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NCAA MEN'S FROZEN FOUR


April 11, 2013


Ben Hanowski

Drew Leblanc

Bob Motzko


PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

Quinnipiac 4
St. Cloud State 1


COACH MOTZKO: This is a tough thing they have you do, ten minutes, they call it a cooling off period. Two warriors right beside me here to come in here. It's awful tough. I think we'd do anything to replace the first ten minutes of the hockey game.
We give Quinnipiac credit, and Samuels‑Thomas made two great plays to get in the lead. They scored three of the first four shots. We hunkered back down, but we just couldn't overcome it. And Hartzell was outstanding tonight. That's probably the end of the story, but it doesn't tell the story of this hockey team.
That 11 minutes doesn't define our hockey team. They have tremendous heart and character. They're a hurting group. They came here with heart today to get her done. Eleven minutes weren't very good for us. They battled back like champions, and give Quinnipiac credit.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the players?

Q. For either of you guys, this is an impossible question to answer, I know, but it's still been a heck of a year. What you guys have done thus far is still really impressive. Can you take any consolation at all from the fact that you've had this season that you came down to one of the last four teams in the country still playing?
BEN HANOWSKI: I don't think so right now. Today was tough. I don't know. That's all I've got for you.
DREW LEBLANC: Well, I mean, in a couple of days when everything kind of sets in and I think we have an awful lot to be proud of. Hopefully we put St. Cloud State hockey on the map and laid the foundation and ground work now for things to come.

Q. Drew, did Quinnipiac's team's speed surprise you at all? I noticed at one point in the first period you were back defending a semi break way there. It seemed that they really played with speed there. What did you think?
DREW LEBLANC: They're a great team. Obviously, they've been top in the country all season for a reason. They've got a lot of upperclassmen. I don't know if they just came out buzzing and we came out flatfooted or what, but I don't think anything is a surprise to us. Like Coach said, we want ten minutes back. If we come out different, it's a different game.

Q. Drew, is there anything you can attribute that slow start to? Any sign that it was coming or any reason or explanation for it?
DREW LEBLANC: I don't think so. You wouldn't think, you know, you're coming out to play the biggest game of your life. You don't expect to come out flatfooted. I don't know with the other game going into overtime and delaying us a bit. But give them credit. They handled it better than us. They came out flying; we came out flat, and it really decided the game.

Q. Can either of you guys talk about how good Hartzell was? And how discouraging it was to get behind 3‑0 given as good as he was playing?
BEN HANOWSKI: Yeah, he was outstanding. He showed why he's up for the Hobey, and over 30 shots, he only gives up one. He played great tonight. We didn't do a great job of capitalizing our chances early. He got into a good groove and he was in it all night.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, thank you very much, and congratulations on a great season. We can finish with your questions for Coach Motzko.

Q. Could you talk about the turning point where I think you guys were on a power play and Drew hits the post on what would have been a snipe of a shot, and it comes right back, and 19 seconds later they make it 3‑0?
COACH MOTZKO: Yeah, it could have been. At that point, even at 2‑0, I think we had a number of quality chances. Hartzell was great. He stood tall to the task and we do. We hit the type on the one. We had two or three great opportunities on that power play, and they get it short right at the end of it there. Turning point, it buried us there at that point.
We just did not need another mistake right there, and give them credit. I really think that Samuels‑Thomas, with those two plays at the beginning of the game, he was going against one of the best defensemen in the country. He makes a great power play and power move down low on both plays. We weren't able to battle back with Hartzell in net. I thought it was kind of simple. They just made two big plays to get them started in the game. Then we were trying to get back at 3‑1.
We did exactly what we wanted to do, score the next goal. We hunkered down. We only held them to limited shot there's in the second period. We make just a crushing play when they scored their fourth goal.
But when you bury yourself at this time, it's going to be difficult to get back. I really attribute it to that young fellow that made those two plays.

Q. Coach, is Quinnipiac, what their record and ranking says they are? In hindsight, how would they measure up to some of the other teams you've faced in this tournament?
COACH MOTZKO: Well, they're an outstanding team. They play with confidence. When you get a lead, it's easy to play with confidence. You have a goalie playing that way, and his numbers have proven that he's been that way all year.
So, I mean, they stood up as tall as any team we've played this year. We want to go back and redo the first 11 minutes, that's really it, and see the outcome. You can't do that, but that's just what stings right now.

Q. Any thought about Joey Benik and the playoffs he had, and what he might have done with a full season and what he could do next year?
COACH MOTZKO: That's probably the best point. Joey's future. That's what he's done his entire career is score goals. And we saw it coming with the weeks leading up to the playoffs. We were battling in our regular season, and then when he finally‑‑ when he finally scores that one goal or gets that two‑point night, the confidence comes, and you could see it coming. I think it speaks volumes for‑‑ it tells the story of what he's going to be in the future.

Q. Quinnipiac is a team that's been able to score in bunches. They've done it a couple times in the last few weeks in big games, whether it was to give them a lead or to come back first period, third period. Can you just talk about, for lack of a better term, the psychological effect of playing a team that can do that and score that quickly?
COACH MOTZKO: I don't know if there was a psychological effect before the game to know that they could do it. It hit us upside the head quickly in the game though. Our success this year in 25 wins, and I might be off by a number, but I think in most of those 25 wins we only gave up two goals or under. I think we only won one game where we gave up three.
So we put ourselves in a big hole. But we had the ability to play a very solid defense, but I think we did that after we hunkered back down. We put ourselves in a tremendous bind when we needed to come from behind. They're a great defensive team. That was the bad thing about the hockey game after 11 minutes. The next 15 minutes, it was us trying to hammer it through and we're going to have to make mistakes. I didn't like how we didn't get the puck deep so many times when we tried to get a little cute, and that's what happens when you start to play from behind.
There was a huge psychological advantage because defending for them was easy. It's awfully difficult. We needed a break. Our power play needed to score for us. At 3‑1, we had a number of power play opportunities and, if, and but, it might have been different. Give Quinnipiac all the credit tonight.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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