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April 11, 2019
Buffalo, New York
Massachusetts-4, Denver-3, OT
GREG CARVEL: It's our guys not trying to be head-hunters in any way. It's our guys playing hard. Outside of them killing that penalty and scoring, I thought the game was outstanding. It was one of those games where the referees dictated a lot of the momentum.
This team, all year long they've impressed everybody. Tonight was just the next chapter of how resilient they are. I thought overtime, we were down, we lost two players, two forwards, playing three lines. We went deep into that overtime period. We played three lines for almost two periods, and the kids dug deep, once again, proved the resiliency, proved the culture that we have on our team is our strength and carries us, and it did again tonight.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the players.
Q. Marc, what are your emotions like right now?
MARC DEL GAIZO: I mean, probably the coolest moment of my life. Right now seems like I'm dreaming. But, I mean, we're off to the national championship, so that's all that matters.
Q. Cale, who stepped up in the locker room between the third period and overtime to help get you guys refocused?
CALE MAKAR: I think it's been a transition from, like, a few guys all year to now everybody. I'd say a guy that definitely stepped up today was Mario. He's just an energy guy. He gets the boys going. I don't know if you guys seen the video that UMass posted on Twitter, he's pretty energetic.
No, we have a lot of guys on this team that can bring the energy. We just have to keep it high.
Q. Do you feel proud of what it says about your character to have absorbed the emotional hit of losing the lead in the third period, coming back in overtime?
MARC DEL GAIZO: Yeah, I mean, we're a young team, but we learned. Just like we learned in Boston, we've been learning all year. I don't think there was any panic really on the bench. We regrouped and got back together for the overtime.
CALE MAKAR: Exactly what he said. Nobody's panicking. Everybody in the room was calm. We knew when we got the opportunity on the ice, we'd put one in. Fortunately this guy did for us.
Q. Marc, I don't know if you play golf, but seems like you got everything on that shot. Put into words the mechanics and contact, sound.
MARC DEL GAIZO: I'm not a guy known for a one-timer. Chauzy put it on a tee for me. Teed off on it, perfect pass, right in my wheelhouse, perfect speed. Just got ahold of it and it went in.
THE MODERATOR: How is the golf?
MARC DEL GAIZO: Country club kid (smiling).
Q. Cale, can you appreciate how big a moment this is for a program that's had so little success?
CALE MAKAR: No, it's a very big moment for our program. I think the thing we're going to be stressing tomorrow is we're not done yet. It's going to be a thing on our team of not getting complacent. When teams get complacent, they start to die.
We're going to come back on Saturday, hopefully it will be a good one. It's definitely special for this school and program.
Q. Cale, a lot of people know about your game, but what is it about Marc's game that makes your pairing so effective?
CALE MAKAR: We're very similar players, I think. We kind of go hand-in-hand in the way that we're moving. When he's up in the rush, I'm back, or vice versa. I think we read each other really well. We're able to communicate well on the defensive and offensive zone.
Q. Marc, it seemed like on your previous shift, you were standing wide open at the blueline calling for the puck for a good minute and a half. Did you have any communication with the forwards of leaving you open?
MARC DEL GAIZO: I mean, no, not really. I think that play was a high-risk play. It's kind of good he passed me that because if he picked it off, would have gone the other way. That's something we work on in practice a lot, the D getting involved. It was perfect.
Q. Marc, talk about what it's like to score a game-winning goal in overtime.
MARC DEL GAIZO: Like I said earlier, it's the coolest feeling ever. Something you dream as a kid. Then going to the national championship, to be able to score is pretty nice. I mean, at the end of the day we got to be ready for Saturday. We got a good team coming for us.
Q. Marc, coach called a timeout a minute or two before your goal. Your team seemed tired. Do you think that timeout reenergized you guys?
MARC DEL GAIZO: Yeah, we had some guys caught on the ice. It was a smart move calling a timeout there. Look, the whole way in overtime, we were plugging along. As far as regrouping, I don't think it was that much of a regroup. I think it was just guys tired. It was effective, so it was a good move.
Q. Cale, previous to the overtime the special teams were critical. Can you talk about that.
CALE MAKAR: I think everyone knows special teams can win you games. We were able to capitalize on a few opportunities the first period. We just kind of went from there. They started to outplay us a little bit five-on-five. We wanted to focus on that going into the third period. I think we weathered the storm fairly well.
Q. When you get to the point in the fourth period when people get tired, is there more of a thought to get as many pucks as you can on the net because everybody's tired?
CALE MAKAR: Yeah, everybody is on edge when you go into OT. One bad bounce, it could be turning out badly for your team or good for your team. Fortunately for us, he put one in.
No, it's something we try to focus on especially all throughout the game is getting pucks on net and getting traffic.
Q. Did you feel like you fed off of Lindberg's energy in the overtime period?
CALE MAKAR: Yeah, he's been a backbone for us on the team. Obviously when we see him make big saves like that, it's a big confidence booster for us on the bench. It gets us pretty fired up.
It's awesome to have that guy back there.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, we'll let you go. We'll continue with questions for Coach Carvel.
Q. You've been asked questions this tournament about Lindberg, the whole goalie situation. How big was his performance tonight especially in the overtime period?
GREG CARVEL: You need the goaltender. You need him to make saves. I'll be honest, I thought the two goals in the third period weren't great goals. He's got to make those saves.
I tell either kid in the net, You can't give up more than two goals. I don't care if you get 10 breakaway, 10 power plays, you can't give up more than two goals. That's their standard.
He made some big saves. He always does. I'm not going to say he won the game. He did his job. We had a lot of guys do their job. We're not going to leave up three goals on Saturday night and win. He's going to get back to two.
Q. The job is not done yet, but can you appreciate how far this program has gone from the first year?
GREG CARVEL: I read about it and hear about it, but it hasn't sunk in yet. That five-win season is still pretty fresh, the pain from that season sunk in. The glory of this season hasn't sunk in yet.
All I know, I said this to the team, people think I'm pretty composed on the bench, but inside probably a different story. For some reason in overtime, I just felt fine. That's coming off a third period where obviously we were outplayed and they had the momentum.
I went into the locker room as soon as we came off the ice, the body language, hanging, mopey-ness. I said, Fellas, done, change. One goal, next goal wins.
I'll give them credit. That's as resilient as you can be. Give up a two-goal lead late in the game. I think both goals were in the last five minutes of the game. So for them to come out, I thought Denver second and third was the better team, we were better in the first, then we were better in the overtime. That's a hell of a sign.
This team, again, they've done things all year long that have impressed people, impressed me. I guess at some point I think tonight in overtime I just felt they were going to find a way, and they did.
Marc is a hell of a player. He plays with Cale. Marc is a heck of a hockey player. I was on him because every time he got the puck in the blueline tonight, he wanted to do a dipsy duo spin-around. The other team is skating up the ice with it. I told him, Shoot the puck. He had no choice for that one. He hammered that one.
Q. You're down two right wings halfway through regulation. How hard did you have to work? Did you earn your money tonight?
GREG CARVEL: I didn't. Players did. That's two very difficult guys for us to lose. Those are our two biggest players. Mitch Chaffee, he's a heck of a hockey player. To lose him... We lose Niko five minutes into the game. Luckily you can dress an extra forward. Then you lose Mitchell, we become a smaller team.
Maybe that was better because the refs were throwing everybody in the box who made a body check tonight. But it was not comfortable losing those two guys. The only upside now is those two guys will be buzzing on Saturday night. Believe me, that was the hardest two hours of their life sitting in the locker room watching their teammates play.
Q. It looked like the team had some rough moments in your own end, especially in the third. Did you think there were nerves involved or fatigue, or credit to Denver?
GREG CARVEL: No, that's credit Denver. We saw that in their game against AIC. They're a very skilled team. When you have defensemen with good skill and mobility, we practiced for eight days to deal with that. It's hard to deal with. Once they got possession, if you give them a little space, they start moving, then it's hard to recover.
To me that was fully credit to Denver. Our guys tried to do as well as they could to stay tight to their checks. Again, that's Denver. That's good skill, good coaching, good game plan.
Q. You have a very mobile defense corps on your team. How does that impact the overall game plan?
GREG CARVEL: We went into the season knowing that our back end was going to be pretty strong. The strength of our team. Again, everybody talks about Cale, sometimes they talk about Mario, but Jake McLaughlin, Mark Del Gaizo, Colin Felix, they're all really good defensemen. I love my back end because they can defend well. They're always part of our offense. They move the puck. They compete.
That's all the good teams now, you have to be like that. Denver is like that. Their back end is the same. I'm comfortable with any of those guys in there in any situation. I don't think a lot of coaches can say that. Man up, man down, five-on-five, any of those six kids on the ice against anybody. That's quite an asset to have as a coach.
Q. When you get to practice tomorrow, what is going to be the number one thing you're hoping to fix about tonight?
GREG CARVEL: What do we need to fix? We won.
Q. What do you hope to improve on?
GREG CARVEL: All I'm concerned about right now is recovery. These guys will reset, we'll be ready for Saturday night. We'll come out, flow through. I'm sure some guys are banged up. I don't know Duluth well. We're going to have to spend some time watching them. We were completely focused on Denver.
But tomorrow's skate will just to be get them out of the hotel, get their legs going. Again, not necessarily anything I think we have to fix. There wasn't anything about tonight that I think we did poorly. The goals they scored, those go in cycles again. That's just good players making plays, and us trying our hardest to defend. Just weren't able to.
Really I just felt because of all the penalties tonight, the momentum of the game went kind of wonky. We lost it, got on our heels for a good stretch. Again, what I come away with is how resilient the group is. The overtime was excellent.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you. End.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports