Transcription by Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff
First of all, I really thought we would come out and play really well tonight because we had an unbelievably great practice yesterday. There seemed to be a monkey off our back or what have you. It seemed like they all exhaled and were ready to play. We gave up a lot of shots, but we didn’t give up a lot of grade-A shots. That’s a pretty quick team. They can generate offense. I was pleased with our overall effort.
Obviously Kieran Millan had a great night. He made a couple of huge saves. I thought the biggest goal of the night was Saponari’s power-play goal at the end of the second period. They make it 3-1 and we come right back and make it four. A little over a minute later, we get the power-play goal. It was a great pass by Colby Cohen, a great pass. Ross Gaudet is a pretty good story for us, a redshirt freshman, didn’t play a game last year for us, gets two tonight to get his seventh goal. And Nick Bonino gets his 100th point, which was pretty nice.
All in all, I felt we had a very, very solid effort in a lot of ways. Hopefully we’ll feel good about our effort tonight and continue that. I have a feeling this team can go on a run here now because more than that, it was nice with the BC game, but after what happened to us last week with a great game against BC and a not-so-great effort against UNH, to come back tonight and play . . . you can almost feel attitude. Attitude is everything, we tell our team, and it sure was great this week.
How did they get the monkey off their back?
We had a team meeting with the coaches, and the players had a team meeting after that. Accepting responsibility was one of the reasons. Coaches accepting responsibility for being too negative at times on the bench and in their minds – and I think they’re correct – not supporting them enough. After the BC game, they felt like we didn’t have confidence that we could come back and win against UNH. They said a lot of good things to us in the dressing room at the meeting, and then I think we had some things to talk about too, as coaches. And then I think they had some, I don’t know what they said, but what was going on with our meeting when we were with them together was pretty good. I think it was probably even better what was going on with them. It wasn’t very long. I think they got together.
I thought Shattenkirk played extremely well tonight. I thought Bonino played great tonight. I thought Gryba played well tonight. I thought David Warsofsky really gave us a solid game. In general, the big guys stepped up for us, and they stepped up well, and then we got great support. I thought Chris Connolly looked like Chris Connolly with the energy and speed and on the puck, just being a pain in the neck to play against. He was really good tonight, and that’s what he brings to the game. That line played pretty well. Saponari had a great night. A lot of guys played well, but it was more team than individual. The other thing that was nice was they made it 4-2 and then we got two more.
On the line shuffling:
There was just one change. Bonino and Megan switched lines, so them being on the lines made all the lines look really different, but it wasn’t. It was just two changes. I just wanted to get some different looks. I thought Trivino’s line has been playing very well lately, so I didn’t want to change that line. The easiest thing to do is just disrupt the centers and see what happens, and I liked what happened.
On Bonino as a catalyst:
He’s a terrific offensive performer. He’s had his struggles. He got hurt earlier in the year and that set him back. But when he’s skating, when he’s moving his feet . . . his skill is his biggest enemy because he’s so talented with the puck that he wants to play with his hands and beat guys dangling, and he can do it, but he’s much more effective when he’s dangling while he’s moving his feet. He’s much more effective when he’s getting into people and getting the puck instead of reaching for it. There were three or four instances tonight where he was five feet away from the guy and decided to go right through the guy and get his stick right on the puck instead of trying to be cute with it, trying to grab it. I think that pays off for him and it obviously pays off for us.
On playing Bonino with Pereira and Gaudet:
I think he’s the type of guy where he needs some energy guys to play with and I thought the three of them together –– Saponari, Connolly and Bonino –– were trying to get too far in and make too many pretty plays. And I think it slowed Chris down and got Saponari thinking too much out there, and they were both trying to get it too much to Nick. By giving Nick the two other guys, he’s playing with a lot more pace. Certainly, it puts pressure on Nick to be the guy on the line, he doesn’t have to make too many pretty plays, and he got a lot done tonight.
On moving Trivino’s line up:
This is a nice turn of events here. Corey Trivino has been playing pretty well. He’s becoming a real solid defensive centericeman, so I felt comfortable playing that line against Marcou’s line all night, and they did for the most part. I think Bonino’s line got out there a couple of times against them, which is another good defensive line, but for the most part, I would say Trivino’s line played probably 90 percent of the time against them. And we were fortunate a few times, they missed a couple of opportunities, but those guys played pretty hard against him. One of the reasons why they didn’t get as many opportunities as they ordinarily do is that we had the puck down. That line can keep the puck down on their end too.
And I thought Zach Cohen did a real good job tonight. Didn’t get a point. I told him, ‘How many points did you get tonight?’ ‘None.’ I said, ‘I thought you played great.’ So, there’s an example, one point doesn’t show how you played.
Who will get the start Monday?
Kieran Millan will.