April 13, 2008 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Heartbreaking: Notre Dame Left Speechless

by Dane DeKrey/Staff Writer

DENVER — It's hard enough to lose in the national championship game.

Getting asked for interviews after that loss must feel like rubbing salt in an open wound. But so is the nature of the beast — players must play and, well, writers must write.

And so with a heavy heart, and visible dejection on his face, Notre Dame assistant captain Dan VeNard pulled himself together to offer his thoughts on his team's 4-1 loss to Boston College in its first ever national championship game. Emotions were running high in the locker room, as most of the team was still dressed in full gear, sitting silently and motionless.

"I just said it might have been easier for us to lose to Ferris State in the first round of the CCHA playoffs," said VeNard, putting the gravity of the loss in perspective. "Because it's tough right now."

Tough, indeed.

VeNard's Notre Dame team was simply a by-product of what is becoming known as the Nathan Gerbe show. Gerbe, Boston College's junior sensation, made good on his hype, scoring two goals and adding two assists in the team's victory.

But unlike the North Dakota team that Boston College defeated in the semifinal game, 6-1, Notre Dame never was out of the contest, even after BC's patented three-goal flurry. This flurry occurred early in the second period, with Gerbe, fittingly, leading the charge.

Even then, down 3-0, the Irish never quit.

"I think we knew going in that BC could score in a flurry," VeNard said. "After they scored, we really just buckled down. Even in the third period when that goal was disallowed, we never quit. I actually thought we outplayed them; there was no quit in this dog tonight."

With VeNard, a senior on his way out, he leaves happy with the transformation the Notre Dame program has underwent in his four years.

"You know, as a group there's a lot of love happening on this team," VeNard said, his voice brimming with emotion. "I'm just so proud of these guys, and I have a lot of pride in restoring this jersey to where it belong."

Where it belongs, as Jerry York was quick to point out in his on-ice, postgame interview, is amongst the perennial powerhouses of college hockey.

Hats off to Notre Dame's incredible playoff run; they deserve it, championship or not.

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