Gerbe Stars Again, Eagles Hold Two-Goal Lead

Boston College is 20 minutes from a national championship, as it holds a 3-1 lead over Notre Dame through two periods of play at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

All-American Nathan Gerbe, who scored a hat trick in BC’s 6-1 win over North Dakota in the national semifinals, netted the first two goals of the second period to break a scoreless tie. His seven goals in the NCAA tournament have already tied the all-time mark held by three other players.

The Eagles are in search of their third national title while Notre Dame seeks its first in its inaugural trip to the Frozen Four.

BC controlled much of the opening period territorially, but the Fighting Irish had the best offensive chances. Christian Hansen had a grade-A bid at 14:30 that BC goaltender John Muse was able to stop short-side.

On the play, though, Notre Dame drew a penalty to BC’s Matt Greene. The Irish put solid pressure on the Eagles on the ensuing power play but were unable to beat Muse.

As the penalty expired, a slapshot from the left point hit BC defenseman Carl Sneep in the ankle. He had to be helped from the ice and his status is unknown.

The Eagles offense, which looked tentative in the first, exploded to start the second. They broke the deadlock when Gerbe one-timed a pass from Brian Gibbons over the left shoulder of Notre Dame goaltender Jordan Pearce at 2:23 to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.

At 5:37, this time on the power play, Gerbe netted his fifth goal of the Frozen Four and 35th of the season when he sped off the halfboards and poked home the puck before Pearce could cover the left post for a 2-0 lead.

Gerbe then helped extend the lead to 3-0 when he dished a pass to Joe Whitney, who blasted a shot from the point inside the right post at 8:11 .

Notre Dame didn’t quit, though. Skating four-on-four, Kevin Deeth worked a perfect give-and-go with Kyle Lawson. Deeth finished the play with a wrist shot over Muse’s blocker to cut the lead to two at 8:11.