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April 7, 2012

Tommy Cross

Johnny Gaudreau

Parker Milner

Jerry York


Boston College – 4
Ferris State - 1

MODERATOR:  We're joined by Boston College head coach Jerry York, student‑athletes Tommy Cross, Johnny Gaudreau, Parker Milner.  We'll start with an opening statement from Coach.
COACH YORK:  I was thinking back, 1984, and we won a national championship at Bowling Green.  And on my staff was Peter Johnson, and his dad, of course, was legendary Coach Bob Johnson, who was one of my real mentors in the, just the hockey game.  Played against‑‑ coached against him when I was at Wisconsin.  And we got‑‑ good friends when his son Peter came and worked on my staff at Bowling Green.
But he called me the next day after we won the championship.  He said:  Jerry, I'm going to tell you one thing, that when you win a national championship, now you have a blueprint as to how to win more of them.  He said:  It's incredibly important that once you win one, that you sit down and go back over what type of student‑athletes did you have at that particular time, what were your practice plans like, what were your goals like.
But look at everything they did during the course of the year and that's your blueprint, and that will enable you to win more national championships.
And at that time, I thought, oh, geez, I won one, that's should be the‑‑ but he's absolutely correct because until you win one, you don't really understand how you have to win them.  What type of player you have to recruit, just the practice schedule, just the whole emphasis on building through the tournament.  And he was absolutely correct there.
And he said:  That's the most important thing you're going to learn.  That's the most valuable lesson you're going to have.
And I think I've tried to follow that mentor of mine, Bob Johnson's, thoughts.
Tonight's game, we knew Ferris was going to be outstanding as a team.  They don't have the name recognition.  When we generally get to Frozen Fours and we play, we're playing Michigan State, we're playing Wisconsin, we're playing North Dakota.  But we really analyzed how Ferris got here, and they won a league that sent five teams to the NCAA.
So you're looking at, they're ahead of Michigan, they're ahead of Michigan State, they're ahead of Western Michigan, they're ahead of ahead of Miami, all teams we're very familiar with.
When they won that league, hey, we knew right away, looking at their history, they have an excellent club.  You don't just throw sticks out and win that league.  Then as they went through only giving up one goal in the regionals to Denver‑‑ or Cornell and then only one goal last night to Union, we knew we were going to play a very defensive, disciplined team.
So with that framework, I don't think most people understood outside of the real hockey community how tough a game this was going to be.  I thought our team stayed patient through the first two periods and got an incredible goal from Johnny Gaudreau to break open the game there.  But during the course of the game, Parker Milner once again was extremely strong in the net.
They asked me last night, what was my favorite BC team.  And I said I had to wait because you can't be measured unless you win that last trophy, I think.  So now with an 0‑1, 8‑10 and 12, they've joined that group of teams that I've coached, '84, that are remarkable.  And they've earned it and I'm very proud of them.
MODERATOR:  Tommy, we'll start with your thoughts initially.
TOMMY CROSS:  I couldn't be happier right now, obviously.  I can't believe you get to win the national championship in my senior year, the second of my career.
I feel like I can let my guard down a little bit in here, which is nice, finally.  At the same time, I feel honored and privileged to be able to be a part of the BC program and the university and specifically the hockey program with Coach, the opportunity he gave me to come here.  And I keep thinking of my teammates, best teammates I've ever had.  The closest team I've ever been on.
And we just had something in our mind that the season was only going to end one way.  And we just want‑‑ that was our main focus.
And on a different note, just once again, I said it in Wurster, but I want to thank all of you in this room for the attention and spotlight that you've helped put on college hockey.  It's certainly is great for the game, and we all know what a great game it is, and the exposure that everyone in this room gives to college hockey is really special.  So thanks.
JOHNNY GAUDREAU:  As soon as I got here to BC, my first day here, I noticed how close our team was.  From first practice to the last practice, we were all such a close group.  And I knew from the second I got here we'd be a great team together, and I knew that we'd have a shot at hopefully winning one of these things.
My first one, I couldn't be happier with the team I have to win it with.  Just the great captains I have, a great senior class, all the way down to the freshmen.  It's a great team.  I'm going to remember this for the rest of my life.
PARKER MILNER:  Obviously, I can't really add to what they said about the excitement.  You can't describe how excited we are.
First of all, hats off to Ferris State.  They're a heck of a team, and they gave us all we could handle.
Also, I think Detroit was great, but I think the city of Tampa really‑‑ it was amazing coming here and seeing how much support there was around this event.  And I think they did a great job with it.
As far as our team goes, our coaching staff, the way they lead, I've never been around a coaching staff with such positive energy.  And my teammates, I can't say enough about them.
I know all the underclassmen really wanted to get this one for the seniors, because they've meant so much to this program and they mean so much to us.  So I'm glad we could do it as a whole.
MODERATOR:  Questions?

Q.  Johnny, could you just take us through that goal, how it developed and what you saw and how you went at it?
JOHNNY GAUDREAU:  Well, I was coming through the middle of the ice on this great breakout pass by Destry Straight.  And I was thinking in my head, maybe I should probably get this deep.  Four minutes left in the game, and I didn't go with what I was thinking.  I just went with it.
And luckily, happened to work for me.  And I saw the goalie put his shoulder down and try to back end it off the top shelf, so luckily it went in.

Q.  Tommy, could you just talk about what makes the Eagle defense so good that you can defend rush after rush or plays around the net and just be very patient and calm about things?
TOMMY CROSS:  Yeah.  Starts with our defensive coach, Greg Brown.  He was a pretty darn good defenseman himself.  I think him having been there, he relates to us.  Not only can he tell us what to do but he can still, even at his age, he can still go out and show us how to do it.  (Laughter).
And the last couple of years since I've been here, we kind of started the D Corps tradition thing.  And we've got a really tight group.  And we joke around that we dislike the forwards and we go against them all the time, we like to think we get the better of them all the time, but I don't know if that's true.
And then this year, the goalie group, we have four of them.  They kind of made their own group to counter the D Corps group.  But we're kind of allies at the same time, because to be a good defense you have to have a really good goaltending group.  And Parker, can't say enough about him.  I said before, he bailed us out a couple times when we did make mistakes, and your defense spreads out throughout the whole team, too.  Our forwards make our job easy with their back pressure.
So it's team defense and it's everyone on the ice that has a defense first mentality.  But the D Corps does a great job.

Q.  Parker, talk about the penalty kill tonight and what the defense‑‑ I know your roommate, Patch Aber, had a nice play in the early going, second period, keeping and killing the puck, killing some time off in the corner with about ten, 15seconds of that penalty kill.
PARKER MILNER:  I cannot really think of any shots that I even faced on the penalty kill tonight.  They had some really good puck‑moving‑D that could‑‑ they were good at getting around shot blockers, and our guys did a great job of getting in lanes.
Their shots I faced tonight, they were right in my chest, or most of them on the ice.  That's not because Ferris State can't shoot the puck.  It's was because they were forcing them into bad shots.  I thought it was an incredible effort tonight.

Q.  Tommy, this is now three championships for this program in five years.  Beyond just the obvious of having great talent, is there some kind of special intangible that this program has that's made it so successful?
TOMMY CROSS:  I don't think‑‑ you mentioned the talent.  I think it's the kids.  Not the talent that comes with the kids, it's the quality of kids that we have in our program.
I've said it before.  I'll say it again.  There's a huge trickle‑down effect and a continuation of the program and of the culture.  And I learned from Matt Lombardi and Ben Smith and Brock Bradford, and they learned from guys like Ryan Shannon and all the way down to GO and since coach has been here.
So I think we have quality kids in our locker room that are team‑first.  And I think there's a lot that you have to sacrifice, I guess you could say, if you want to be part of a winning team, individually.  And we've got guys that do that, sacrifice in individual stats and individual awards to be part of something bigger and get a trophy.
It seems like every kid that comes into our program either has that mentality or adopts that mentality.  And I don't know if it's in the water or what it is.
But the dining halls, but it's the kids and it's a great locker room.  There's never issues that linger around that hinder our performance.  So it's just 25 brothers.

Q.  Parallel question to that, what makes the freshmen so productive these last several years, certainly in the last 10 years from Chuck Kobasew and you maybe tonight?  What about the freshmen?  What is it?
JOHNNY GAUDREAU:  Well, like Tommy said, with the great leaders.  I mean, coming into BC as a freshmen class, we looked up to all the other guys.  Most of them won a national championship already.  And we were following in their footsteps and they taught us nothing but great things.
And I don't think we'd be here today if we didn't get great leadership through the sophomores all the way to the seniors.  And we freshmen gotta thank them for helping us along the way.  And next year we'll be helping the freshmen and then the following year, so on and so forth.

Q.  Bob Daniels said their game plan was to try to stick with you the whole way.  It almost seemed like your game plan on that was understanding that would happen, was wear them down, wear them down.  Is that kind of what went on in that game?
TOMMY CROSS:  Yeah, they're a really, really good hockey team, like coach said.  They wanted to hang with us; we wanted to hang with them, in some respects.  But we also kind of wanted to accentuate our own game plan.
They're an experienced team.  They're a veteran team.  They're an older group of guys.  They don't mind being behind.  They were behind against Union and they were behind tonight.  And we knew they'd be comfortable playing the whole 60 minutes, whatever the score was.
So getting the lead was good.  They tied it up, obviously, but I think extending the lead.  And then we had to play our best hockey in the second half of the second and the third, because like you said, they did stick around.  We wanted to try and keep pushing the pace, and I think we did that in spurts.

Q.  Tommy, you've now just completed a college career that basically speaks for itself in terms of individual accomplishments and team accomplishments.  You're next up now to try to break into the Boston Bruins system.  How has your time at Boston College prepared you for your next challenge?
TOMMY CROSS:  Is that the first part?  BC, I can't say enough about the environment that it is to develop as a hockey player, but as a student and as a person.  You bring up the hockey part of it and the coaching you get and the players you get to practice against, it's a great place to hone your skills and try and get ready for the next level.
So like you said, look back on the career.  It's been four years.  I'm a completely different player now than when I first got here.  And that's a credit to the coaching staff and my teammates for pushing me.

Q.  The Bruins drafted you in 2007 right before they brought in Claude Julian, and during your four years at BC they've won three Northeast Division titles.  Made some deep playoff runs, won a Stanley Cup.  Has it helped to be in their neighborhood in terms of keeping tabs on the professional team you're hoping to join?
TOMMY CROSS:  Yeah, a little bit.  I'm not really sure.  I watch all the NHL teams.  I just like watching hockey.  You get to read the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald and all the different articles about the Bruins, so I guess it's nice to be in the Boston area, but I'm not sure it has a huge effect on everything.  And I haven't been paying too much attention to it.
I've been worried about going on to the big trophy for us.

Q.  Tommy, can you just talk about you and your classmates going out as seniors with a second national title in four years, what that means to you and your class?
TOMMY CROSS:  It's unbelievable.  Coach said you don't really appreciate it until you win your first and you look back on it.  That's so true.  We were young when we were sophomores.
And I have to mention Cam Atkinson and Jimmy Hayes.  Those guys were a huge part of our class, and they obviously aren't here this year, but they're still a part of it for us.
And Cam was obviously a huge player our sophomore year, and Jimmy was, too, and I think the rest of us were a little more secondary roles.  So to have primary roles for a lot us of the second time around is unbelievable.
I remember our freshman year, we didn't get off on the right foot in our career.  And I remember a talk we had with Coach Cav, probably in June after our freshman year, and he said:  You've got to realize what you're a part of and turn some things around if you want to be a winning class because winning classes are defined by the big trophies.
Like the class last year, with Gibby and Whit and them, they had two trophies.  And we have two of our own now.  It feels unbelievable.
MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Questions for Coach.

Q.  Can you talk about the move that Johnny Gaudreau made.  You see great goals sometimes, but you don't usually see them in a title game when that's on the line and his poise and ability on that.
COACH YORK:  He's an incredible player.  As you listen to him, he's so humble and fits right in our locker room.  But that play, we see it during the course of the year.  He's got some really different moves.
His lateral left east/west with the puck, he's really almost a magician out there with the puck.  He's got great vision, great skills, and he's just going to be a dynamite player.  He is now, and he's going to be even better as he gets a little older, a little stronger.
But that was‑‑ I gotta watch that tape again.  And then the move on the goaltender was great, too.

Q.  We've talked about it all year, but now that you've got that big trophy, could you talk about the impact to the senior class all year and leading up to this championship?
COACH YORK:  They've been excellent.  And only one team can win a trophy.  So it's so hard to say that's our goal, because it's difficult, difficult to achieve it.  But right from the get‑go, we thought, hey, let's win some trophies.  But more important, let's win the big one, the most shiny trophy there is.
And our team went through some tough times, but we'll take good teams.  There's other good teams, they're going to knock you down and make you better.
But they've had a terrific impact, like Tommy said, even on the '10 team.  This year there were Paul Carey, Barry Almeida and Edwin Shea, Tommy.  Those are really good players.

Q.  Your P.K. has been good all year but tonight, especially in that second period, could you talk about how important it was to kill off those penalties?
COACH YORK:  Our assistant coach is one of the reasons we're so successful.  We're going to keep them a long time.  They're not rushing off to any other spot.
Mike Cavanaugh works the P.K.  They pressure very well.  No. 4 for Ferris is awfully difficult to handle.  He's very shifty in the point.  But I think we did a reasonable job on him tonight.
And then Greg Brown works the power play.  He's a big gorilla goalie for us with those point shots.
Both those units were instrumental in the win tonight.

Q.  This is five titles now.  How does this one seem the same and how is it different from the four in the past?
COACH YORK:  They're all different, because the venues are different.  Basically the teams we play are different.  But there's so many similarities.  Just like what Bob Johnson said to me.  He said:  If you get a blueprint, they'll nail it and gal you in the defense in'84, great careers in the National Hockey League.
But we've always tried to have our excellent defensemen.  We've had that for all these title teams.
Our forwards have been explosive.  They've been very creative, whether it's Brian Johnson or Barry Almeida or right through the list there.
But they all do share our great team bonding.  They're all tight as groups.  And probably more similarities than differences in them, based on my observation.
Talk of goaltenders, too, we've had a string of great goaltenders.

Q.  Could you talk about what Tommy has meant to your program and what you think he can do at the professional level, especially after all the experience he's gained with you?
COACH YORK:  I kind of like to echo with the college experience, I don't take too many probing questions here.
But he's going to have a good career with the Boston Bruins.  If his knees can stay relatively healthy, because he's battled those for three, four years with us, that would be a big test for him.
We've given him time off during the year with his knees.  We're fortunate this year he never missed a game.

Q.  Did you say earlier in the week that Parker didn't even get an honorable mention vote for your all‑conference team?
COACH YORK:  There were a lot of Duke graduates making those selections.  Now, people get preconceived notions as you go through the year, and here are our best goaltenders, and they're probably accurate through late January.  But if you watch the progression of February and March, it clearly was‑‑ I wouldn't trade him for any other goaltender in our league.
But his body of work probably from October through late January, is probably an accurate reflection of his ability.  But I'd love to have seen some coaches change their mind late February after they watch what he did here.
But he's an outstanding player for us and overcame a lot of adversity by sitting on the bench for a few different games and came back.  So it's good to see that perseverance there.

Q.  With three championships now in five years, it's almost an unprecedented stretch.  Before that stretch you had a stretch where you kind of were knocking on the door and always getting there but not quite getting through.  Is there some refinement of the blueprint, as you put it, that you've made?
COACH YORK:  No.  I think that some of those losses easily could have been more championships.  I look at Neil Koepke and Michigan State, I thought we had that game.  And late in the third period it was changed around.  We lost a heartbreaker to North Dakota one time.
Wisconsin, we were right in the ballpark.  Gee, I thought we tied it up right at the very end in Milwaukee.  If you get the title game and you play very well, that's the blueprint.
And if you keep knocking on the door enough times you're going to win.  But I think‑‑ Bob was so accurate.  I had to sit down and think:  Hey, we won a title but, now, listen, if you're going to be a lifer, he said‑‑ I said, yeah, I'm going to be a lifer.  Start thinking about the type of players you're going to recruit, how you coach them, your assistant coaches, your travel plans.
And I think we've been knocking on a lot of doors.  That 2001 team was a breakthrough for us.  We played three straight.  Marty Turco beat us in OT in Boston.  But I think the'01 team with Brian Johnson and Chuck Kobasew, that got us going, I think.

Q.  Johnny just moved into the top five in scoring among BC freshmen in history.  You look back, being part MVP, was that part of the great freshman runs?
JOHNNY GAUDREAU:  No question.  He's right there with freshmen Benny Eaves and Chuck Kobasew.  He's right in that mix of players.  He's certainly had a huge, huge impact on college hockey.
MODERATOR:  Thank you, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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