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Hockey's Nathan Gerbe Excited For Second Half Of Season

Gerbe has scored three game-winning goals this season, leading the team in that category

Gerbe has scored three game-winning goals this season, leading the team in that category

Dec. 7, 2006

Sophomore forward Nathan Gerbe has tallied seven goals and three assists this season in helping the Eagles to an 8-4-1 record. Gerbe was credited with the game's lone goal in the Eagles' win over Boston University on Saturday. Gerbe and the Eagles return to action on Friday, Dec. 8, at Massachusetts.

The team enters this weekend's games with an 8-4-1 record and a No. 6 national ranking. Give us your thoughts on the season so far.

We were up and down at the beginning of the season, winning and losing, losing to teams we really shouldn't have lost to. But, I think we're coming together nicely. We had a nice win against BU and hopefully we'll continue rolling this weekend against UMass and help the record.

What do you see as the strengths of this year's team?

I think our offense is pretty good. Obviously, we can be a lot better. We have the players to do it. Our defensive effort has been picking up a lot since the beginning of the year. Goaltending is obviously a huge strength of ours.

What are the areas that the team is focusing on in hopes of making improvements?

We're trying to work on the offense and special teams. I think if we build our special teams up even better, then I think we'll be rolling even more.

Are there one or two aspects of your game that you're most striving to improve?

Offensively, I want to be better, more of a threat on the ice. On special teams, I want to help and be better. Overall, I'm trying to keep my energy level up and keep the team going.

Tell us about your linemates - Dan Bertram and Brock Bradford - and how you work together.

All three of us are really good friends. We're all the same age, played against each other when we were growing up, so we all know how each other play. It helps a lot to know each other going on the ice. I think we've been playing really well, moving the puck well together.

Your sophomore class comprises the largest group on the team (10). Tell us about the camaraderie among your classmates.

It's very strong. There are eight of us who live together, so obviously we all know each other pretty well. We've been pretty good to the team so far and hopefully we can continue rolling.

Tell us about the team's six freshmen. How has all the youth affected the team? How do you help guide the freshmen?

The freshmen have been unbelievable for us this year, on and off the ice. They act like upperclassmen and the guys who have been playing have definitely been terrific on the ice. If I see something and think, `Oh, I struggled in that, too,' I try to help them. I try to help as much as I can, but sometimes they're helping me, too.

You lead the team in power-play goals (3) and shorthanded goals (2). What is your role on the penalty kill? On the power play? What do you try to accomplish in each situation?

On the power play, I just want to move the puck as quickly as I can. When I have the shot, I take it. But I think it's just getting in front of the net and paying the price to get a goal here and there. Then, on the penalty kill, you don't want the other team scoring. That's the main focus. But if you get a chance, you always want to try to score, and luckily I've done that twice.

Talk about this weekend's two games against Massachusetts. Is there any additional emphasis on these games as they're the final two games before the nearly month-long break in the schedule?

There's no real emphasis. We all know they're the last two games before break and there are four points we can gain in the standings here to move into second place. So, these two games are huge, but we can't put too much focus on any one weekend.

People on the outside probably have certain points of view about BC hockey. As someone who plays in the program, what can you share with others to give them a bit more insight into the program?

It's definitely a program that I would encourage all kids growing up to consider because it's just like a family here. Even the guys who have played here in the past and have moved on, when they come back, they feel part of the team, even from many years ago.

When you're not playing hockey or around the rink, what do you do?

I'm usually seeing the trainers, watching TV in the lounge or messing around on the computer. I like soccer. I like almost every sport, but I've never really pursued any other sports.

Congratulations on your selection to the 2007 US National Junior Team! What does it mean to you to be one of the eight players returning from last year's team?

It's definitely an accomplishment that I've always been dreaming of. It's going to be memorable to put on our jersey one more time in international play. It's something I'm definitely proud of and hopefully we can bring home a gold medal. Either way, I think it will be a great experience.

What did you learn from your first year in the World Junior Championships that can help you the second time around?

I was shocked the first time I went on the ice by how quick it was and at how high a level the players played. If you make one mistake, then it's in the back of your net in a second.

You'll be playing with Team USA in Sweden over the upcoming December vacation. What do you know about the trip so far, or about the teams you'll face?

I think the teams we'll face will be the same as always, like Canada will be tough, Russia will be skilled, Finland will be tough, the Czechs will be good. All the teams will be very, very good there and I think we can't let it distract us and we have to focus on ourselves and put together a good streak there.

How important will it be for you to come back ready to play with the Eagles?

The second half is always the most important half of the season. It's kind of the push for the league playoffs and then the national tournament. So, I'm already looking forward to getting back for the second half.

Interview conducted by Geoffrey Kehlmann

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