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April 8, 2010
Boston College Â– 7
Miami (Ohio) - 1
THE MODERATOR: We will start with an opening comment from Coach York.
COACH YORK: Just taking a walk up here, if this was an NHL playoff series, I guarantee it would go deep into the series. They've got an outstanding club, and they've had a really superlative year when you look at what they've done.
We were very, very sharp tonight, our club. I thought we moved pucks extremely well. Got excellent goaltending from Johnny Muse.
But, again, it's one of those one-game series and you move on. I guarantee if it was in the NHL, it would go maybe seven games or it would go deep into a seven-game series.
I thought Johnny played, like I said, very, very well. But the save he made in the short breakaway was a real turning point, I thought, in the game. Despite what the final score indicates. It's a 1-0 lead and a really good chance to tie it 1-1, give them a lot of momentum. It was just an excellent save.
But I liked the enthusiasm of our club tonight. I think we're excited to play. And we played very well both sides of the puck. Defensively we were strong. I thought defensively we were strong because we blocked a lot of shots in our own end. I thought we did a really good job in that particular area. And we were very, very quick and creative offensively.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the players.
Q. When you were able to drive the initial goalie out of the net and have him replaced by Reichard, did you feel that increased the tension on being able to get to the goal and motivate the other team to step up their defense at all?
BEN SMITH: Miami is a team that has two tremendous goalies. And the other goalie came right in there in the second, and he played tremendous there. And he shut us out that period, I think.
But, I mean, they definitely stepped up defensively. And they really took it to us in that second period for the latter half, I think. We were able to stay with it and keep grinding and popped a few in the third.
Q. Ben and Joe, when they scored the goal to make it 3-1, they obviously got a lot of momentum from that. What was the mood on the bench? What were you guys saying to each other? How did you kind of respond to that?
JOE WHITNEY: I think that goal was a big goal for them. But I think on the bench you had a lot of enthusiasm after they scored. We just wanted to keep playing the way that we know how to play and push the pace and we didn't want to change a thing.
Our main goal at that point was just to get the next goal and just keep going.
BEN SMITH: And we've been there before this year. We've had -- we've been fortunate enough to have a few three goalies going into the third, and teams have scored an early goal on us, but I think those experiences have definitely helped us and we stayed together in the third and we were able to keep fighting, obviously. Popped a few, as I said.
Q. Ben, can you talk about the two goals you scored? In particular, you had the first and then the last. But the first seemed to be the one that kind of really put them on edge as well. Didn't it?
BEN SMITH: Yeah, it was a big goal for us to end the first. We had a power play early in the game. We were moving the puck around well. But we didn't score. But that goal at the end of the first was big. And Joe just gave me a great shot pass, and I was able to tip it by the goalie.
And the last one, it was just kind of a lucky play. It was blocked. It just kind of bounced right to me and I was able to bring it to my backhand and get it through the goalie six-hole.
Q. This is for all three of you guys. Can you talk about what makes you guys so difficult to beat in the postseason? This is now going to be the fourth national championship game in five years, and yet in those five years you've only won one regular season championship. There seems to be something special that comes about when it comes to postseason for you guys. What makes it special there?
BEN SMITH: Well, I'd say the coaches prepare us really well. And also the senior classes -- since I've been here, this is our third championship game. And each senior class has been there before. And I think that's really important, to have that leadership and to just have that experience to help the younger guys get through.
It's a bright light, a big stage here at Ford Field, but we were able to keep those young guys in line, and they responded really well tonight.
JOHN MUSE: Yeah, like Ben said, when you have seniors that have been there before, it makes it a lot easier, especially when you have a lot of young kids like we do now. But I think we're a difficult team to play against throughout the entire season.
Maybe we get those wins late in the season, but we get our share of wins during the regular season as well.
THE MODERATOR: 7-0 for John Muse in NCAA tournament play.
JOE WHITNEY: I think -- like these guys said, I think everybody in the room -- every year my freshman year I started with -- everybody believes in each other in the locker room. It's not just the players. It's the managers and the strength coach and the trainer. So I think we have a good group of guys, and I think everyone believes in each other. So that's important.
Q. One for John and one for Joe. John, you seem to let everything kind of roll off your back, which is part of the reason I think that you're so steady. But were you bugged at all by the seven goals by Alaska at all or were you able to shake it off? Because looked like maybe you made a couple different things tonight differently.
JOHN MUSE: I was all right with it. I just wanted to get a win. Obviously it would have been pretty bad if we lost but. At this point in the season, all you're looking for is wins, no matter how they come. If you let in one goal, let in seven goals. If you come out with a win, you're moving on, and that's what I'm trying to do now.
Q. Joe, we talked a little bit about what was going on with your line heading into the Alaska game and the meeting you had with the coach and everything and talking about maybe splitting you guys up. Now that you guys have been together the last two games, has it been much more fun for you guys to play knowing that things were a little less tight and stiff for you?
JOE WHITNEY: I think it starts with preparation leading up to the game. We work really hard in practice and on the day of the game you just tell each other just have fun and there's no pressure and just enjoy every moment we have.
Q. John, just following up on what was already asked. Could you talk a little bit more about what the difference was for you tonight versus the Yale game. Was it you? Was it the defense? Could you talk about that?
JOHN MUSE: I think we got a couple of bounces tonight. In the Yale game they had some great plays, offensive plays, and they were scoring goals that were crazy goals.
But tonight I think we played a very solid defensive game. I didn't see many grade A chances. There were a lot of blocked shots. And when they did get the puck in our end, our defense and forwards did a great job breaking it out quickly, so they didn't have much to say to the sustained pressure.
Q. Ben and Joe, after the Wisconsin-RIT game, both players acknowledged the importance of playing on a football field before in terms of the preparation for this game. Do you feel your experience playing at Fenway earlier this year helped you for this?
BEN SMITH: It definitely helped us, for sure. We weren't overwhelmed, I think. At Fenway we were certainly overwhelmed for a little bit for a little bit of that game. But I think that experience definitely helped us in this -- it's a different venue. It's a great place to play, don't get me wrong. And it was a lot of fun out there tonight. But it's different. And so I think that experience definitely helped us.
JOE WHITNEY: For me, I think, like Ben said, it's definitely -- they're similar in there's 35-plus thousand people there, and so for the first time it was tough to play at Fenway because just a big crowd, a lot going on. But we played in the Fenway game and tonight I thought we were prepared.
Q. Ben, can you just reflect about the matchup now that you have with Wisconsin and what is at stake for this program in that game?
BEN SMITH: It's huge. Obviously, whenever you have a chance to play in a national championship, you want to come out on top. I wasn't here in '06 in Madison when BC played Wisconsin. But I know it was a pretty tough loss for a lot of the guys. So, yeah, it's exciting to be back in the national championship game, and Wisconsin's obviously a great team. You saw it tonight.
So we'll see what happens and prepare and come out on Saturday ready to go. It won't be as high scoring, so we'll see. More excitement.
Q. What's the best practice of the year?
BEN SMITH: Best practice of the year. I think it's 1:21 tomorrow, Coach. Practice between the semifinal and the championship. So we're excited for that one.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.
Q. We asked the Wisconsin coach, Mike Eaves, some of their players about they were up 6-0, trying to fight complacency a little bit. The fact that this game was not 7-1 going into the third period, 3-1 at one point, does it help your team stay focused on the championship game and not develop some of those bad habits you can in a blowout victory?
COACH YORK: I thought Miami was right in the game until the third period. We talked before the game about it's such a different atmosphere to play in. And Fenway was the same situation.
Your players really have to have a single-minded focus about why we're here. Because you look around, we're not used to something like this. And I thought our focus was very good through all 60 minutes tonight.
Q. I was wondering, it seemed like when you were setting up your offense that you were able to misdirect a lot of their zone defense and move the puck into the slot or create some quiet areas or some open ice for yourself to shoot, especially with the first at least four goals. I was wondering, was that something that you had seen on tape or had scouted? Was it one of Miami's weaknesses, or was that just something that you guys always just want to get it obviously by the hash marks? But was that a focus, especially in getting the goaltender to move more laterally?
COACH YORK: It's just good players making good plays. I've often said that post-season success, like Dave talked about, is because we've won a lot of battles at the kitchen tables in recruiting. If you get a lot of good players, which we have here at BC, you're going to win an awful lot of games. You're going to make some terrific plays in the offensive zone.
We've got four lines that really are very creative that move pucks. And some teams have two good lines and they hold water for a while then go back on with the two top lines. But we have four lines that can really create tough matchups for any of the teams. It's nothing we plan, but they just have to react to what happens.
Q. Last week you said a win's a win, that's all that matters. No style points. Do you wish there were style points this week?
COACH YORK: I stand by that. Any win here in the national tournament is all you're trying to achieve. I think whether we win the game 1-0 or 7-1 or 9-7, like we did last week, it's all irrelevant. We just want to win and advance.
And tonight Miami, like I said, they've had an outstanding year, and we were just very, very sharp, and they were maybe a little bit off their game. We feel very good about playing Wisconsin on Saturday night, that's for sure.
Q. Your special teams tonight, obviously, the two power play goals held them off the board. Could you talk a little bit about that and how nice it was to get the power play going?
COACH YORK: Mike Cavanaugh works with our penalty killing and Greg Brown works with the power play. I kind of oversee them, but they get a lot of input in those areas. And they've done a terrific job with us.
You have to have amnesia a little bit with power plays. 0-for-10 going into tonight's game, recent games, and kind of the next shift is -- your next power play shift is the most important shift. And I thought, like Denny said, the first power play, we really moved the puck very well, got momentum off of that even though we didn't score, then made a great play. Joe Whitney saw a high stick and a high man in the slot, and he went right off of Benny's stick for a high tip.
We feel very, very confident with both special teams now. We'll be tested pretty well coming up.
Q. I wanted to ask you a little bit about the comment you made about your lines being very creative in their own right. In what respect does Ben Smith -- what kind of presence does he give his line? And if you could also answer what kind of boost that first goal that he got gave you guys?
COACH YORK: Ben's -- you've watched him over the years. The people here have just listened to him. He's one of our proudest parts of Boston College to have someone like that on our team. Terrific leader. Outstanding student. And his plays, he's a strong, hard-nosed center that can play equally well defensively and offensively. He's not I'd say as quick and creative as Brian Gibbons or Cam Atkinson but brings a lot to our team as far as two-way. He's a hard person to play against. Along the boards he's very strong. And in front of the net, he's gifted in front of the net.
Q. Ben alluded to three-goal leads that you guys have had in games this year. I was thinking about the New Hampshire game when you guys had the hockey championship on the line. Do you think that experience may have helped your players refocus after Miami was really pressuring you in the first five or ten minutes?
COACH YORK: We talked about not trying to change our game going into the third period with a lead. I think New Hampshire we were like -- we sat back a little bit and tried to play very defensively and the result was not very good. It was a tie game, but it cost us our league championship.
So our mantra has been we play the first minute of the game like we play the last minute of the game. We're not going to change, we're not going to go to a nickel defense like football does once in a while. Our principles that we play on aren't going to vary from first period to third period. And I think maybe that New Hampshire game was a good wake-up call for us.
Q. You guys set an indoor hockey record with almost 35,000 fans. Do you think the Frozen Four should go to this venue instead of the hockey arenas? What did you think of the atmosphere?
COACH YORK: I thought the atmosphere was outstanding. We'll probably have to wait one more game here to make a decision on it. Because we've had some outstanding venues with the NHL arenas. They're closer to the action, whether it's Boston or whether it was St. Louis.
But this is a completely different creature you're talking about tonight. So on one hand it gives more people opportunity to watch college hockey, which is good for all of us to connect with college hockey, but I still am not quite sure if this is the right way to go as far the hockey atmosphere.
The ice is so -- we're never quite sure what the ice is going to be. Dan Craig did a great job tonight. But it's a variable none of us want to worry about.
Q. Could you comment specifically about the play of your young defense, just how they reacted, defended, moved the puck, just general overall assessment of their game?
COACH YORK: We played three freshmen defensemen tonight and two sophomores. I thought they handled very difficult players from Miami very well. Brian Dumoulin in particular had an outstanding evening. He's really developed. He's an 18-year-old player. And he's just growing. Each week I watch him he's a better player.
But Patch Alber got his first goal of the year. And Philip Samuelsson and Carl has been their leader there and he's helped those kids develop. But they have great upside, those kids.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
End of FastScripts