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NCAA MEN'S FROZEN FOUR


April 2, 2013


Keith Allain

Andrew Miller


PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

MODERATOR:  Joined by Yale head coach Keith Allain and Andrew Miller.  Coach, an opening statement.
COACH ALLAIN:  On behalf of our team, we're all thrilled to be heading to Pittsburgh to compete for a national championship.
MODERATOR:  Questions.

Q.  Both of you, not to dwell on one individual, but Jesse Root obviously is from Pittsburgh.  He's coming back home.  He's done pretty well.  I would like to hear from both of you about his development, his role on the team, and just overall assessment of his play this year, please.
COACH ALLAIN:  Jesse's been a terrific player for us since he came to Yale.  He's a key cog on our top line.  Sometimes I think of him as the conscience of that line.  He's as good defensively as he is offensively.  He plays on our power play, he plays on our penalty kill.  He's a key component to our team's success.

Q.  Wonder if you can talk about, always coming into these tournaments, this seems to be the emphasis on momentum and peaking at the right time.  But you guys seem to have, quote, peaked earlier in the season and you major league peaked last weekend.  Could you talk about how that momentum shift happened and maybe some of the specifics with regard to your general game plan?
COACH ALLAIN:  For us as a program, one of the things we want to be about is about growth.  And we try to get better each and every day we come to practice.
And I thought we played very good against St. Lawrence in our league championship series, league playoffs, that second round.  And hit a bump in the road in Atlantic City.  And I thought we were back on our game last weekend.
So we see Atlantic City as an aberration.

Q.  Can you talk about maybe couple of the dynamics within the team itself that allowed you to go through, if you will, two pretty tough teams in Minnesota and North Dakota to get to where you are?
COACH ALLAIN:  I think the real dynamic for us are our work ethic and our compete level.  And you compound that with a team game, which is what we try to play, and I think it makes us a formidable opponent.

Q.¬† Can you just discuss‑‑ you're obviously in the Frozen Four, Quinnipiac nine miles away in the Frozen Four, can you just talk about what this has meant for the area, the ECAC, and just having your rivals in the Frozen Four with you?
COACH ALLAIN:¬† I'm not really sure what it means for the area.¬† Our focus right now is on our hockey team and UMASS‑Lowell.

Q.  Andrew, I wanted to pose this question to you.  Last year you guys had lost some key leaders on the team like Brian O'Neill and Nick Jaskowiak, and now I know you are one of the leaders on the team this year.  Can you talk about just being one of the guys that has to lead this team and also just what you and some of the other seniors have done to really kind of have the team stay focused on the goal of just getting here to the Frozen Four?
ANDREW MILLER:  We lost some really good players but we also gained some really good players.  We have a young team and a lot of freshmen that play.
And I think the key was making sure they develop from the first practice to now.  And not only the freshmen but the sophomores and the juniors, too.
We don't really consider our team to have a hierarchy of freshmen to seniors.  We're a group of guys just all battling to get in the lineup.  So if we make that competitive atmosphere throughout every practice and game, we'll be better in the end.  And it's definitely helped us.

Q.  Andrew, what were some of the things that you learned from playing with Brian last year that you feel made you a greater leader this year?
ANDREW MILLER:  Well, Brian is a consistent, good player on the ice.  And he brings it every single night and is extremely competitive.
And all the guys last year obviously knew him well and understood that that's what you need to do to be a good player in college hockey.  And you need a team full of guys that compete every single night.  So we learned that as a team from last year.

Q.  Andrew, Michigan turned up to be a pretty good deal for you guys, not only the day after the ECAC finals.  Michigan loses to let you guys get the last team in the tournament and you head out west and just look great in those series.  So, first of all, what was that day like after Atlantic City waiting on Michigan, and what was the attitude of the team?  Did you feel like you got sort of a second chance and had to take advantage of it?
ANDREW MILLER:  I don't feel like we got a second chance.  The body of work we did in the regular season puts us in a position to play in the tournament.  But after a poor weekend in Atlantic City, we didn't want it to be the way that Michigan had to lose to get in.  But we were happy to get in.  And we came ready to play last weekend.

Q.¬† Coach, you mentioned earlier that your focus is UMASS‑Lowell.¬† Have you had a chance starting to scouting them, looking at tape and are there one or two things about that team that concern you and how would you address that?
COACH ALLAIN:  Yeah, we've been on the phone lines.  We've been downloading games.  So we're starting to develop a pretty good picture of them.  Obviously they're a great team.  They won the regular season hockey.  They won the league championship playoffs.  And a couple of things that really stand out are the team defensive play and the pace they play at, and they're also a team we think, like us, that competes very, very hard.  So we think it will be a great matchup.

Q.  Andrew, two questions.  What was your vantage point of the overtime goal last week in Grand Rapids against Minnesota?  And number two, how do you think that Jesse has progressed from when he entered the program?
ANDREW MILLER:  Well, I was wide open in front of the net for Kenny to pass it to me.  I actually could have buried pretty easily from the pass.
But he looked me off and passed it back to Jesse, which surprised everyone.  It was an unbelievable pass.  Jesse found a good area.
Been a good player for us, as Coach said, for the last three years.  And he competes and he wins faceoffs.  And he's also a really good shooter.  Not many people know that he's one of the best shots on our team and worked on it the past three years and can put the puck away when he gets the opportunity.

Q.  Andrew, similar question as I had for Coach:  Can you talk about how it is to have your rivals at the Frozen Four with you?  Are you going to be rooting for Quinnipiac and how has it affected the buzz around the area?
ANDREW MILLER:  Well, it's great for the ECAC to have two teams in the finals and three in the final six of last weekend.
But we're not worried about the other side of the bracket, as Coach said, we're worried about ourselves firstly and what we're going to do to plan for UMASS‑Lowell.

Q.  You want another shot at them, though?
ANDREW MILLER:  We want a shot to play for a national championship.  So we've put ourselves in a position to do that.  If we get the opportunity to play in a national championship game, that would be great.

Q.  Coach, I want to talk about your freshman class and how guys like Stu Wilson and Rob O'Gara have really been great contributors to your team throughout the year.  Can you talk about their progress as a group and what they have done to help you guys get to the Frozen Four?
COACH ALLAIN:  I mean, you're right.  This freshman class has made a huge contribution to our program.  And I think a lot of the credit goes to the upperclassmen, because the way they embrace these kids when they walk in the door in September and really impart upon them what our culture is like and what it requires to be a successful hockey player here at Yale.
You mentioned Robbie and Stu.  But Carson Cooper has been a great contributor.  Mitch Witek has been a great contributor.  And Ryan Obuchowski has contributed a lot as well.  So it's been real, real important to the level of success we've had so far that those guys have been involved in our team.

Q.  Yale is the first Ivy League team to make it to the Frozen Four since Cornell did it in 2003.  Do you feel that the Ivy League as a whole, the fact that it's been 10 years just goes to show how much better the league has become as a group despite the fact that you guys play fewer games than the rest of the country?
COACH ALLAIN:  I think we all feel that Ivy hockey is as good as any DivisionI hockey in the nation.  We don't have scholarships and our admission standards are a little bit different than everybody else.
But our student‑athletes are as committed or more committed than anyone anywhere in the country.¬† And we want to compete at the highest level both in our sport and academically.

Q.  Andrew, I wanted to kind of get a sense what it's like on campus there for you guys.  What was the reception when you returned with the berth of the Frozen Four, and do you have a sense of what it means to the school?
ANDREW MILLER:  When we returned, it was pretty late.  So we went to class on Monday.  And we're going to class on Tuesday.  So it's a regular week for us.  And obviously the support of the Yale community has been great.  And a lot of people followed our success.  And it's been great to have them behind us.

Q.¬† Coach, after the Atlantic City weekend, what was that next week of practice like?¬† You knew you had the Minnesota coming up from‑‑ a lot of people thought it was the best team in the country all season long.¬† Coming off a disappointment that was Atlantic City, what was the focus and what was the attitude of that practice week for you?
COACH ALLAIN:  We viewed it as a tremendous opportunity.  If you want to compete for a national championship, you have to understand that you have to beat top teams.  And so we took a hard look at Minnesota and we get back to practice on Tuesday and our guys were committed, worked hard.  You saw the results of that effort last weekend.
MODERATOR:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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