B.C. halts streaking Minnesota

The Gophers made an impressive run to the Tournament but hit a 5-2 wall in Worchester.

by Brian Deutsch

.WORCHESTER, Mass. – The seniors’ final game as members of the Minnesota men’s hockey team – Saturday’s 5-2 loss to Boston College in the Northeast Regional Semifinals – was, fittingly, senior night for the Gophers.

Senior forwards Ben Gordon and Mike Howe recorded both of the team’s goals in their twilight game.

“It’s pretty emotional. The last four years have been years I’ll never forget,” said Howe, who also tallied an assist on Gordon’s late goal. “It’s a sad deal losing the way we did today Ö Playing for the University of Minnesota has meant the world to me. It’s sad to say goodbye, today.”

Senior defenseman and team captain Derek Peltier – the only NHL drafted member of the senior class – tallied an assist on Howe’s second period goal, which tied the game at 1-1.

Fourth-year forward Evan Kaufmann didn’t record any points in the loss, but was the team’s best man on the draw, winning seven of the 12 faceoffs he took.

The foursome, along with goalie Brent Solei and injured forward Tom Pohl, make up a senior class who stuck together when adversity consistently tried to tear them apart.

“I’m proud of the guys and how they persevered all season long – everything they went through,” Lucia said. “I’m really happy for our seniors. For the most part, they played very well at the end.”

“They should feel good. I told them ‘Hey, be proud of how you competed and how you played to get here,’ ” Lucia said. “It hasn’t been easy for this group all season long, and that’s the way it had to be. To get to this point (from) where we were a couple months ago, it says a lot about them that they stayed with it and stayed together.”

But Gordon won’t remember the adversity he and the Gophers have faced during his tenure – just the relationships that were strengthened, in part, because of them.

“For me, I guess, the hardest part is saying goodbye to a lot good friends that you’ve made over the years. A lot of guys come and go, but I just want to say a special thanks to my classmates,” Gordon said. “I live with them, I love them. They’re some of my best friends in the whole world.”

After the game, Lucia was already looking forward to next year. History says it should be a good one, according to the coach, who will be in his 10th season with the Gophers next season.

“The last time we came out here and lost (a 5-4 overtime game to Maine in the 2001-2002 season), things turned out pretty good for us the next couple years.”

He was, of course, referring to Minnesota’s back-to-back national championships in 2002 and 2003.

800 for York

Thanks to a wide range of contributors – junior forward and Hobey Baker Award finalist Nathan Gerbe had added just a goal and an assist – Boston College coach Jerry York recorded his 800th career win.

“I would like to congratulate Jerry on his 800th win. I was hoping it would wait till the fall but BC is obviously a good team and opportunistic,” Lucia said. “We knew we couldn’t get into a shootout with them tonight. We knew we had to win a 3-2 type game and we just couldn’t hold them to two.”

Instead, Minnesota gave up five goals including an empty-netter – the only time in this season’s playoffs that the Gophers have given up more than two goals.