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April 8, 2010
Wisconsin Â– 8
Rochester Institute of Technology - 1
THE MODERATOR: We welcome Coach Wilson, and to get us started, Coach, we'll ask you for your opening thoughts on the game tonight.
COACH WILSON: I just want to apologize. The players will be right behind me here. But obviously when it's your last game, it's a little emotional and that. They'll be up here shortly and you'll be able to talk to them as well.
But, hey, we ran into just a powerhouse tonight. I thought, basically, we couldn't -- you know, it's one them scoring the first goal early but then for them to go up 2-0, I thought that was a real changing point in the game. And then just the power plays in the second period. They have a tremendous power play. We knew that going in.
And we didn't want to give them those opportunities. So I thought those two things were the critical things in the period. Just scoring early and executing on their power play and being rewarded, I thought, were the keys.
And I don't know if we would have been -- we just had it up against them. They had an answer for everything. They were physically, I thought, stronger and quicker and really answered anything that we tried to generate. And we had a tough time generating anything. In the second period, in particular.
And it just seemed like we had no chance of getting anything going. Never mind the penalties. But when -- the TV timeouts and everything else, that period just seemed to take forever. Maybe it was just them scoring goals made it sound like or feel like it was forever.
But I thought those were the two key things besides them just being a better team tonight.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Wilson until the players get here.
Q. Was it a matter of Wisconsin just having more jumps than you did in the first right from the get-go, or was it maybe you were a little flatfooted at the beginning?
COACH WILSON: I thought we were a little flatfooted. I don't want to say in awe or anything. But I thought they looked much more determined, and then as the period went on, I thought we started doing some better things in the middle of that period, after they got to that 2-0 start.
And then really the penalties we took, took us right back out of it. And then particularly in the second period, you know, they just started scoring goals and reviewing -- it just was a slow methodical period, and we didn't get anything going whatsoever.
And then I think both teams, we wanted to play as hard as we possibly could in the third, but we knew what the end result was, and I think so did Wisconsin.
So it was kind of -- I don't want to say a meaningless third, but we wanted to finish off a little bit stronger.
Q. Your defensemen, their production this year have been one of the big reasons you got here. What did Wisconsin really do to kind of take them out of the element and really not make them a factor today?
COACH WILSON: I thought they played in our end more. I thought their defensemen moved the puck extremely well up the ice and kept us on our heels. We never generated any sustained pressure on them where our D could come off the blue line or even join the rush for the most part.
They were just better than what we tried to do. They were better at it. And they've been very good -- very similar as far as our defensemen joining the rush. They pinned us down. We never got a really good look up the ice to make clearing passes or long passes. And I thought they did. I thought they were able to get themselves turned around and look up the ice and make nice passes to generate their transition game.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the players.
Q. Cameron and Jared, can you both speak to the first period where they're up 1-0 and, as Coach Wilson said, 2-0 really made a big difference? What goes through the mind in trying to get things going your way?
CAMERON BURT: I mean, 2-0 lead isn't that bad. We were still focusing on what we had to do to win the game. And the guys, we weren't changing up anything. We knew we had to bear down and start making plays and get more comfortable on the ice.
The first five or ten minutes we were kind of out there fumbling the puck and not doing what we used to do. So we knew we had to come back and battle and fight adversity and do what we did to get here.
I don't think anything changed but our attitude and just our focus.
JARED DEMICHIEL: I mean, we didn't have the best first period but I didn't think we played really that bad. Both their goals were shots from the point with traffic. I thought the first one was a bad rebound on my part. I really didn't see a puck, but I can't give up a rebound like that and leave my defensemen out to dry.
The second goal, shoots it from the point, makes a nice deflection. Not much we could have done there. But two mistakes, that was about it. Besides that, I thought they outplayed us, but it wasn't like it was that big of a deal. I thought the second period was basically the backbreaker for the game.
Q. We had a frenzied life on campus this week. Could you possibly comment on that, maybe the media circus, how it affected play today?
JARED DEMICHIEL: I think it affected us in a positive way. It gave us a lot of energy. I think a lot of us felt honored and privileged to be getting that kind of attention from the faculty and staff and students. It's always been very -- all the students and staff have always been great to us on campus, but it was at a higher level. I never knew we meant that much to the school.
And, I mean, it's too bad we couldn't have pulled out another win for RIT.
CAMERON BURT: Like Jared said, I think it affected us pretty positively, just getting the support around the school was really great for us and especially for me knowing that everybody was there backing you up. And I've never really been in an environment like that.
I came from a couple losing junior teams where we really didn't have the fan support where we do here. So I think it was good for us, and I think it gave us a lot of motivation to come out here and play our hardest, not only for our team but for our institution.
So I don't think it affected us during the game today. It just really, you know, put it in our minds that we had a lot of people pulling for us, and I think it really helped us out.
Q. Cameron and Jared, could you talk about the second period? Could you talk about those two goals they had that were real quick, the one that was reviewed and the one on the power play afterwards, how that was detrimental to your efforts tonight?
CAMERON BURT: I really didn't see the one that they reviewed. I was just getting on the ice. And I thought it was just a routine whistle and a stoppage of the puck.
But whenever a team gets two goals that fast, I think it really shifts the momentum in their favor. And it really dug us a deep hole to get out of. And, unfortunately, they kept pulling down the shots and we weren't able to get out of that hole.
JARED DEMICHIEL: Definitely difficult to come back from something like that. I mean, I think our team still had the right mindset. I mean, we've had some really bad luck this year with plays under review. Every single time we've got it under review it's been a goal. I don't know what the deal is. Maybe we need somebody up in the booth giving us some help there.
We gave up 5-on-3 goals. I think the goal that was under review took a nice bounce off the board so the guy was sitting on the goal line. And then their play backdoor, you have to tip their hat to them. They made a nice tic-tac-toe play. I think we might have shifted wrong on the PK and I got to get my butt across.
But two quick goals like that -- we've given up quick goals like that before, but obviously it was too tough for us to come back from that tonight.
Q. To what degree, for both players, is the score indicative of the separation between the two teams?
JARED DEMICHIEL: I don't think that's a reflection of the game whatsoever. They had -- Mark Cornacchia took a checking-from-behind penalty. I watched the replay when I was chilling in my net. Looked like he held up. It's under the ref's discretion.
I thought it killed us to be on the kill for five minutes in the second. I think they had two 5-on-3 goals. If we played 5 on 5 with that team like we had in the third, it's a very even game. It's a special teams battle. We lost it tonight. I don't think the score is indicative of our team whatsoever.
I wish we had another crack at these guys, but we don't, and we wish them the best of luck in the next round.
CAMERON BURT: Like Jared said, I don't think the score is a reflection of how we can play and what we did all year. We won a lot of hockey games to get here this year. Wisconsin, I tip my hat to them. They came out, played really hard. They're a really good team. They've got really good defense. And their goalie did what he had to do to get the win.
Like Jared said, the power plays that they had really kind of killed us and we shot ourselves in the foot with that. By no means is that score really indicative of how we played and the difference between each team there.
Q. Can you describe any frustration level that you might have at finishing up such a magical ride in the game that ultimately had such a lopsided score?
CAMERON BURT: I'm very frustrated. Not only that we lost, but just that these seniors don't get a chance to put on an RIT jersey again. They've given everything they have this year, and all four years, to this team. And it's really a shame that we couldn't come out with a win and let them play another game.
But, I mean, whenever you lose a game of this magnitude, it's hard to handle. Guys in the locker room, you don't want to take your gear off because you know you're not going to put it on again with a game jersey this year.
It's really hard. We battled all year. Started off not the way we wanted, but we came back with some wins and some streaks down the stretch. And it's just a tough pill to swallow. I mean, not just for me, but especially for the seniors. Jared DeMichiel played his heart out this year and he was really the backbone of the team. Dan Ringwald was probably the best leader I've ever had on a team. He did everything he could to get this team in shape. So it's frustrating to know that their RIT career is done.
JARED DEMICHIEL: Obviously can't be happy with an outcome like that. I mean, it's not really something to be proud of. But at the same time, I mean, personally, I'm just more upset that it's all over with.
But at the same time I know our team, we hate losing. I mean, I think that's a reflection of our record. We have a ton of wins and our teams battled back from a lot of adversity. I think we proved to a lot of people that we opened some eyes and that we can play the game.
I think there's a bright future at RIT. Obviously wish we could have had a little better play today, but we lost the special teams battle and so be it.
But this team has a bright future with guys like Cameron Burt and Chris Tanev, and there's a ton of underclassmen that have an immense amount of talent, so definitely a bright future at RIT.
Q. Could you comment on the ice surface, the condition and any impact at all in playing in such a cavernous space, a wide-open space like that?
JARED DEMICHIEL: The ice wasn't ideal, but it was the same ice for both teams. It was snowy up against the boards. The boards weren't totally consistent. But both teams had to battle that, both RIT and Wisconsin.
And the atmosphere of the rink. Cool experience. I'll remember it for the rest of my life. It was cool. How many times do you get to play hockey in a football stadium. There's not too many people that can say that except for Wisconsin. I guess they've done it twice this year. So they're pretty lucky.
But definitely a fun experience and definitely have some great memories.
CAMERON BURT: I thought the ice was a lot better today than it was when we skated on Wednesday. People did a great job with shaving it down for the game today. And, I mean, like Jared said, both teams had to play on the same ice.
Great feel. Felt like I was playing on an outdoor rink with the bright lights and just playing in front of that many fans was a great experience for me. I'll never forget it. I'll cherish it and I'll tell it to my grandkids. Hopefully I'll get that far (laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.
Q. When people look at this box score they're going to see eight goals, offensive juggernaut. Could you talk maybe about what Wisconsin did defensively, because grade As just didn't seem to be coming your way today.
COACH WILSON: They did a lot of positive things, and in regards to the score, you know, you can't pick how you're going to end your season. And obviously the look of the score was disappointing, and I almost felt bad, but I got both my other goalies in the game as well. Unfortunately, they were on the score sheet. I put them on a tough situation. I want them to experience it. You never know when you're going to get back here. So I wanted them to enjoy that.
But in regards to Wisconsin, I thought they put us on our heels right from the beginning. Their first couple shifts were very strong. We couldn't get a handle on the puck. They took away the boards real early.
I thought obviously the power -- the second period was a power play, whether it be a clinic or -- it was all them. They had the puck the whole time they were on the power play. So I almost want to throw out that period. You can't take a five-minute major and also take other minors on it as well and be 5 on 3 and expect to win at this time of year.
But I thought just in general their defensemen were able to look up the ice and we weren't able to have them really kind of facing the glass, getting cycles or any sustained pressure at all. I thought their defensemen moved the puck extremely well and got it out of the zone and really got it out of trouble all night long. So I thought it was more their puck-moving ability that didn't allow us to generate really anything.
Q. Jared talked about a bright future for RIT ahead. Can you comment a little bit on that and what this tremendous run has not only done for the school but for this program?
COACH WILSON: Well, it's hard to predict how the future is going to go. You're always optimistic about incoming players and so on. But right now my whole focus is really just on a great group of seniors. We've talked about setting a bar high for other players to come and try to achieve what they have achieved or surpass that.
And, I mean, it's just so difficult to get to this stage. As I said to the players, I've been in it for 26 years. That was the last time I was in a Final Four and I've been a part of some tremendous teams as a coach, and then I went to RIT, my first five years were at the Division III. Actually my second year there we were undefeated until the national championship game.
So winning a national championship, you just -- and for us to get here, I don't want them to take it for granted. I'm sure a number of years from now they won't. But I think it put RIT in the spotlight, and I'm very, very proud of our year and of our team. And this game will not diminish any of it.
Obviously disappointed. The score of the game was irrelevant to me. You lose, you lose. And you can't pick, like I said, how you're going to lose that last game. But just really proud of -- I mean, who would have ever thought that and how many other teams would rather be in our position just to get to this point.
So we're very appreciative of where we achieved this year. And we had a lot of fun doing it, too. I mean, it wasn't all that nerve-racking. So we were excited about things.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thanks.
End of FastScripts