BC, Notre Dame meet for hockey title

Apr 12, 2008 - 3:55 PM DENVER (Ticker) -- Notre Dame and Boston College are fierce rivals in football. On Saturday, they take that rivalry to the ice when they meet in the NCAA Division I hockey national championship game.

The surprising Fighting Irish, who have recorded three straight upsets in the tournament, set up the all-Catholic final with a stunning 5-4 overtime win over top-ranked Michigan in the semifinals of the Frozen Four on Thursday.

Calle Ridderwall, a 19-year-old freshman from Sweden, scored the game-winner against Michigan 5:44 into overtime. Coming into the game, Ridderwall had scored only three goals all season.

The Eagles cruised into their third straight title game with a 6-1 rout of North Dakota. It marked the third straight year Boston College has eliminated the Fighting Sioux in the national semifinals.

Nathan Gerbe, a junior forward and Hobey Baker finalist, scored a hat trick against North Dakota, his third of the season.

Boston College (24-11-8) is hoping the third time is a charm, having lost in the final the last two years to Wisconsin and Michigan State, respectively.

The Eagles are appearing in their ninth title game but are just 2-6, having captured their only crowns in 1949 and 2001.

Boston College is coached by Jerry York, the dean of all Division I hockey coaches. He is in his 36th season as a head coach and his 14th campaign at Boston College.

The second-winningest coach in NCAA history and first among active Division I mentors, York enters the title game with a 801-515-84 career record, including a 335-180-50 mark at Boston College. In the last 11 years, he has guided the Eagles to eight Frozen Four appearances.

Known more for its football tradition, Notre Dame (27-15-4) is in uncharted territory, as coach Jeff Jackson has built the school's hockey program virtually from scratch in just three seasons.

The Fighting Irish (27-15-4), who are appearing in the NCAA hockey tournament for only the third time in the program's 40-year history, became the first No. 4 seed to advance to the Frozen Four.

Notre Dame played poorly in the second half of the season and was fortunate to even make the 16-team tournament. The Fighting Irish were the last team picked.

They struggled to score down their stretch but found their offense in the West Regional, surprising top seed New Hampshire, 7-3, in the semifinals. In the regional final, Notre Dame posted a 3-1 win over defending national champion Michigan State.

While he can't match York's record, Jackson also is no stranger to the Frozen Four, having won a pair of national championships at Lake Superior State in the 1992 and 1994.

Thursday's win improved Jackson's record in the Frozen Four to 6-1, with the lone loss coming to to Maine in 1993.

In 2005, Jackson took over a Notre Dame program that won just five games (5-27-6) the previous season.

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