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April 9, 2009
THE MODERATOR: We welcome BU to the podium. To my left is head coach Jack Parker, Matt Gilroy, Chris Higgins and Colin Wilson.
Opening thoughts, Coach Parker.
COACH PARKER: I thought it was a fabulous college hockey game. I just listened to Kevin's remarks and I agree wholeheartedly it was a great game for college hockey. The emotional swings, the tide turning one way or the other. There was an awful lot of positive things going on out there.
And the game is a game of mistakes, and you're trying to limit your mistakes all the time, but sometimes big players make big plays. There's not much you can do about it.
And I thought that the third period was really a great period for us, because we go into the period tied 3-3. We had been tied with them before 3-3. In the last two games we played them going into the third period lost 4-3. And, sure enough, they scored to make it 4-3 again.
And I think that's where our team came out big. Not just how they scored the goals, but how they played. They played as a team. There wasn't an individual trying to make the big play, it was a team getting it down to business as usual, let's just keep going here.
And I thought that the second half of that game was a real credit to us by possessing the puck and moving the puck and against a team that is very, very talented and very, very unbelievably well coached and has closed out a lot of games like that this year. So to not let them close us out was a big plus for us.
I'm looking at the score sheet here, we did a great job defending Grade A in the third period and we got all the chances down low in the third period. That was nice.
A real solid effort on my club's part. A real character-building game because it was such a test, you know, we're supposed to be the team that's supposed to win this.
We knew it was going to be a Hockey East team in the final, and I'm happy and I'm fortunate and I'm really gratified that we have the team that's in the final.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.
Q. Matt, on the offsides with a minute to go, you went back and talked to Kieran. What did you say to him to settle him down?
MATT GILROY: I said to have fun with it, he's been our backstop all year. And the second period he got a little shaky, but he's been an unbelievable competitor for us. Smiled and told me get out of here, don't worry about it.
And that's just who he is, and it's good to see him get the win here.
Q. Chris and Colin, can you take us through the game-winning goal, what you saw, just what happened on that play?
CHRIS HIGGINS: There was a face-off in the left circle there, and Willy, he's great on face-offs and made a great play by winning it back on my stick, and I just kind of rolled up a little bit and threw it on net, and Willy went hard to the net and just banged it home.
COLIN WILSON: Pretty much kind of what I saw. I kind of went back, and I didn't see where Chris went with it, but I knew he'd be shooting. So I just got to the net and, sure enough, the rebound went off my tape and just put it in. It was a good feeling.
Q. What was your first thought?
COLIN WILSON: I didn't have a thought. I think it was natural reaction to whack at it. I think after it kind of seeped in that I just scored a big goal. So that was really exciting.
Q. Colin, you and Matt are the Hobey Baker guys and also you and Nick are really the guys who have gotten a lot of the press as being the top scorers on the team. But can you talk about the things that Chris has done in terms of a team like you, setting up great goals, scoring opportunities, every other thing tonight? Can you offer what he offers to the team, please?
COLIN WILSON: On our line, it wouldn't be the same line without him. I think what he brings to the table is what creates our line. He's a great play-maker, as you saw today. When he's really on, he's making those great plays to Jason Lawrence backdoor and getting it to the net.
I think he really looks out for that puck and he can dangle in there, too, and a great player.
Q. Do you agree with that?
MATT GILROY: Yeah, I agree with that.
Q. Can you guys talk about the tying goal? Chris, were you trying to throw to Jason or what was going on there?
CHRIS HIGGINS: Brian Strait made a great play to turn the puck over and he got it to Jay, and me -- Jay made a great play to dish it off to me and then he went hard to the net. I tried to slide it over to him. Maybe I should have thought shot first instead of pass.
But I was fortunate enough that when I went to slide it over to him, it just went off one of the Vermont guy's hand and went into the net. Lucky bounce, but great play by Jay and Strait.
Q. Colin, your thoughts?
COLIN WILSON: I saw Strait head up there, and I don't know what I was doing. I think I went to the drop pass. I was in the neutral zone. But great play by Higgins. I saw he was going for Jay backdoor because, I mean, he generally scores from there. And great play and just ended up going off their guy. So good bounce.
Q. Colin, so much of your success this year has been as a set-up man on this team and the attention that you've commanded out there. What was there about this game, in particular today, that really allowed you to come through as a big goal scorer?
COLIN WILSON: I think I saw my feet moving out there, at the same time I was just going to the net. Both my goals was just really getting to the net, because that's where goals are scored, on the first one. I just posted up right at the net and just made a tip.
And on the second one I knew Chris is shooting and I just had to get at the net. And I had a couple other chances in the game to drive the net, and that's generally where I scored most of my goals.
Q. Matt, you've done a lot for the team this season and you're starting to get the recognition now, tomorrow night's the Hobey Baker. What does this mean for you in your senior year, getting to experience this with the team and take them to the championship game?
MATT GILROY: I think it's an unbelievable feeling for me and as well as the fellow seniors to end our career. We get to play in the national championship game. And our freshman year (indiscernible) to go to the Final Four and we never forgot that.
And last year we knocked out by the Vermont. That was around in the locker room, there's no way they're knocking us out of this.
And just being around our team and the respect we have for each other. We're not best friends, but when we all put on the jersey, it's a special feeling in that locker room and it's been fun to be a part of.
Q. It's been since 1995 that BU hasn't had a title. Is that something that's significant to you, sort of the return to the tradition of excellence with the four titles that BU has won in the past?
MATT GILROY: I mean, we walked down our hallways with pictures of national championship teams. We look at it every day, and then you come out and you look at the banners and the traditions there. And we'd love to add to it. That's been one of our goals this season, and we're one win away.
CHRIS HIGGINS: Absolutely. That's one of the reasons I came to BU. Such a winning tradition. And growing up all I wanted to do was win a national championship, and I knew that Boston University was one of the places that would give me the best chance of doing that.
COLIN WILSON: I think BU is a place that takes strong pride in their alumni, and I think -- at the same time, I think we want to win it for the team. I think to be able to have a chance to bring it back to BU gives a lot of pride to the school as well as anybody who has ever played here.
Q. Matt, the team has -- all season long the team has won every tournament they've played for. You guys have certainly earned a lot of individual accolades this season. If you guys don't win Saturday night, is the season a disappointment?
MATT GILROY: I don't know. The individual stuff came because we played like a team all year, I think me and Willy have been on the side of getting those awards, and Kieran.
But if we weren't on this team, none of that would have happened. It's been such a great part, being a part of this team. And we'll see what happens. I don't want to say anything about that, but we'll talk on Saturday night.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach Parker.
Q. Jack, you've talked a lot in the post-season about how calm Kieran has looked. Did you feel he might have looked a little bit nervous or shaky at all tonight?
COACH PARKER: I didn't think he looked nervous at all. He made a couple of fabulous saves. More than a couple. But I thought he could have had a couple that went in that usually don't go by him.
So it was a little bit out of character. It certainly was out of character that they gave up four goals. But I don't think -- I don't remember thinking to myself on the bench he looks jumpy or he looks like he's rattled or he hasn't got much poise. The puck just went by him a couple times, which doesn't always happen.
But I wasn't too concerned about -- and when Matt said, I didn't know that conversation took place. He's not a kid that gets rattled. When the senior captain goes down to the freshman goalie and he's about to tell him, don't worry, I'm not worried, just go out and play. That's the way he's been all year.
Q. You've had a lot of great players come through like Colin Wilson, but is there anything in particular that sets him apart, or this particular game-winning goal puts him in that category of BU greats?
COACH PARKER: If you're an All-American, you're a great player, no matter what school you play for. He's an All-American for his team. Was Rookie of the Year in the league. He's had a great two years here.
We have had a theme all year of having BU hockey players talk to our team. And last night we had dinner in which I invited up a guy I played against who was the captain of the Harvard hockey team and a guy I played against in high school when I was at Catholic Memorial and he was at (indiscernible), and we're real good friends. We played with each other on amateur teams as well.
And his father is one of the greatest players in the history of BU hockey, if not the greatest player. He's 83 years old. We invited them up from Florida to come to our banquet, I mean to our team meal last night. When he walked in, our team got up and gave him a standing ovation. It was really something to see Jack Garrity's reaction to that. Jack Garrity, Jr. and I are great friends. And Jack Garrity, Sr. is one of my favorite people in the world.
They brought up some statistics, because I had -- it's a long answer. I'm sorry. Jack used to come to the Christmas skate all the time. 75, 80 years old he's at the Christmas skate every Christmas. And he was out there one day. And I brought Chris Drury over, and I said I want to introduce you to somebody. I said, This is Jack Garrity. You got 37 goals last year. You might get 45 this year. But I don't think you'll get 51 like this guy did one year. Jack looked at him and said, Yeah, that's because he won't have a chance to get eight against MIT like I did.
Jack, Jr. had the statistics of the best two years anybody's ever had in BU hockey. And Jack Garrity is number one. And Colin Wilson was on that list. But he was in the middle of the pack.
Guys like Rick Maher (phonetic) were on that list. And Mike Eruzione was on that list. And Tony Amonte was second on that list. I think Colin Wilson's best hockey is still ahead of him. And, unfortunately, it probably won't be here. But he's had a great two years here. He's certainly capping it off with a great run in the playoffs.
But having him get as many points as he did this year and be the leader -- at times he's been like a man playing with boys. And he showed that a lot tonight. I thought this was one of his best games of the year.
Q. Chris Higgins got kind of under the radar. A lot of people don't know he's got more points than any current active Hockey East player. Tonight, biggest game of his career and he has the biggest game of his career. Talk about him and maybe why he goes unnoticed a little bit.
COACH PARKER: Well, I think he doesn't go unnoticed for the fact that he's very, very flashy and very, very clever and he makes some highlight goals once in a while. And he certainly doesn't go unnoticed because the amount of points he puts up. But there's been times during the course of his career where injuries have kept him out of having a fabulous year.
He's just coming back from a nagging injury. He broke a bone in his hand here, up against Merrimack right before the Beanpot. And it's the top hand. And the nub of the stick sticks right there. He's had a hard time handling and shooting the puck. He was having a great year in his senior year until that happened. And he went for about a month, month and a half of not playing up to his capabilities just because his stick was not useful to him anymore. And that's his game.
And I think he's just coming back to feeling real comfortable. He feels much better with a stick in his hand, one hand on a stick, which is where you're playing most of the game.
And I think that has given him a chance to start to excel again. I think anybody's that watched us year in, year out his four years here would remember him as being a terrific player. But you're right, he doesn't get much accolades because there's always been somebody else. McCarthy gets a few more points. Wilson gets a few more points. But, overall, he's been a key guy for us and he's been a terrific guy for us as far as the way he plays.
Q. You've still got one to go. Coach Sneddon was just in here and called you the team to beat. Obviously you're going to be the big favorite against Miami. Can you tell me what you know about Miami and how do you handle that role as the favorite?
COACH PARKER: It's pretty warm down there. I thought Miami had the best team in the nation last year. I thought they had an unbelievable college hockey team last year. And they get beat by Boston College in a game that I thought they might have deserved to play and sometimes you've got to squeak one out. And then BC went on to win the national championship.
I mentioned this before that sometimes the year you think you're going to win it, you don't win it. And all of a sudden you win it sometime when it's a little bit -- but I watched this team on film and I watched them play again last night on film. They're as good a college hockey team that's around.
The first thing I thought was: How did this team lose 12 games? But they had some injuries and everybody goes through a slump here and there. But of late they've been playing well. And I think they present an awful lot of problems.
We have been quote, unquote a favorite in a lot of games down the stretch here. And we've played -- games like tonight have been played by us, a lot of games, because we're getting everybody else's best game. I don't know if we've given everybody else our best game.
We gave Vermont our best game in two out of three periods tonight. I thought we played really well tonight. And you can't keep Vermont down for 60 minutes anyway.
So I think that we're playing at the top of our game, and they're playing at the top of their game. And I mentioned this before in the press conference, I don't think being number one coming in or having a label on you during the year has any effect on what's -- Miami is not trying to knock off the number one rated team in the polls. They're trying to become the number one team. And they don't need to knock anybody off; they just want to become the number one team. That's what they're looking for. And we'd like to become the number one team.
I told my team all year long, these polls are really, they don't mean anything. Except the pair-wise thing, because that's how they select the national tournament. But once the national tournament is selected, that poll doesn't mean anything either.
So the only thing that counts is how do you play down the stretch. And I think you're going to see both teams, two teams are going to play at the top of their game tomorrow night. And I think it will be a real tight game.
Q. The Saponari goal right at the end of the second period to prevent BU form going into the third period down a goal, how important was it so Vermont couldn't get off and clog up the middle in the third period and prevent you guys from doing anything there?
COACH PARKER: I thought it was the biggest goal of the game, no question about it. And the fact that it was a power play goal, too. I think that was huge.
It was the biggest goal of the game because we don't want to go into the dressing room losing. We don't want to have blown the lead that we did and have the bad second period that we did. And I think that the Grade A shots, Vermont got two Grade A shots in the third period, and they got three Grade A shots in the second period. I mean in the first period.
In the third period they were all over us, it seemed. But they got some nice individual plays, and they made some nice -- they got the power play goal and they went to the net hard and got a goal.
And so it wasn't the goals they got, it was the way they were playing. They were all over us, I thought, in the second period, and to get that goal back was a huge lift, ties it up, but also gives us an opportunity to feel a little bit better going into the third period. And we've been a pretty good third period all year.
Q. You had a tough second period against UNH two weeks ago and today against Vermont again in the second period. What is it about this team that you can come back in the third period and really take control, where does that sit amongst the guys, and where does it come from?
COACH PARKER: This team thinks they're pretty good. They've got some poise. We've got a lot of talent that they don't have to worry about can we score goals. We know we can score goals.
I don't think this third period was anywhere like the UNH period. The UNH third period, we dodged a bullet there. They had some great opportunities. They were up and down. They outplayed us in the third period more than I thought.
I thought we played a solid third period tonight. I thought we played a great third period tonight. And I think that was a real -- that was emblematic of the type of character and the type of determination and will to win that this club has. This club -- our motto is desire, determination and the will to win. And this club is living up to that motto, that's for sure.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
End of FastScripts