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March 18, 2017

Jack Berry

Tony Granato

Luke Kunin

Detroit, Michigan

Penn State - 2, Wisconsin - 1 (2OT)

TONY GRANATO: Well, I think it was kind of what the Big Ten hockey games have been like all year for us. They've been exciting. They've been end-to-end action. They've been great goaltending and great saves at both ends, and I thought it was one heck of a hockey game.

Obviously we're disappointed to be on the losing end of it, but like I just said to the players, our guys played their hearts out, had lots of chances. We made good shots, too, they just didn't find a way in.

Jack made his fair share of huge saves for us, especially in the second period when they had that 1-0 lead to give us a chance to get back and tie it. And some games you battle and play that crazy and get great chances and they don't go in. Obviously they made a heck of a play for the overtime goal.

Big Ten hockey is what you saw tonight, what you saw last night. We've got a lot of great teams, a lot of great skill, and unfortunately we came up a little bit short tonight.

Q. Luke, the chances you guys did get in the third period and the first overtime, and even in the second overtime, can you explain how some of them -- there didn't seem to be a lot of explanation how they didn't go in other than Jones was playing really well. What did you see on those? Were there any common --
LUKE KUNIN: Yeah, I don't know. We made the plays, and got the chances, they just weren't going in for us. I thought we did a lot of things right, just capitalizing on those were really the only thing that wasn't going for us tonight.

It's a shame. The heart and character that we have in that locker room, so tough to go out like this.

Q. Luke, when you get a power play in overtime, that first overtime and you see Trent Frederic hitting the crossbar, what does that do for your confidence in terms of maybe the pucks just won't go in tonight?
LUKE KUNIN: Yeah, we didn't really look at it like that. We knew it was going to come. We had a lot of great chances, obviously that crossbar one. We just had the attitude, just keep sticking with it and one is going to go for us, and unfortunately it didn't happen. But I love the way our guys battled all year and tonight.

Q. Jack, two questions. One is at what point of the game did you realize you were in the goalie dual for the ages? And then secondly, did you feel any empathy, any connection with your counterpart on the other end of the ice?
JACK BERRY: Basically going into the first overtime there. He made a couple of really good saves there. I think in the second overtime, two back-door saves. Yeah, I knew him. I know of him. Back in New Jersey, we had the same goalie coach. There's a little connection there. But props to him. He played one heck of a game there.

Q. Can you speak to the empty feeling knowing you were that close?
LUKE KUNIN: Yeah, definitely. We're all winners in that locker room, and losing doesn't sit well with us. And I think obviously not -- this being the last game and not moving on, I mean, it's quiet in that locker room right now, and it's tough because of how hard we worked for each other and how badly we want it for one another.

Yeah, I mean, it's not sitting well right now.

JACK BERRY: Yeah, obviously it's a little raw there. You want to win just as bad as the guy next to you. And we're all brothers in there, and we would do anything for each other. But yeah, it's kind of an empty feeling right now.

Q. Luke, can you talk about what this season has been to bring this program back from where it was last year and the year before to even be at this position, 20 wins, and having the discussion about even being in the race for a spot in the NCAA Tournament?
LUKE KUNIN: Yeah, it's been a great jump. Obviously we kind of put Wisconsin hockey back on the map where it should be, and we even feel like it should be higher than what we are now. I think it was a great turn in the right direction for our program, and we're looking to keep building off this and keep climbing the mountain.

Q. The overtime goal, did they just get a guy behind your defense --
TONY GRANATO: They did. They've done that all year against us. We covered it pretty well most of the game tonight, but they got a bounce and a play that went to the front of the net, and they were able to get someone behind us. They made a great play.

We made a lot of plays going that way, too, that gave us opportunities, Freytag had two great one-timers there, we talked about Freddie's chance, we talked about some of the big saves that he made. And obviously they're a high-powered offensive team, and they made a play in the second overtime that won them a tournament.

Q. Penn State was coming off a double overtime from last night and they started to look pretty exhausted as overtime got nearer and even during the overtime. Did you feel like it was going to take a lucky break for either team to win this game?
TONY GRANATO: Well, I don't know if you go into this thinking one team has to be lucky. I think both teams, like Luke said and Berry said, we battled really -- they did, too. Of course they did. They're trying to win a championship, too.

A lot of times when you play games like they did last night, that energy from that win helps them have energy for tonight, too. I thought there were parts of the game where it looked like we were getting to them and wearing them down where we had some long, long shifts in the offensive zone and just couldn't get some shots through in the second overtime there, especially when we had all those chances and hit that crossbar. I thought we had more opportunities to get a few other chances that we just didn't get to the net.

But I mean, both teams left it on the ice. They won a championship. They deserve it. They played extremely hard. They had a goaltender that is as good a goaltender as I've seen all year. Obviously he was big for them in the game tonight, was a big factor, and probably the difference maker.

Q. You've seen and been involved in a lot of great goaltending duals in your career. You've got two true freshmen playing as well as they did. Can you kind of put that into perspective, this goaltending dual?
TONY GRANATO: Well, I think the other thing, when you get into Playoffs or competition of tournaments or whatever, goaltenders seem to rise and step forward for their teams that win, and that was the case with our guy. I think Jack did that all year for us, gave us the second seed, especially when Matt got hurt there.

And then their guy, he shut us out two weeks ago in the season, and I thought we had 15 glorious chances in that game and we didn't get any of them. We knew he was a good goaltender, but I thought our team played well enough tonight to get enough chances -- 52 shots. I mean, come on, 52 shots in the game. I don't care if it took three or four or five periods. It doesn't matter. We had quality chances, and when you get that many chances with that many scorers, usually you get three or four or five, sometimes you get seven or eight.

Tonight we only found a way to get one because he was great. Give him credit, and I guess you can look at it as, like Luke said, we're proud, we hoped to advance. We finished second in the Big Ten's regular season, finished second in the Playoffs, just a little bit short. We think we can compete with Minnesotas and Penn States and Ohio States and the other teams that are at the top of the conference. We're just a little bit short. Hopefully we're back in the same position next year and we learn from it and we're in the big picture.

Q. Falling short, does that take anything away from what those guys did because the goal wasn't met? But as close as they came, do you still feel pretty good about the way they played?
TONY GRANATO: Yeah, that one is a hard one to answer from the standpoint that I think our guys played well enough all year long to earn a tournament bid. Sometimes that 16 number, 17s and 18s and 19s and 14s and 15s and 13s, there's not a whole lot of difference between those teams. There's probably not a lot of difference between 17, 18, 19 and 8, 9 and 10, but that's the way the formula works, so you've got to understand that.

We knew we had an opportunity this week coming in here to win two games to be able to advance. We did a great job yesterday against a team that's in there in Ohio State. We did a pretty darned good job against another team that's going to be in there. Both those two teams could win national titles. So could Minnesota. That's three teams in our conference, and we finished second in both Playoffs and the regular season. So we played some great hockey. We just came up a little bit short.

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