March 30, 2008
2008 NCAA MEN'S ICE HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP
NORTHEAST REGIONAL · DCU CENTER · WORCESTER, MASS.
BOSTON COLLEGE POST GAME PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
MARCH 30, 2008
Head Coach Jerry York, Senior Defenseman Mike Brennan, Freshman Forward Joe Whitney
York: I thought Miami had an outstanding hockey team, and we knew that going into the game. Thirty-three wins in a conference that had already sent two teams to the Frozen Four, we weren't surprised that the game went on. They're a dangerous team offensively and they're very dangerous defensively. I thought their goaltender was very good also, particularly the save he made on Danny Bertman in the last minute was a real big time save. To advance out of regionals, for us to go through the types of teams that we did, I'm really proud of them. Minnesota was an outstanding team and I thought Miami was an even better hockey team, so that's why it's so difficult to get to the Frozen Four. It's always been a difficult process to go through the teams in the region that are all excellent. I thought tonight's game was a real good battle; they had us down 2-0 and had control of the game. We got our three rapid fire goals that gave us more life and more energy that was the key to the hockey game. When they were up 2-0, they were controlling everything. The third period, late there was a turnover and Miami scored to tie it. The OT itself, I thought Miami clearly had the better chances, the better play. The assistant coaches on the bench said we should call a time out here, so we called the time out and reassured the kids to not think about Denver or the chance to go to the Frozen Four, let's try to win a hockey game. I feel excellent about our club and really excited about going to Denver.
Mike, how were you feeling when you were down 2-0 and in the penalty box?
Brennan: It doesn't feel good being in the box, especially in a tight game like that when you want to get some momentum going. Our penalty kill was fantastic and I couldn't ask for more. Hopefully down the line I don't put our team in that position again.
Joe, can you take us through the game winner?
Whitney: I saw a 3-on-2, 3-on-3 developing, and I saw Danny Bertram going down the right wing. He usually goes down the middle of the ice to try to get to the net, but I know Danny Bertram in practice is always shooting for the far post and I knew the rebound was going to kick out so I was just trying to get a stick on it and fortunately it went in.
Joe, another tournament where the freshmen step up big time. Can you give us your take on what goes into that and why it seems to be consistently happening.
Whitney: It starts with the senior leadership and the upper classmen. They make us feel comfortable in the locker room and on the ice so we are not afraid to make mistakes and just play out there.
You mentioned kicking out the rebounds. Is that something you saw in their goalie, kicking out a lot of rebounds throughout the game?
Whitney: Absolutely, we just try to get pucks to the net and crash the net looking for rebounds. We did it the other day against Minnesota and it has been working for us, so that is what we are trying to do.
Mike, looking at Boston College's record over the past 10 years, how much of today is just knowing how to get out of Regionals and getting to the Frozen Four? This is a team you have now played three times three years in a row in the regionals.
Brennan: We knew that coming in and we knew they were going to be fired up. We knew they were going to come out hard and they came out very hard. The biggest thing was being resilient and I can't say enough about Johnny Muse. He is the backbone. We know the tradition, we understand the tradition 10 years of making. Guys like Marty Reasoner, Gionta, Brooks Orpik, they wear this sweater and they want to win championships when they put that sweater on and I think that's what we are trying to achieve here and I think we have the team to do it.
Joe, how many times did you envision getting an OT game winner like that growing up in Reading in the rinks there?
Whitney: I think it's everyones dream growing up to get an OT winner to send your team to something special. It was a team effort I think we played great. We had a bunch of chances. It could have been anyone on the team.
Miami controlled the play for the most part during overtime. Was there a concern that you guys might be wearing down in overtime?
Brennan: I think our motto is you can bend but you don't want to break ever. I think defensively we were strong they were getting great chances, but like I said Johnny Muse is our backstop and when he has confidence we have confidence. I think we were getting away from our play. We weren't going at them and when coach called that timeout I think we re-evaluated what we wanted to do. We have been on the other side a lot of time when we have been getting all of the chances and then one opportunity. So I don't mind taking it once in a while. It is a great feeling and hopefully we can keep this feeling going.
Whitney: We talk about weathering the storm all the time and I think how close our team is it holds us together.
Joe, you just talked about bending but not breaking and weathering the storm, can you talk about the sense of confidence that still comes from the older players even when you are down 2-0 and having to kill penalties, even when they are carrying the play in the overtime. Talk about that sense of confidence still winds up putting you up as winners today.
Whitney: We all look to our upper classmen the juniors and seniors and we know that they have all been here before and they know how to win. I think they just want to pass it down to the freshmen and sophomores and just keep this tradition going.
How much of a factor was it that BC has gone twice in the past two years to the Frozen Four an influence on you to go to BC?
Whitney: It was huge, I learn so much from these guys. It starts from beginning of the season just the way they practice, how intense they are in the weight room just everything. All the young guys know that is how it is done and you just buy into it and follow their leadership. The tradition is unbelievable and I grew up in the area so it was always my dream to go to Boston College. I felt like I was a part of it when I was a young kid and now it feels awesome to be here.
Mike, can you just talk about the fact that you guys did go the past two years. Was there a beginning of the season talk about going back again? How did you guys approach that?
Brennan: That was definitely one of our goals is the Frozen Four and in between there we have other championships that we are trying to chase one being the Beanpot, one being a regular season title, another one being a Hockey East title. In the process it is not easy, we have been through ups and downs and I think that a lot of people probably felt that this team wasn't going to make it with the ups and downs we were having this year. But I think the 24 guys in that room never doubted the fact that we were going to do it. Everytime we go into overtime we get shoulder to shoulder and we look at each other we know we are going to go out and try as hard as we can. I think the team chemistry is there. I don't know who we are playing either draw I think we are ready and we are going to work hard at it.
Joe, were there any nerves in these two games being a freshman and playing in the tournament for the first time?
Whitney: I didn't have any nerves. I knew the leadership was going to take us and I just had to play as hard as I could.
John Muse, talk about his play, in particular in overtime.
York: I thought he was spectacular, he made some incredible saves, but through the 60 minutes he was like that. He's really developed as a goaltender over the course of the year. I've always thought if your goalkeeper is your best player, you've got a good chance to advance in tournaments. I thought tonight he was clearly our best player.
What role did the Beanpot championship play in tonight's success?
York: Anytime you can win big games on a big stage, it helps your club. We're on a role right now, we've won seven straight and we're playing pretty good hockey against some really outstanding hockey teams.
Where does this team rank in winning big games?
York: I think this is best team that I've had as far as making the most out of what we have. The confidence level, we just seem to get things done whether it's on the offensive side or the defensive side. When you start going to these Frozen Fours, all of a sudden you feel like you belong there. The toughest part is to go to them.
Discuss the pace of play, and the way that Miami dictates that during a game.
York: I think they're a good club, they're from a strong league and won 33 games. That's hard to do. Probably their best player isn't playing with [Nathan] Davis with the bad shoulder. We had to take a few hits but we have a good club and we're going to come back and play.
Discuss the juniors and seniors and their frustration the last couple of years. What are they saying this time?
York: We want to win it, there's no question. We're giving ourselves a chance to win it by getting to those championship level games. I think we've won a lot of tough games to get us those points, but that's the nature of our sport. We've had to win a lot of big games to get to this point.
You're 8-for-11 in Frozen Fours. How does this fulfill your coaching career?
York: I think it's a great reflection on our university, their tremendous interest in building a good hockey team. They give us all the tools and resources. It's been outstanding play for us during the last 11 years, throughout all the Frozen Fours. We're 1-1 and we want to win some more, but they're hard to do, there's always tough teams when you get there.
You've come up one game short the last two years, did you make any changes in the offseason for this year?
York: No, to get to where we were we couldn't look back. We're very proud of the fact that we get to that last game and the last period and we had a great chance to win both games. We're certainly not going to change a thing.
Going into this tournament, did you sense that Joe Whitney was the type of player that would elevate his ability to this level?
York: No question, he's got a lot of confidence, he's had a very good year. Certainly, he's a brilliant player and players like that on big stages they can perform.
How many times did you feel you had to get the team to refocus during the huge swings of momentum in the game?
York: I think that's part of playing big games. That's got to be expected a little bit. When we were at Maine, we just lost to them and we had played lousy and had a team meeting afterwards. I mentioned to the players, "It's a shame you can't come with me. I have a ticket to Denver. I have everything because I need to be at the Frozen Four. It's a shame you won't be there, it's something really special. We're not going to be there as a team and that's the worst feeling for any college coach." That really got the players thinking. I think they really asserted themselves and become a much stronger team.