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March 16, 2017

Tom Anastos

Rhett Holland

Villiam Haag

Detroit, Michigan

Ohio State - 6, Michigan State - 3

TOM ANASTOS: Well, I thought we obviously started slower than we'd hoped. I liked our resiliency, how we climbed back in the game. I actually liked our second period, even though we gave up a goal, and obviously the third period was not something that we felt good about.

Giving up that power play -- I thought that was a real key moment to start that third period. Somebody was going to get momentum, either they were scoring a power play goal, which we've struggled this season to shut the power play down, as have many schools. We were hoping to shut it down and build some momentum. Didn't work that way, they got it, and they moved ahead and scored a couple additional goals and had us reeling at that point.

They're a good team, very good team. I thought they played well tonight.

Q. Villiam, you've been here for four years and Rhett five years. What was going through your mind knowing this was your last game as a Spartan?
RHETT HOLLAND: I mean, it's disappointing to end my five years on this note, but at the same time, it's an opportunity just to reflect on the five years that I've been here and just thank the school, the program, the coaching staff, my teammates for everything they've done for me throughout the five years, and this team especially. It's not the way we wanted to obviously end the year, but it's a moment to reflect with them and be there for them.

VILLIAM HAAG: Yeah, it's similar as Rhett. Of course incredibly disappointing ending this way. But as he said, I think we're an amazing group of guys. We stick together, and we came to the rink every day and worked hard. I'm very proud of being a part of this team and a Spartan as a whole.

Q. Rhett, could you comment on the play for two periods and what you thought about the start of the third, just breakdowns, were they good shots? How would you sum that up?
RHETT HOLLAND: I mean, yeah, I thought the first period we showed really good resiliency. We were down two goals. We battled back, made it 3-2, and like Coach said, I think that second period I felt we played pretty strong, even though we came out of that period 3-3, and then that kill was huge at the start of that period. It was either, like Coach said, they were either going to score and they were going to get a bunch of momentum or we were going to have a big kill and build off of that. So they ended up scoring and they got some momentum, and we didn't do a good enough job at handling that momentum change, and we kind of let the emotion get the best of us, and they ended up capitalizing on some other opportunities, and then we just didn't do enough in that third period to battle back and make it a game.

Q. Villiam, coming from Sweden, I don't know what your expectations were about NCAA hockey. After four years did that live up to your expectations?
VILLIAM HAAG: Yeah, for sure. It's a great place to be at. You have the opportunity to get an education and play hockey against the best guys in the world. I'm very lucky to be a guy that got that opportunity. I was thinking that it would be a good league, and that's what it's turned out to be, too. Amazing experience these four years, and if you referred to Swedish players, I would recommend them coming over.

Q. What was the mindset after going down 2-0, to come back like you did and take the lead?
VILLIAM HAAG: Well, unfortunately it's tough. You go down two goals, it's an important game. It's everything or nothing. It's huge, and it's important to not panic and to stick to our game. We managed to get a goal and then continue rolling on that. I think it was a good lesson for us, but of course we're very disappointed how everything ended, but that was something positive that we manage to fight back and show what kind of good team we are and what we can do.

Q. Looking at this season just at the bigger picture, 7-23-4, where does this season stack up? It seems like a disappointment. Are you disappointed with the way the season turned out and you finished today?
TOM ANASTOS: Very disappointed with the season, yep. Disappointing end to it for sure, but it was a disappointing season.

I knew coming into the season that we were introducing a lot of new to the team, that a lot of freshmen would play key roles, playing a lot of freshmen on defense. I knew we had a huge question mark in goal, so those are things that we had to get better, had to overcome during the course of the season. Didn't get good enough results. Certainly our league is very tough. It's tough to win in our league. A lot of good teams in our league. We had a very tough schedule.

But in the end, no, I'm disappointed with the season and I'm disappointed with how it ended today.

Q. What did you see with your freshman class as a whole, a lot of guys never played college hockey before, a lot of guys stepped up. What did you think of that class?
TOM ANASTOS: I liked it a lot. Very good group. I like the skill. I liked the hockey intellect, loved the work habits. Real good personality on the team. Good chemistry on our team altogether. Introducing 10 new guys to the mix, I thought our upperclassmen did a terrific job of embracing guys right from the beginning. So all of those things, in spite of the challenges of the season, you'd think as challenging as the season was from a won-lost perspective, you'd say, geez, it's been a long season. I haven't seen it that way. I'm looking coming into the game tonight and geez, where did the season go, even though it's been very challenging and there's been a lot of sleepless nights. But because of the kind of kids we have, it's a very, very good group to work with, and I think that class over time will really prove out to show the level of play that they'll be capable of.

Q. After the sixth goal you called a time out, made a goaltender change. What did you tell your team on the bench during that time out?
TOM ANASTOS: Well, I wanted to settle things down. It's interesting because I looked earlier in the game and I almost did that, as well, went in the opposite way. I thought we gave up a bad angle goal and then a power play goal coming off of it, so now they got all the momentum. In this case, they score a power play goal and then a bad angle goal right away, and so I considered it at that point and I had given a couple lines the opportunity to see if we could stop their momentum, and we didn't, so I thought that would be an opportunity to try to stop it, make their goalie switch after they scored.

I told them just to focus on the remaining amount of time, go compete hard. Let's try to work towards getting a goal, seeing if we can create some momentum. We've got to stop their momentum and work towards a goal, and I referred to the beginning of the game where we gave up two goals and we climbed back.

We've got a lot of heart in the room. We've got guys that will dig deep and work right to the end in spite of whatever challenges or disappointments there are.

I thought it was tough to fight through it given that juncture of the game and how those dynamics played out, but guys competed hard until the end of the game.

Q. As a player, you were on a Sparties team that ended up in a Frozen Four. Has this been a frustrating experience for you as a coach? Could you characterize your coaching time here?
TOM ANASTOS: Well, there's been a lot of frustrations. There has been a lot of frustrations, for a variety of different reasons. As you kind of try to reflect, and my head is not super clear to reflect on it now, but yeah, I expect to win. There's a lot of dynamics that go into that, so I'm sure no one ever takes winning for granted because winning is not an easy thing to do. It's a tough thing to do.

But yeah, I'm disappointed.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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