TRANSCRIPT: Minnesota Duluth reacts to 3-2 loss to BU

Head Coach Scott Sandelin

Opening Comments

“First of all, congrats to David [Quinn] and BU. It was a great hockey game, just unfortunate the way it ended. Hats off to them…a lot of back and forth, zone time for both teams in certain situations but they made a play at the end, right at the end of the power play, won a hockey game…they’re moving on and we’re not.”

Penalty call near end of game

I was surprised [at the call]. There are things you can’t control, all we can control is trying to kill it, we almost did and they ended up making a great play and scoring the winning goal. It’s frustrating sometimes but just trying to get our guys focused on the penalty and we almost did. Tried to keep it 2-2, keep the game going…try to win in regulation or try to win it in overtime.

Game control in third

“We talked about the same thing. They came out and had probably a little more jump. It’s tough to generate anything when they were winning races and getting pucks to the net, which they do very well. We had some long, extended shifts. They only had two shots one time they had the puck a lot and sometimes you have to weather those. They’re a good hockey team with some offensive players and we knew that they were going to put pucks at the net all night and they came pretty hard in third. At the end of the day, it was still 2-2 and they had some chances and we had a few, not as many as in the first couple of periods just unfortunate it has to end on that.”

Willie Raskob’s play

“He went through some ups and downs this year but the second half and certainly the latter part of the year, he really played well and I think you saw a real strong weekend from him, things that he can do. He’s still young—he’s a sophomore, but he was a true freshman, it was nice to see. Next year he’s going to be a key component back there [on defense] like he was this year, but a year older.”

Kasimir Kaskisuo’s play

“I think he’s played great all year, he’s had a tremendous year for a freshman and he’s been a backbone for us. He made timely saves, key saves at a lot of moments in the year….you need great goaltending to win games and they got to steal games for you. Today was no different, he was just solid, it was nice to see him grow as the year went on. For me, it was just another game that he played well in.”

Eichel and Minnesota Duluth Defense “You can sit and focus on him…you have to pay attention on any team to the best players. He’s certainly a great hockey player that’s a threat any time he’s out there and our guys did a good job. Like every team there’s other players, that’s no different throughout the year, his linemates are good. I thought their fourth line had some good shifts, some good energy shifts with some good looks. It happens sometimes when they don’t get points but they’re still a factor in the game and he certainly is one of those players. Most of the times it might not seem like those guys are getting points but they are doing other things but they find a way to make that play….he’s a pretty special player.

Younger Players Experience (this weekend)

“When you start the year you have goals for your team—regular season, regular season championship, tournament championship and then the ultimate is to be one of the teams playing at this time of the year. We fell one step short of step three, which is getting to the Frozen Four. You can talk about all the experiences but they have to go to live this, for our seniors, this is the second time for them unfortunately it had to end this way just like it did when they were freshman but hopefully our young guys can get some experience knowing how hard it takes to is to get to this point, how hard it is to continue past this point…in one game shots they’re difficult.

You can’t control bounces, you can’t control those types of things but I think any of these experiences are good for all your players especially your young guys. Hopefully they come back extremely motivated and try to get here again and to try to go further, the ultimate goal is to win a national championship, we had a chance but we just fell a little short so they should take some good experience from it.”

Sophomore forwards Kyle Osterberg and Alex Iafallo

On how this experience will help next year

Osterberg: “It’s our first time coming to the tourney so it was a pretty special experience. Being still young, I think we can take out the experience and do it next year.”

On the senior leadership

Iafallo: “Our seniors had great leadership throughout the whole year. I’m proud of them and I want to thank them for the whole season. They showed us all the ways to score and to play hockey, so it was fun being with them.”

On the team’s offensive effort

Iafallo: “I thought we had a couple chances and we could have buried those. We could have had a couple bounces but that’s how hockey is. BU had a good game so you have to respect them. It’s a tough one to swallow, but that’s how it goes, I guess.”

On BU taking control late in the game

Iafallo: “I guess they just through everything at us but we held our ground. I thought it was going our way but they just kept throwing pucks on the net.”

On being a victim of tough breaks

Osterberg: “It’s things that we can’t control. We did what we had to throughout the game by playing the way that we should have. Give credit to BU for taking advantage of that opportunity.”

On if the close loss stings more than a blowout

Iafallo: Of course it stings. It’s not how you want to end a season. I didn’t expect that to happen.”

On if the team got the effort they wanted

Osterberg: “Yes, definitely. I thought everybody played their hearts out. The seniors got us ready for each and every game and I think it was shown on the ice that those guys were the ones that really carried the team throughout the weekend.”

TRANSCRIPT: Evan Rodrigues and Matt Grzelcyk following BU’s 3-2 win over Minnesota Duluth

Rodrigues on his first goal

“At the end of practice we play games where we bat pucks up in the air and just start wacking them. So I kind of knew I had a beat on it and I’d make contact.”

Grzelcyk on Evan’s game-winning goal

“It was unbelievable. It’s something that he’s done quite a lot over his four years here. To have that patience down that stretch-we’ve really relied on him, Jack, Danny and guys who can perform in the clutch. As soon as I passed it to him, I wanted him to shoot because he seemed to be wide open, but he made a great play and just a great shot after that.”

Grzelcyk on a senior scoring the game-winning goal

“I honestly can’t think of anyone who is more deserving. Him and Cason just meant a lot to this program and we’ve been through a lot of adversities these past couple years. I’m sure it’s a great feeling for him to see the puck go in the back of the net.”

Grzelcyk on Rodrigues being the hottest scorer in the nation since January

“Getting the opportunity to play with Jack and Danny is second to none. When we came back from Christmas, we wanted to make sure that we amped up our play, but he’s been electric all year. Seems like every time he gets the puck it seems like he’s making a play. Everybody knows that he has the skills, but not everybody knows he is one of the hardest workers on the team and he really sets the tone for the rest of the guys in the locker room.”

Rodrigues on Brandon Fortunato’s play tonight and his assist

“He’s been strong for us all year. We have four Freshman defensemen and it seems like every game they show up and they’re very consistent for being Freshmen. He’s been good all year. He seems to always make the right play and he’s extremely smart. He never gets caught in bad situations and he never makes the wrong play which is kind of surprising for a Freshman. It was a great play. The puck came across and he pinched up on the D, there was a battle for the puck and he just wacked it. It went flying up in the air and I took a nice swing at it.”

Rodrigues on his four years at BU

“Me and Cason have been through quite a bit of diversity starting our Freshman year. Then we came back, we had a good Sophomore year. We were one goal away from making it to the tournament. We were one of the hottest teams in the country going into that game and that was kind of heartbreaking. Then, obviously, last year was the exact opposite of what BU hockey is. it just seemed like nothing went our way. One goal games. Bounces. So this is just an incredible feeling. Even our juniors have been through it all. They came in the full front of the task force and they’ve done an unbelievable job of playing through adversity and leading this team. Especially ‘Grz’, you couldn’t ask for a better captain. To get back to the garden and into the Frozen Four for our Senior year, you couldn’t cap it off any better way.”

Grzelcyk on getting to the Frozen Four in Boston

“It’s obviously pretty cool. I think I’d be just as excited if the Frozen Four were anywhere else. Obviously, we’ve had a pretty good amount of success at the Garden so it’ll be nice to get back on familiar ice. I’m sure the guys will be excited to be back in the environment.”

Rodrigues on being a clutch leader

“I think my sophomore year I had a good stretch and a good season. After what we went through last year, coming into this year I knew I didn’t want my senior year of my career at BU to not be what I expected to be. I’ve been putting as much work as I possibly can to make this a special season. I think I’ve just gained more and more confidence throughout this year and I’m getting to play with two great linemates. I’m trying to keep my work ethic consistent to help me with the results and our team.”

TRANSCRIPT: BU coach David Quinn after 3-2 win over Minnesota Duluth

Opening statements

“Well, I’m running out of things to say. I can’t tell you how proud and happy I am for every guy on our team. It’s just been an incredible season so far. We know that there’s still a big challenge ahead of us. But we’re certainly going to enjoy this over the next few days. I don’t know if I’ve ever been around a bunch of guys that work as well together as our guys do, that care about each other as much as our guys do. The work ethic is second to none. The commitment to each other is unmatched. It’s just been an incredible six, seven months. We certainly understand that our work isn’t done yet, but we’ll think about that after these next few days because these guys deserve to enjoy what they’ve just experience. Especially the guys who return from last year after what we went through.”

A huge reason is the two guys to my right (Matt Grzelcyk and Evan Rodriques). Not only are they star plays, they’re star people. Our room is littered with star people and it’s really been a special, special group.

I wasn’t surprised how that game unfolded. It was kind of like a heavyweight fight. We controlled the first few rounds. Almost had a couple of opportunities to deliver a knockout punch. Then they’d come back and dominate for about 10 or 12 minutes. Then we’d come back and dominate for about 10 or 12 minutes.

After two periods you’ve got a 2-2 tie and then I thought that we did what we do best. I thought we played a great third period. We were relentless. We were smart. And we just did the things we needed to do to win an incredibly important hockey game and extend our season”

On the thin margin between winning and losing

“At this time of the season, every opponent is going to give you a lot of difficulty. They wouldn’t be playing if they weren’t. In the all-important third period I thought we took control of the game. Whoever we play a week from Thursday, they’re going to pose a problem for us or they wouldn’t be in the Frozen Four. There’s a lot of good hockey teams out there. There’s a small margin of error in every college hockey game and that margin gets smaller and smaller the later you player.”

On winning 39 of 61 faceoffs

“If you look back, we have actually come a long way on faceoffs because the first few months we were so horrific. . . . We’ve been a much better faceoff team. It’s tough to shake a reputation because we were a bad faceoff team early and people just keep saying that. I guess I’m surprised at how well we did tonight, but it’s been a much better part of our game over the last two or three months.”

On defenseman Doyle Somerby

“He was immense. He had a great first half. Thought he was kind of OK for a period of time and he’s really elevated his game. He’s been a lot more decisive. He’s making good decisions. Very active on the forecheck. Did a great job the last 20 seconds with the goalie pulled. You have a tendency when the other team has six and you have five to kind of sit back and watch. We did that when they almost scored. I thought after that, OK, the guy’s got the puck let’s go defend him. Everybody else has to protect, but don’t give him time. He did a great job jumping. The guy had the puck down by the left of our goalie with about eight or nine seconds to go and people were indecisive and Doyle took charge.”

TRANSCRIPT: BU coach David Quinn following 3-2 OT win over Yale

Opening Statement:

“What a hockey game. I’d like to congratulate Yale on a great season. It’s no mystery why they’re in this tournament. They play as hard as anyone we play against, they’ve got a great goalie. It really was everything that we thought it would be. We knew it would probably come down to a one-goal game — possibility of overtime.

I think this game, in a lot of ways, was a microcosm of our season. I thought we looked a little nervous early, give a lot of credit to Yale for the way we played early, I thought they were at their “A” game, they were just a half-a-step quicker, winning a lot of battles and then it was funny, once they went up 1-0, I thought we just started playing better. It was almost like the pressure was off. We’re a lot more comfortable being down then we are ahead for some reason and I just thought after that, we started playing,

I thought for the most part, early in the game, I thought our defense were backing off quite a bit, they weren’t involved in the offense. We were turning pucks over — again, give Yale a lot of credit, they’ve got great sticks, they’re quick on loose pucks — but I really liked after we went down 1-0, I thought we started playing. It was almost like, it was a little bit of a relief, the pressure is off for some strange reason, don’t ask me why, and after that, I thought we played the way we needed to play.

In the second period, we didn’t have a shot in between the hash marks, and you’re not beating anybody, let alone Yale, if you’re gonna play that way. I thought in the last three or four minutes, we did a good job in the second period, then in the third period, I thought we did all the things we needed to do. I thought we did the things we did against Merrimack and Lowell and we got rewarded for it.

To get the goal in the fashion that we did — our D got involved offensively, Somerby makes a great play on the overtime goal, pinches in, keeps the puck alive — Jack backs him up, Evan and Danny get to the net front, Jack gets a puck to the net and Danny gets a rebound overtime goal and we’ve seen that movie before.

Just an unbelievable game. Again, a microcosm of our season in many ways. We’re just fortunate and excited about playing again tomorrow night.”

On a night where one of your freshmen might have had a little nerves, how important was it to have guys like Rodrigues, O’Regan and Grzelcyk have such good nights and be such integral parts of the win?

“Well, that’s always important. That’s what kind of gets lost in the success we’ve had this season. As Evan alluded to, we are the youngest team in college hockey. Again, because of our record, I think people at times can loose sight of that, but one of the reasons we’ve been able to overcome our slow starts, why we’ve had great third periods, why we’ve had the season we’ve had, is because of our leadership. And I’m not just talking about four seniors, I mean, our juniors, our sophomores have assumed a leadership and its kind of got contagious throughout the roster. It’s just, we never think we’re out of it. … It was eerie the way the feeling kinda changed on the bench when we went down 1-0. Everybody seemed to be a little bit looser and we started to do the things we needed to do if we’re gonna generate offense and have some of the success we’ve had through the season. Without question those guys are pivotal to our success. They really set the tone for our season, They embraced a big freshman class and I’ve said this before — we are a true team — and that certainly plays a large part to how our retuning players accepted the freshmen.”

What does it say about your team that you didn’t let Yale’s comeback offerings deflate them?

 “You know, at this time of year, you’re not gonna spend 60 minutes in the offensive zone. You’re playing good hockey teams and you’re gonna have to weather a storm, you’re gonna have to fight through a difficult shift. I thought we did a good job of that. Obviously our power play goes 0-for-7, that hasn’t happened very often this year. Give them a lot of credit, I thought they did a great job killing penalties, their goalie obviously was a big part of that, they do a great job with their sticks. They make your earn every inch of ice, but again, no matter what the hump is, we’ve seemed to overcome it so far this year. We’re prob going to have a few bumps in the road in tomorrow’s game no matter who our opponent is. That’s the way it’s gonna be from here on in and in college hockey, that’s usually the way it is night in and night out.”

See any similarities to 2009 team?

“Well, we’re similar in that we’re playing to get to the Frozen Four, but I think our teams are different. That team had a big senior class. We weren’t relying on 8-10 freshmen a night. We knew the year before, we almost made the national tournament, we knew we had a good team. There was a lot of uncertainty going to this season. I think people are probably surprised, maybe not now, but as the season was unfolding, I think people might be surprised at the situation we’re in, because we’re picked to finish sixth in Hockey East and rightfully so after the year we had last year. A lot of people probably didn’t think we’d have a lot of success this season. Obviously, Jack brought a lot of attention and fanfare to us, but we had a lot of good returning players too. But to me, the biggest difference between this team and that team is that team had a lot more experience than this team. It was a little bit more of a veteran-laden team, where as this team, we rely on a lot of freshmen.”

What went through your mind when you saw that you had to play Yale?

“I said to this to the team — I’m sure it happens in all the other sports — you get your draw in the NCAA tournament and you think, ‘Oh god, why are we here? Why are we playing that team? We got screwed.’ Everybody says that. You’ve just gotta play. You’re in the national tournament, you’re playing good hockey teams. You can’t sit there and try to figure our why you’re playing who you’re playing and where you’re playing. You just gotta show up and play the hockey game.

I could hear some of the mumblings after the selection show, our guys are no different that everybody else. 18 year olds always think that someone is trying to screw them. Our guys are no different.”

What was Yale doing to stop you from getting zone time early on?

“Well, they were playing quicker than we were, they were more physical than we were and they were winning more battles. I know that may be simplistic, but that’s the truth. We looked nervous, it’s like Evan and Danny talked about, we are the youngest team in college hockey. I know we’ve been in some pressure situations throughout the last month, but never in a situation where if you lose, your season is over.

We played the Beanpot championship and that’s an exciting, pressure-filled game, but you know you’re gonna play another game. We played the Hockey East semifinals and finals, those are pressure situations, but you know you’re gonna play another game. This is a whole new ballgame. I think it really showed early and again, it says a n awful lot about a team when you can play as poorly as we did and again, I don’t want to discredit Yale. One of the reason we weren’t playing well is because they were playing well, but to be able to turn it on like we did says an awful lot about our mental toughness.”

Transcript: Senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues after loss to UNH

Did you guys think that you had a chance to come back entering the third? 

“Yeah, definitely. We’ve never given up all year long. I think the goalie was making a few good saves and we knew that If we got one, that more would come. I think that’s what happened, we just knew that we had to stick to the game plan and things would turn our way. Just too little, too late.”

How good was it to get back on the score sheet?

“Obviously, it’s nice. I mean, I’d rather take a win than points, but I’m not going to complain.”

Matt Grzelcyk has been on a pretty good streak the last couple games. What do you think has been different about his play, at least offensively?

“I think he’s just getting the bounces now. He’s been great for us all year, he’s been a great captain for us. I just think that at the beginning of the year, some of his shots were getting blocked, they were off the post — this and that — and I think things are just starting to go his way and it’s good to see.”

How much do you think last night’s game contributed to the slow start today?

“I think we were ready, we just didn’t execute. We had a good first couple shifts, they got the first one and then we kind of got away from our gameplan and didn’t work as hard as we wanted to and the results obviously showed. We took way too many penalties and I think they had two or three power play goals. It’s been a trend as of late and it’s something that we need to stop doing.”

Down 3-0, [Quinn] called a timeout and pulled [junior goaltender Matt O’Connor.] What was the message in that timeout?

“I think just to get back. We knew we were not playing the way we wanted to. It wasn’t O’Connor’s fault at all. I think it was one of those things where we needed to figure it out, get back to our gameplan and we just needed a fresh start. We obviously weren’t playing the way that we’re capable of and we just tried to shake things up.”

Transcript: Coach Quinn after loss to UNH

General comments
First of all, a great effort by our guys in the third period, but I’d like to congratulate UNH. I thought they played real well early, I thought they played real well for the weekend. Like I said last night, their record’s real deceiving. We just obviously came up here, and I thought we got off to a decent start. Great chances early, and then just irresponsible play defensively. A lot of puck watching in our end. But they can do that to you. As a coach you’re always trying to wrestle with, are you the cause of not playing well or are they playing well and it’s causing you to be on your heels a bit? I thought it was a little bit of both. But you can’t get down 4-0 to anybody in this league, and give yourself a chance. But we did. I thought when we made it 4-3, I really felt we had the momentum, and they did a good job holding the fort. Just a tough way to start the game, being down 4-0 at the beginning of the third period is just something that — the chances of coming back are minimal. And we almost did it, but didn’t get done.

Final icing call?
One guy thought that the guy gained the line, the other guy thought they tipped it. So I didn’t like either answer.

After post shot at the end of the 2nd, did you think you’d come back out with energy?
Well, based on what we’ve done all year, I did think that. One of the things we talked about was hey, I don’t know if we can come back, let’s just play better. Let’s play better. Let’s feel good getting on the bus. At least we put forth a consistent effort for 20 minutes. And then we get the two quick ones, and all of a sudden the complexion of the game changes in the third. Although I thought we gave up some unnecessary chances after we made it 4-3. We only needed one, and we were playing like it was 4-0. We gave up some great chances to make it 5-3. Our goalie played well, and gave us a chance to tie it. But based on what we’ve done all year, I was anticipating a lot of pushback. I thought we started doing it a lot toward the end of the second, too. But we just couldn’t buy a goal.

Decision to pull O’Connor?
Just momentum. Had nothing to do with his play. He’s played a lot of hockey and I just thought what the heck. They’re not listening to me up to this point so maybe if I pull the goalie they might actually get a little rattled and pay attention. They scored a goal a minute later, so that didn’t really work.

It’s nice because we’re gonna need him to be productive offensively. I really couldn’t believe he only had one goal going into the weekend, so it’s nice to see him score some goals and get rewarded. He’s had a heck of a year.

How did UNH stop top 2 BU lines?
I haven’t criticized our top line too much, but they didn’t have to do too much to defend our line. They were doing a good job defending themselves with their soft play.

What goes into third-period comebacks?
I can’t tell you that. There is a secret formula that we continue to use that we’ve bottled it and we can’t reveal it. (laughter) I have no idea. I wish I could tell you. I have no idea.