BC, Michigan St. in Frozen showdown

BC, Michigan St. in Frozen showdown

BC, Michigan St. in Frozen showdown
Fri, Apr 6, 2007
By Associated Press

ST. LOUIS - Boston College is back in the Frozen Four final for the second straight season, bringing a renewed appreciation for what it takes to win it all.

Michigan State is returning to the championship game after a much longer absence.

Nathan Gerbe had two goals and two assists and scored the go-ahead goal on a late third-period power play in a 6-4 victory over North Dakota in the semifinals on Thursday night. The Eagles have a 13-game winning streak heading into the final Saturday night. Oddsmakers have not yet released a line.

Boston College (29-11-1) lost 2-1 to Wisconsin in the championship game last season, missing a chance to force overtime on a last-second shot that bounced off the post.

“Last year we came as close as you can come,” forward Brian Boyle said. “I think that does drive us a little bit, the guys who have been there.

“This is a new season and we want to make our mark.”

Michigan State (25-13-3) overcame an early two-goal deficit to beat Maine 4-2 in the other semifinal. Nick Sucharski scored the go-ahead goal off a rebound early in the third period and 5-foot-6 goalie Jeff Lerg made 29 saves.

“We don’t have any All-Stars, no Hobeys,” coach Rick Comley said. “We need a lot of guys to play well and we never quite know exactly what’s going to happen, or who might do it.”

The final pits coaches totaling 69 years of experience. Jerry York is 778-503-76 in 35 seasons with two titles, including Boston College’s last in 2001. Comley is 713-553-90 in 34 seasons with one championship in 1991 at Northern Michigan.

Michigan State hasn’t won it all since 1986, and hasn’t made it to the final since 1987.

“I’ll say this, he’s a terrific coach,” York said. “Despite playing against each other and recruiting against each other, we’ve kept a good friendship. It’s going to be a good matchup.”

Boston College was 3-for-7 on the power play to eliminate North Dakota in the semifinals for the second straight year. The Eagles have an astounding 35.6 percent success rate (21-for-59) during the winning streak with at least one power-play goal each game.

Boston College outshot North Dakota 49-35, but needed two short-handed goals in the final minute to clinch it. The teams combined for six goals in the final seven minutes.

“In the third period the skill really showed on each team and really opened it up,” Gerbe said. “It was a great game for the fans to watch because it was a lot of skill and a lot of speed and everyone spilling their hearts out.”

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. Cory Schneider made 25 saves.

Chris Porter scored twice for North Dakota (24-14-5). T.J. Oshie, the St. Louis Blues’ 2005 first-round draft pick playing on the NHL team’s home ice, had a short-handed goal and two assists.

Michigan State overcame Maine (23-15-2) in a rematch from the 2006 East Regional final, when the Black Bears built an early 3-0 cushion and won 5-4. The Spartans trailed 2-0 after only 3:24 but Lerg settled down after allowing two goals on the first four shots.

“I sort of flashed back to last year and you start thinking ’How do you stop these guys?”’ Lerg said. “I had to shrug it off because I know that we’ve lost two-goal leads in 30 seconds, so the game can turn around just like that.”

Jim McKenzie also scored off a rebound midway through the third and Chris Mueller had a goal and an assist for Michigan State, a No. 3 seed which surged after losing four of five to end February.

Josh Soares and Keith Johnson each had a goal and an assist for Maine.

“It was the start that you want,” Soares said. “I thought maybe we got too emotional. Maybe it was too good of a start and we tightened up a bit.”

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