March 23, 2006
Pearl: "We started pretty well and consistently played well all season. That's probably been the sign of our team, is being able to each game compete. We didn't blow anybody out throughout the season, but we did win a lot of games. It's a good group, it's a senior leading group. We have seven of them and they're all pretty key contributors for us, and they've all had outstanding careers. So for us to get to the western regional and have a shot to play in the national tournament is really exciting for our program, and a great accomplishment to these guys and I think well deserved.
"I think what you'll see out of us tomorrow night, is that we're not an overpowering offensive team, but we're pretty good defensively and we score when we need to, and we've done pretty well with the special teams."
Tyler, what do you think about being in a field with strong tradition teams like Minnesota, Michigan and North Dakota?
McGregor: "We had the opportunity to come out west two years ago, so this is nothing new to us. But anytime we do come out here it's obviously a bigger stage than what we're typically used to."
Pierre, do you feel there is a margin for error for you guys?
Napert-Frenette: "No. We don't. Obviously we know how good Minnesota is, we hear about them all the time, Kessel, Potluny... We know we're going to have to play a great game.
"But we're also confident that we can do that, we know Tony (Quesada) is going to have to have a great game, but he's been doing it all year. As long as we come out and we're ready to play, as soon as the puck drops, we have a chance as long as we have 21 guys believing that then we can go out there and win the game."
Coach, is it a disadvantage to not play this caliber of teams early in the season?
Pearl: "No because we have played some, we were up at the Ohio State tournament and at RPI's tournament, we played UMass and up at Dartmouth. The nature of our schedule is that we're going to play the bulk of our games within our league, which the RPI does not consider as strong. But those six out of league games are on the road and usually what we try to do is schedule the best that we can, it's certainly a two way street there, it's not like we're not trying to schedule these teams. The other thing is that you get into these situations and all of that outside stuff becomes a factor if you let it, it's still going to come down to skating and making simple plays, we're just going to have to do it at a much quicker pace. Even if we played in the WCHA when we played Minnesota we'd be playing the best of the best right? So it's a step up when you tee it up with these guys no matter who you are in the country, not just Holy Cross."
Tyler, is not taking penalties, not turning the puck over something that coach has stressed to you again?
McGregor: "That's something that we've stressed all year. We're one of the least penalized teams in the nation so we're pretty used to not taking penalties. Our penality kill is pretty good to, and we feel confident in the fact that we know what to do in a given defensive situation neutral zone situation. Turnovers are not a big part of our game either, it's something that from day one we've stressed on cutting that out. That's kind of how coach Pearl has built Holy Cross hockey around defense."
Coach: Don Lucia
Players: Danny Irmen, Ryan Potulny
Lucia: "I think for us, your always excited to get into the NCAA tournament. I think for the last month it was pretty well known that we were going to be coming to Grand Forks. It's good from the standpoint that we're familiar with the facility, I think it's exciting that there will be good crowds, because sometimes you get into the NCAA and play in front of 2,000 or 3,000 people in an 8,000 seat arena and that's obviously not going to happen this weekend. We're trying to do as much homework as we can on Holy Cross, the one thing we do know is that they have 10 guys that played against North Dakota two years ago and they are very much a veteran team. They are 4-2 against teams from established conferences and the one thing that we've seen since this leagues been in the NCAA tournament is they've played everybody extremely well including last year when Boston College won by a goal. Our focus has been all week on Holy Cross and nothing more."
Ryan, this is Holy Cross' 2nd tournament appearance, can you kind of contrast the programs not only being East/West but the fact that you guys have historically been in this NCAA tournament 30 times, and not taking them lightly?
Potulny: "Any time you get into the NCAA's obviously you're a pretty good team. Yeah we've been here and played in the past, but that doesn't do us any good right now. We're going to have to come out and play well tomorrow night, because like coach said, they've got good numbers and they've played some teams very hard. We're going to have our hands full and we're going to have a tough game tomorrow night."
Coach, can you talk about your words to Kellen (Briggs)?
Lucia: "Obviously this time of the year goaltending is so important, and this is an opportunity for any goalie to establish themselves in the playoffs, and show what kind of identity you have. The regular season is one thing, but you talk about a .90 save percentage is good during the regular season but the reality is this time of the year you probably need .92/.93 to really advance deeper or really win it all at the end."
Danny, how much do you forget about last week?
Irmen: "It was pretty easy. After the game was done we just wanted to forget about it, we knew what we had ahead of us, big weekend, now you lose your done. There's no more excuses, you've got to forget about what happened and worry about the team you play on Friday night and hope things go your way."
How do you guard against the outside stuff and focus on Holy Cross?
Irmen: "The minute you get on the ice, you forget everything, and you've got to go out there and play your hockey and win the game. We haven't looked ahead at all and that's one thing we've really focused on and worrying about Holy Cross only. Two other teams have to worry about each other on Friday night. We just want to go out against Holy Cross and play our best hockey and hope things go our way."
Ryan, is there any added pressure or maybe a comfort factor for being back in Grand Forks?
Potulny: "Yeah I think there's a little bit of both. I think obviously its comfortable coming back home, the surroundings you know a lot of people around here. There's pressure anytime, wherever your going to be at this time in the season, there's pressure for your top scorers and leaders to step up and maybe coming back here is a little more pressure, but it's a good pressure it's in a good way, it makes you rise to the occasion so I know Danny and I are excited to be back here and the team is excited to play here to because the fans are great in Grand Forks and it's just a great atmosphere for hockey so it should be a fun weekend."