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April 13, 2019

Greg Carvel

Cale Makar

Kurt Keats

Buffalo, New York

Minnesota Duluth-3, Massachusetts-0

GREG CARVEL: Excellent hockey team. Not surprising they've been in the championship game for three years in a row. Extremely well-coached team. Seemed like tonight they were a more mature team. For whatever reason our compete level wasn't at the level it usually is. I don't know how much of that was Duluth, how much of it was us playing late on Thursday night, not being able to recover as well as we hoped to.

We just didn't really get stretches of momentum. I thought actually our fourth line was our best line tonight, created the most offense for us. They're a very good team. I think we looked like a young team tonight.

It's a learning lesson. I think our team will take a step forward, having played that team. Very proud of my team, our team, and extremely proud of Cale. He came back this year. He didn't have to do that. I think he's a kid that he sees the group ahead of himself, he wanted to help take the program to another level, and he did that along the way. He did it with complete class every step of the way.

He's an outstanding young man. I think he's a better person than he is a hockey player. Very appreciative of what he gave to UMass hockey.

Hoping he comes back next year, but we'll see if that happens or not (smiling).

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Cale and Kurt.

Q. As difficult was this moment might feel for you right now, can you at least appreciate what this team has accomplished going through what you have gone through, to be here?
CALE MAKAR: Yeah, it's tough right now. I'm pretty sour. But you look back at the two years that I've been at this school, especially this year. The amount of respect that we've created for this emblem of Massachusetts and UMass, it's just amazing.

The group of guys we have in that room are just a testament to the character guys we're going to be bringing in in the future, as well.

Q. Kurt, obviously not the storybook ending for you tonight. Reflecting on this season as a whole for you, what do you take out of this season?
KURT KEATS: Just unbelievable. The group of guys in that locker room, by far the closest team I've ever been a part of. My last four years have been an absolute whirlwind.

This group totally bought into everything the coaching staff said. I couldn't be more proud to be a Minuteman tonight.

Q. Cale, you played some great defensive teams. What was Duluth able to do better to shut you guys down?
CALE MAKAR: Honestly, tonight they just out-competed us. I give them a lot of credit. They just closed down on our wingers very well. We just didn't have an attack for that. We didn't really adjust as D. Unfortunately that's what lost us the game.

Q. Cale, coach maybe joked a little bit. How long are you going to allow yourself to let this sink in before you do have to make a decision about your future?
CALE MAKAR: Honestly, just depends. Probably go out and talk to a my parents for a little bit. Everything is just kind of up in the air right now.

Q. Cale, after the game you obviously shed your equipment, but you put your UMass jersey back on. Any significance with that?
CALE MAKAR: I mean, I just want to keep it on as long as I can. It's a jersey that I'm very proud to wear. Our team has brought so much respect, like I said, to this program. Honestly, it's going to be a couple years that I never forget in my entire life.

Q. Kurt, did you feel like you had an even extra pep in your step tonight, being your last college hockey game?
KURT KEATS: Yeah, you know, it's something you try not to think of. Obviously it's in the back of my head. We talked as a line before the game, as we usually do. We just said, Let's give it 110%. Let's be the hardest-working line tonight.

I'm really proud of Anthony and George. I thought we worked our asses off. Too bad we couldn't pop one or two.

Q. Does this feel like you have set a new standard for what UMass is shooting for, trying to achieve going forward?
CALE MAKAR: 100%. The culture that we've instilled in all these guys, the coaches that have put it on us, everybody has just bought in. That's one of the main reasons we've been such a success this year, why this team will be such a success in the years to come.

It's just a culture that everybody's bought into.

KURT KEATS: Yeah, when Coach Carvel came in, talked as a group, I mean, beginning of every year, last year and this year, we talked. We said, Wouldn't it be so special if 10 years from now UMass hockey was a national powerhouse year in, year out, contending for a national championship, and we were the group that turned it around?

We definitely brought respect to UMass hockey this year. I think the group's in great hands moving forward.

Q. You talked about how well Minnesota Duluth shut your team down. What adjustments did you try to make during the game?
CALE MAKAR: I think we switched up our wingers, whether it was halfway through or not, just in terms of the wall side. We were trying to get pucks, getting them to the middle. They were pinching pretty hard on the half wall. We just started trying to compete harder, yeah.

KURT KEATS: We made a couple adjustments. I think just our battle level needed to come up a little bit. We started getting guys going I thought times in the second, times in the third. But they're a great team. They're a different animal, one we haven't really seen all year. I give them lots of credit.

Q. Cale, can you talk a little bit about your pride in wearing that jersey, what being a part of this program and on campus has done for you?
CALE MAKAR: I'm so very honored and humbled to put this jersey on every single game. Our practice jerseys, as well. I'm so fortunate that I chose this school, under such great staff, not just the coaches but support staff, training and everything as well.

It's just a sense of pride now. As I touched on, we brought so much respect to this crest. This program is no longer an embarrassment. Everybody can look at us as a program that's going to be successful for years.

Q. Cale, the power play has been such a strength for you guys all season. What did Duluth do to not let you get that momentum?
CALE MAKAR: They pressured us really hard. We bobbled the puck a little bit. But ultimately we just couldn't make plays and get the puck off the half wall to kind of recover in the middle of the ice and get it up high.

THE MODERATOR: Guys, thank you very much. Remarkable season.

We'll finish with your questions for Coach Carvel.

Q. Was this the best defense corps you've faced this season?
GREG CARVEL: As a team or their six guys?

Q. Their six guys.
GREG CARVEL: Yeah, I guess. I mean, I don't know that team very well, but I know some names on that team. I think their six are very, very good. I was very impressed with their back end. They've got some big guys that are physical. Their puck poise, puck management was extremely, extremely good.

Yeah, that's as good of a back end as we've seen this year.

Q. Talk about Kurt, the only guy that stayed from the previous staff. You mentioned how good the fourth line was tonight. Talk about his progression over the three years.
GREG CARVEL: When we came in, the new staff, the need for a new culture was glaring. I mean, what we inherited, it was in a rough shape. We basically needed good kids. Kurt is a good kid. He's a great kid. That's why he made it through. He's a limited hockey player. He'd say it. I'll say it. But he plays with his heart. Tonight he was a very good player. In the national championship game, he was one of our best players.

He's thanked me for keeping him around. I thanked him for what he's brought to the team. He's a tremendous kid. Very proud of him. I'm proud that he got to see the transition, he got to feel the transition, feel like he was a big part of it.

Q. If this is the end for Cale at UMass, what do you take out of what he's helped do for this program, to get this team here, the Hobey Baker award, all the other accolades?
GREG CARVEL: When you get a kid like Cale, you feel a lot of responsibility as a coach to develop him and make sure -- he could have gone anywhere, could have done anything. But he chose to stay loyal to his commitment to UMass. I took it and our staff took it as a huge responsibility.

The thing that I love about Cale is that he never makes you feel like he's doing us a favor by playing for UMass. He's very grateful for what we did for him. It's genuine. You just got a sense of it there.

He didn't look at UMass as a steppingstone that he was going to fly by. He looked at UMass as a very important part of his life. I gave him so much credit because he did everything absolutely right, every last part of it. That's why I'm so happy that he won the Hobey Baker award because he's absolutely what you want in a Hobey Baker winner.

He's an elite hockey player. But when we think about Cale, personally when I think about Cale, first thing that comes to my mind is how good of a kid he is. He's unbelievable. I feel very fortunate that I got to coach him. I don't expect him back. Just very grateful, very grateful.

Q. Talk about the game along the boards. Seemed like they really won a lot of those 50/50 pucks, that kept your offense from getting going, really helped theirs.
GREG CARVEL: Yeah, they're a big, strong hockey team. We knew that. I'm not sure why we were not our normal selves tonight. Again, probably because of Duluth. But we have some kids on our team that usually play big, heavy, compete, create offense through that. Just wasn't there tonight.

Again, honestly, our fourth line was our best line. It's hard to say that. I'm proud of the fourth line, that they came and showed up ready to play. But other guys tonight just couldn't bring it.

You know what, this is a big stage. Again, we looked like a young team. We looked like a team that was playing a team that's been here before, done this. We'll use this as a big step in our growth as a program.

Q. Did you feel like your team was maybe a little bit nervous in those first five minutes?
GREG CARVEL: I don't know if 'nervous' is the right word. We were out of sorts. Again, hasn't happened to us many times this year. To me, it was similar to the game against Boston College at the TD Garden. It's unfortunate. It's unfortunate. I don't think that was our best tonight. I don't mind losing to a good hockey team. Even at our best, I don't know if we beat Duluth.

We'll go home knowing that we lost to a better team tonight, for sure.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you very much.

GREG CARVEL: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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