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March 20, 2015

Tom Anastos

Michael Ferrantino

Jake Hildebrand



COACH ANASTOS:  I don't have a whole lot to say, other than I thought they were really good tonight, and we were unable to match that pace and intensity tonight, didn't execute very well, and so we were chasing pretty much all night.  They played well.

Q.  Where do you think this team is situated now going into next year after what you've been able to do this year with the strong finish that you had?
MICHAEL FERRANTINO:  You know, obviously I think we're a lot further ahead than we were last year at this point.  We were able to put together a good little stretch here, but obviously not quite far enough.  We've got to keep pushing to get better, and we'll get a lot better this off‑season and be back next year.
JAKE HILDEBRAND:  Yeah, like he said, my first two seasons here we knew it was going to be a process, and then this year, halfway through the season I feel like that was kind of the turning point.  Leaves a bad taste in our mouth, but just how much harder you have to work over the summer to not have this feeling at this time.

Q.  Mike, did you think you had enough good quality scoring chances, and if not what do you think Michigan State did to keep you at bay?
MICHAEL FERRANTINO:  I thought we had a few good scoring chances, not nearly enough.  I think they did a good job keeping us to the outside, defending their goal, and made it hard for us to get to their net.

Q.  Mike, how can a loss like this galvanize and inspire this team to push forward hard in the off‑season and come back even stronger and hungrier next season in?
MICHAEL FERRANTINO:  Any time you don't reach your goals at the end of the year, obviously you're going to be hungry in the off‑season and we'll make sure guys are pushing each other, especially losing to Michigan.  I think that just fuels the fire even more.

Q.  Jake, your thoughts about having a break yesterday and Michigan didn't.  Did it seem not to have an advantage for you guys?
JAKE HILDEBRAND:  I don't know.  I think whether we had a break or not, we knew how hard they were going to come out and how hard they were going to compete, whether we were going to play Wisconsin or Michigan, so I think we were preparing all week just to come in here and battle on Friday.

Q.  You guys had a pretty young team, especially defensively.  How did you see the team overall mature throughout the season?
JAKE HILDEBRAND:  I mean, we had a couple great guys come in as freshmen, Jacobs and Carson, they logged a lot of minutes, both of them, and then Walsh, he played in every situation for our team, and he went down with that broken jaw a few weeks ago, so I think our defensive core really stepped up in the second half of the season.  They were unbelievable.

Q.  Jake, what do you think the difference was between last Saturday's game at Michigan with a lot of shots and tonight's game with a lot of shots, too?
JAKE HILDEBRAND:  I don't think there were too many differences.  They're a really skilled team and they can put the puck in the back of the net, and they just executed tonight.

Q.  Guys, talking about your seniors, the seniors in the locker room, what were some of the things you guys have learned from them over the course of the season, coming from where you guys were at the start to where you finished today?
MICHAEL FERRANTINO:  Being juniors and being a year behind them, they're the group we really kind of looked up to when we got in here.  They kind of showed us the ropes so we learned a lot from them, especially our freshman year coming in and learning how to be student‑athletes and learning how to be college hockey players.  I think we owe a lot of success of our class to our seniors.
JAKE HILDEBRAND:  Yeah, I definitely think they showed us a lot, and these past few weeks, they never knew when their last game was going to be.  They definitely didn't want it to be tonight, so I think everybody wanted to go out and play their hardest for them.

Q.  Coach, I just asked them, now I'll ask you, what were some of the biggest things you could take away from the senior class after their last game here?
COACH ANASTOS:  Well, you know, I haven't really taken time to kind of reflect yet, just still kind of gathering that the season is over.  You know, that group, when they came in, they were part of that team that we had that went to the NCAA tournament.  They've been through the growing pains that we've had to experience over the past couple years.  There's certainly been highs and lows along the way, and I think they, like virtually all the guys that we have, really showed a resiliency, and I think that's a characteristic of our team that pops up from time to time when necessary.
You know, I'll have a better opportunity to reflect on that now that the season is over, but you hope those guys leave in a better place than when they came and had a good experience being a Spartan.

Q.  Despite Michigan's big start, after Berry's goal, what were your thoughts?  Were you thinking this could be a turnaround?
COACH ANASTOS:  Well, you know, you're trying to find positives because there wasn't much positive in the first period.  The positive of the first period is that we got out of it with only a one‑goal deficit, and I told our guys the good news is there's 40 minutes to play, so we're still in the game, at least from a score perspective, and although they're carrying the play.
So then we score the power play goal all of a sudden, now it's a new game.  I've been on the other side of that over the years, too, where you're kind of dominating the game and yet you can't open it up, and all of a sudden the team is hanging around and they're in it.
At that stage of the game, I thought that was a positive, and then we did build‑‑ we started to build a little bit of momentum and then we make a huge turnover that results on a two on one the other way, and one of the reasons our goals against has been so low all season long is we've given up very few odd man rushes, very few, and we just gave up too many.  We didn't take care of the puck.  We were slapping it around.  Small plays we couldn't make for some reason tonight, and so that goal hurt us because at that point we were finally starting to generate a little bit of momentum, and then they got the third goal, and it became very difficult because now they got more momentum to build on.

Q.  The two penalties late in the second, did you think that would give you momentum going into the third or would that have tired you out a little bit?
COACH ANASTOS:  I think you can get momentum off of a big kill.  So again, going into the third period you're still in the game.  It's kind of like you've got to built towards getting that next goal.  We just couldn't manufacture enough tonight in any part of the game, and like I said, I give them credit.  They played a really good game.

Q.  How did Michigan's team speed, especially through the neutral zone, kind of affect the way the game just didn't really seem to open up for you guys?
COACH ANASTOS:  Well, I thought where we had trouble the most was in our own zone down low.  I didn't think we were able to shut them down.  They were able to build some momentum down there, and when you're in your zone for a while and you can't shut plays down, and now all of a sudden you get it out, the tendency is you get it out just to get a line change or you get it out to dump it in to get a line change, you can never really build any momentum.
I thought they did a good job of that tonight, and we were not able to contain them well enough down low, which caused a lot of problems for us in trying to build any rhythm at all.

Q.  Does it bother you that for two games straight now you have let up 40 plus shots to the Wolverines and have basically been playing on your heels mostly in your defensive zone against them?
COACH ANASTOS:  Yeah, it does bother me, definitely.  It hasn't been something that's happened to us throughout the season, and I did think we were on our heels tonight for whatever reason.  I don't know if it was the magnitude of the game, some guys knew it was a one and done situation.  I don't know, I don't have that answer right now.  Obviously we'll assess everything, but yeah, we gave up shots too easy, and you can't rely on your goaltender to make that many saves on a consistent basis.

Q.  To follow up on that, Jake made 23 saves in that first period, he had a pretty strong second, as well.  What did you think about his game overall and the season he's had?
COACH ANASTOS:  Oh, God, he's been phenomenal.  I thought he was really good tonight.  He was phenomenal.  I can't remember how all the goals went in.  First one I think went off John Draeger on the power play.  I think their fourth one, the guy made a real nice play.  I don't think Jake ever saw it.  He made a real nice play around Draeger.  Obviously it was a heck of a shot by Compher on that two on one.  I don't remember how the other one went in.  Who scored the other one?  Doesn't matter.  But I thought he was great.  I thought he played phenomenal all season long.  I thought he played really well tonight.

Q.  Can you talk about what did you think of your team's discipline tonight?  It seemed like some uncharacteristic penalties.
COACH ANASTOS:  Yeah, that's the nature of the beast when you're a step behind is you start to take hooks or slashes or trips and you don't draw penalties.  They had a step on us all night long.  The result in the quality of the game is what it was.  We've got to figure out why that was.  One is they're a darned good team, and two is what's it going to take for us to have a better response than we had tonight.  Experience will be one, got some experience now, but I did think the whole night we were playing on our heels, which wasn't good.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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