the three years, the winning team in this postseason series became the runner-up in the NCAA title game.

Starting Strong

For the second time in three years, the Eagles opened their Frozen Four semifinal game against the Sioux with three or more first-period goals. In 2006 in Milwaukee, BC scored three in the first, led 5-2 at the end of two, and won 6-5.

This was the second time this season that BC began a game with a four-goal first period, and the third time that the Eagles scored five or more in a set this year. BC netted four to open a 5-1 win over Providence March 15, and the Eagles scored five in the final stanza in their 6-0 win over RIT Dec. 30 in the title game of the Mariucci Classic.

For the Kill

Boston College's Mike Brennan, left, grabs a North Dakota sweater as tempers flare in the second period (photo: Melissa Wade.)

Boston College’s Mike Brennan, left, grabs a North Dakota sweater as tempers flare in the second period (photo: Melissa Wade.)

Tonight the Eagle penalty kill was a perfect 8-for-8, but two months ago, this same PK went through a five-game stretch where it killed penalties at a rate of just 65 percent.

That’s when captain Mike Brennan decided that the Eagles needed to re-examine their methods when down a man.

“Our penalty kill wasn’t that strong a month ago so we sat down and decided what the strengths of our team were, and that’s speed. So we just wanted to get on guys fast.”

Now through seven postseason games, Boston College has allowed just two opponent power-play goals on 34 attempts.

Hobey Hat Trick Hat Trick

BC junior Nathan Gerbe recorded his third career hat trick in tonight’s game. The Hobey Baker Hat Trick finalist registered all three of his three-game performances this season.

Chris Collins, another BC Hobey Hat Trick finalist, scored three goals in the 2006 semifinal game. For his hat trick, Collins scored a power-play goal, a shorthander, and an even-strength tally.

Which is exactly what Gerbe did tonight.

Can We Have a Hobey Hat Trick?

When praising Gerbe after the game, BC head coach Jerry York interrupted himself to praise the other two Hobey Hat Trick finalists, Michigan’s Kevin Porter and Miami’s Ryan Jones, both forwards.

“It’s just too bad — I’ve seen Jones play, I’ve seen Porter play — they couldn’t have a trifecta, and have all three Hobey Baker finalists receive the award because they’re all in their own right worthy of it.

“It just happens to be all in the same year that three players like that are up for the award.”

Filling The Seats

The paid attendance of 18,543 is the ninth-largest in Frozen Four history.