Bertram Delivers on Coach's Guidance
by Matthew Conyers/CHN Reporter
ST. LOUIS During Boston College's last practice before their National Semifinal grudge match with North Dakota, iconic head coach Jerry York pulled junior forward Dan Bertram aside for a little one-on-one time.
With Bertram having watched his scoring touch progressively vanish over the last three months, York gave him some fatherly encouragement — relax. For the junior Bertram, a highly-touted recruit who had only registered six goals all year, the words of support were apparently exactly what he needed.
"He's very good at catching guys at the right time," Bertram said. "He kind of said, 'Hey Danny, we expect big things from you for this tournament. We think you're playing well so just keep it up.' It worked out well. It was definitely a nice word of wisdom."
Thursday in the two opponents' sixth NCAA tournament meeting in the last nine years, Bertram sparked the Eagles early and throughout helping the squad knock off an explosive North Dakota team. En route to the 6-4 victory, Bertram recorded two typical hard-working garbage goals. Despite the lack of offensive production from Bertram in February and March, the Eagles knew what to anticipate from Bertram come April.
"It's not a surprise to us — we see him at practice every day," said senior Brian Boyle. "I mean the kid can score goals. He's open for a shot he can score, he's strong enough as a player physically that he can go in there and score those garbage goals."
Following suit with Boyle, linemate Joe Rooney was eager to point out that Bertram is the type of player any team would love to have.
"Goals don't count for everything," said Rooney. "I've been playing with him pretty much all year. I love playing with him. He is good positionally and always in the right spot in the defensive zone. He's fast, he's strong, and he's got good hands.
"He's a skilled guy and a great guy to play with."
Headed into the contest, Bertram feels he approached the game a little bit differently then those regular-season matches earlier in the year.
"I approached it like the World Juniors Championship," said Bertram. "I should approach every game like that. It's a more focused approach. It's a different feeling when you go into a game and know your season could be ending right after it."
Still throughout the season Bertram is clear that he never got too upset or disappointed when the tallies didn't come pouring in.
"I guess [during the season] it was about confidence and finding out what the team needs," said Bertram. "But at the end of the day when you're playing in the National Championship game, you can't really look back disappointed in the season. I'm more than happy with how the season has gone, especially with the team. It's nice to be contributing for sure but there are ways off the scoresheet to do that too."
As a team, the Eagles couldn't be more excited for Bertram chances to regain some headlines.
"It's great for him," said Boyle. "I think it will work towards his confidence. He might've been gripping his stick a little bit on those scoring chances but every other part of his game has been great.
"Now he can relax in front of the net and show everyone what we already know."
Although the goals came before the dramatic final 20 minutes, one at 15:41 of the first and another at 15:21 of the second period, they more than displayed Boston College's prowess and power.
"The goals were gravy for us," said Boyle. "They were huge because our power play was so good tonight. At first we had a bunch of chances and couldn't score and we might've got down on ourselves but he came out and got that greasy goal."
Boyle isn't the only guy to label the scores as "greasy" — Bertram himself describes the tallies just the same.
"They were both pretty greasy goals," said Bertram. "Smith tipped it in front, I found the rebound and I put it far side for the first one. On the second it was goal line shot, the goalie came out and played it and it was lying there. I backhanded it and it was a little slow but it got across the line."