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April 8, 2010
Wisconsin Â– 8
THE MODERATOR: We'll start and ask Coach Eaves for his opening thoughts on the game.
Rochester Institute of Technology - 1
COACH EAVES: First of all, I just want to acknowledge RIT and what they accomplished this year. I said to Wayne after the game, you should be real proud of what he did with that group of people bringing them together and having a group of hockey players go to another level as a team to make themselves as a threat not only to get here but put us in a game where we had to battle extremely hard. First I'd like to congratulate them.
Secondly, I think this group of young men being represented up here today, they did the things they needed to do. They got off to a great start.
And we were effective on the specialty teams in the second period, which kind of was the turning point of the game. And then played pretty smart in the third period and went to the victory.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the players.
Q. Blake, being in the hat trick everybody talks but and your offense, but by the time you had to get on the score sheet today I think it was already 5-0. Could you talk about the balance that you had today and how this team's offense really has that balance?
BLAKE GEOFFRION: We've talked about all year how one of the strengths of our team is the depth, and guys stepped up. We talked about getting a great start. Mitchy comes out with a goal and Stepan enters back with a quick tip-in. We talked about it all year. It's one of our strengths and we're happy.
Q. Could you talk about the second period and you guys are up 2-0 and then getting off to that early goal in that second period, just increasing that lead? How much does the momentum really start to flow for you guys in that period?
DEREK STEPAN: Like Coach was saying, our power play got rolling in the second and once the snowball kind of got moving, it just kept building and building. We started rolling over the bench with four lines, and that's when we were playing our best is when we've got four groups going over the boards.
Q. Blake, Jared mentioned that you guys had played in a football field twice this year. Do you think maybe that experience might have helped you guys come out so strong?
BLAKE GEOFFRION: Definitely I think so. Just knowing what to expect with the temperature and all that was a little different. But as far as the mindset about the ice and adapting to that, definitely helped us.
Q. There aren't any defensemen up there, but after today's game, especially after what the RIT coach talked about how their play was critical to transitioning, as it has been all season. Blake, could you talk about the importance in how that fit into your game plan tonight?
BLAKE GEOFFRION: Definitely. I mean, I think one of our strengths again is our D-corps and how much depth we have back there on the blue line. And those guys, they pressure quick, they get turnovers and get the puck to us, to the 4s and transition quick, weak side D jumping.
They did a great job as always back there. Keeping it simple, they don't have a play off the glass and out. When they have time, they showed great poise and confidence back there with the puck.
Q. Derek, could you just talk about, not that you're lacking in the confidence department, but what this does to add to that after you come out and make a statement of a win like this?
DEREK STEPAN: It's a good win for us, and we gotta continue to play hard and play smart and we gotta get ourselves ready and focused to play one more. With our confidence, like you said, we've had it at a pretty good level already. And we've got to make sure we keep that good balance and not trying to be too confident and not getting down too far on us.
Q. John, when you scored the first goal, did you ever imagine that it would lead to seven others in an 8-1 game and can you talk about putting the pressure on RIT right from the beginning when you get that first goal?
JOHN MITCHELL: I don't think -- my mindset was that it was going to lead to eight others. We were just going out there, starting the game strong, me Aaron and Jordy. And we were just going to start strong. Follow the two first shifts ahead of us and just try and keep rolling all four lines, keep that depth of our team going, because that's our strong point. So, yep.
Q. You got two goals. The regionals, crashing the net got another one doing that. You guys really did a good job of getting bodies in front of DeMichiel; that led to a lot of the goals. Could you talk about the focus on getting by in front and getting people crashing the net?
JOHN MITCHELL: I think that was our coaching staff made that a point to our entire time. Our forwards take DeMichiel's eyes away. He's been hot. He played obviously well. Beat two good teams in Denver and UNH. We didn't think they got too many byes in front of us. So one of our points of emphasis were come out and take his eyes away. I actually missed the tip initially that Cody shot on that, but luckily the rebound came back out and I was able to put it home.
Q. When you play in stages like this, that you're used to, how important is poise? And how important tonight was knowing the referees that were doing this game that also did two weeks ago?
DEREK STEPAN: To be honest, I wasn't paying much attention. Can you repeat that?
Q. How important is poise?
DEREK STEPAN: Like I said earlier, having that balance of not being too hot or not being too low is kind of a key. With being confident comes that poise. Having that poise is something that's very crucial. And when it comes to the referees, you know, in my opinion I think you just gotta go out and play no matter who you've got there. I don't think it really matters if you've been with the ref before or not. It just comes down to the game of hockey and playing 60 minutes.
Q. Blake, with the Cinderella team like an RIT you never know, I guess, what they're going to bring to the table, especially on this level. When you go out to that 2-0 start, do you breathe a sigh of relief as a player that you guys are out to that quick start?
BLAKE GEOFFRION: I think a little bit. But, again, the two-goal lead is the worst lead in hockey they say. You have to play the game, stick to the game plan, not let guys get selfish out there, keep doing the things you're doing, getting to the net, getting by in front of the goalie who has been hot lately, as Mitchy said, and getting pucks in and getting pucks out.
Q. John, to what degree was the score indicative of the difference between the two teams?
JOHN MITCHELL: What's indicative mean?
Q. Score an accurate reflection of the differences between the two teams.
JOHN MITCHELL: I don't know. I don't think so. RIT came in hot. And they beat two good -- they beat two good teams in Denver and UNH. I think we had a good game plan coming out and shutting them down. Like I said, taking their goalie's eyes away. Playing the body, doing all of our strengths. So I don't think the score's indicative of the two teams, no.
Q. On the one goal that was reviewed, did any of you expect to have a goal after that?
BLAKE GEOFFRION: I was like right there. The goalie, he wasn't sure. He was looking around for it. I was sticking my stick in there a little bit. I thought it was in, I really did. And there you go.
DEREK STEPAN: I was on the other side. I was on the left side of the ice. Everything was going on the right side. I really didn't have any clue. I came back to the bench and I asked Schultz and he didn't have any clue. I don't think many guys had a clue what was going on.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.
Q. What did you think of the atmosphere?
COACH EAVES: We talked to the coaching staff after the game, kind of reflected on what we thought. It's interesting. I had the chance earlier today to go and walk around. When you look from up above, it definitely has a wow factor when you see it, when you walk in. It looks awesome.
But being on the bench, the crowd noise, it seems so distant. At the end of the game the RIT fans were chanting for their team in appreciation. I heard that.
But a lot of the noisy it really wasn't a factor. Seemed pretty quiet in there. Which is fine, because on the bench the players can hear us.
Q. You had talked all season about your depth of this team and how far that's carried you. Is tonight kind of just like a night, a poster kind of night that shows the depth, the amount of depth that this team has?
COACH EAVES: Clearly we were able to get everybody out there. We had 12 people out of our 18 skaters get points. So it speaks to that depth.
Q. In a game where Scott doesn't face that many shots, what do you think he has to do to keep prepared for the winner and Boston College-Miami?
COACH EAVES: It's one of the toughest jobs a young goaltender has is when you're not getting a lot of action is to keep your mind focussed. Scotty did a nice job tonight and was disappointed in giving up the one goal, which usually goaltenders are. But he kept his mind sharp and did a pretty decent job for us.
Q. How much did you stress to your team the importance of that good start, and when you broke down the tape from their games against UNH and Denver, did you wonder a bit more why they didn't pressure as early as fiercely in the beginning as your guys clearly did this afternoon?
COACH EAVES: It was one of our emphasis to get off to a great start, and we wanted to take time and space away as quickly as we could just to see how they would handle it. I think that any -- we talk to any athlete in any sport, when you're taking time away and space away, it makes it difficult to make plays.
And we did with what we needed to do, and we were able to get that early lead. And the power play put us, separated the gap a little bit. But getting that good start was paramount for us.
Q. Obviously the guys, pretty loose during the press conference. Just talk about how much you think, I guess, that's helped them throughout the course of the season?
COACH EAVES: I think this group has -- because of its being an upperclassmen team has the ability to enjoy the moment and get back to the task at hand. And I think that's one of the guys' strengths is being able to do that.
And I think that we're going to need to be able to have that happen again. I hope they get a chance to go to the fan fest at the hotel. See some of the stuff. I understand they had a dryer open you could shoot the puck in that. I know they were talking about that.
So I think they do have that ability, though, to enjoy the moment and then get focused on the task.
Q. Given the way that special teams played such an important role tonight, did it help to have a referee that you had just seen a couple weeks ago, especially knowing you're not going to get someone from your league?
COACH EAVES: No, I don't think it was a factor. I agree with Derek. I think our mindset is that we have to play, and it doesn't matter who the referee is. If they're calling certain penalties we have to be intelligent about that and be aware, but we have to -- when a penalty is called, we're going out there and focus on getting the job done. On the power play we're trying to take advantage of it. I don't think it's a big factor in our world.
Q. Could you talk, an 8-1 game, everybody is going to be talking about offense, offense, but I think your defense gave up two grade As in the game, could you talk about their defensive zone play?
COACH EAVES: It's interesting because in watching video I thought RIT was one of the best teams I had seen in their defensive zone coverage, so we focused on our ability to be intelligent having the puck in their zone. And by having the puck in their zone and having time in their zone, they don't have the biscuit. So I think that takes away from them getting as many scoring shots as they had hoped to.
By having puck possession, we limited their ability to get scoring chances on us.
Q. John talked a lot about getting bodies in front how that was a key to the game. Seemed like that was the focus during the week of practice. How pleased were you with the way your team executed getting traffic in front of them?
COACH EAVES: Doesn't matter what goaltender you're playing against, whether it's Brodeur or Gudmandson, you make them less effective by having people in front of them. When they can't see the puck, they're not as good.
It's one of the things we wanted to do tonight. The first goal was indicative, then the second goal as well we had people right there. It makes it tough for a young goaltender to make saves on pucks he can't see or you're redirecting them or getting to rebound.
Q. To what degree are you concerned at all about -- I don't want to discount the three teams you've beaten and especially RIT, but to what degree do you think it kind of plays a factor that this was an easy win; you haven't had to beat Cornell 1-0 in three overtimes. Tomorrow you'll probably be playing a team that most people think are a lot better than the teams you have. BC will want redemption from Miami for several reasons. They'll want that game badly. Could you just talk about that?
COACH EAVES: First of all, as a coach, and I see Coach Osiecki back there, and I think he'll agree with me, there's no such thing as an easy win. You come into this tournament playing a team like RIT was playing well, they've gone to a higher level because they play well together.
There's no such thing as an easy win. And you can speculate and look at paper and do all that. But you've got to go out and perform. And I think our kids did a tremendous job of sticking to the game plan and focusing on what we needed to do to win this game here.
And we will see who our next opponent is. And we will create a game plan and hopefully they'll do that same type of job in terms of sticking and doing the things that we need to do to be successful no matter who our opponent is.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
End of FastScripts