Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson and Michigan State goaltender Jeff Lerg in the post-game handshake line following the Irish 3-1 win over the Spartans.

NCAA Hockey West Regional Post-Game Press Conferences

March 30, 2008

Colorado Springs, Colo. – Post-Game Press Conference University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Head Coach Jeff Jackson opening statement:

“Obviously we are thrilled. This was a step forward from last year. It’s part of the process of building a great program. I’m extremely proud of the kids for what they handled. There was a lot of adversity in the second half of the season. They still stayed strong as a group, and it gives us the opportunity to continue our season and play in the Frozen Four for the first time in Notre Dame history.”

Question: It seemed like Michigan State had a lot of jump the first five minutes?

Goaltender Jordan Pearce

“They came out strong, but we expected them to come out hard. We just had to stay focused and weather the storm. I made some big saves and I had to do what I had to do to get the win. My forwards came through for me at the end of the game for me, so it worked out.”

Question: What does it mean to play in this game?

Jordan Pearce

“It is such a fun experience to play in both games, being out there and getting the win. Last year I learned you got to play your best games at the biggest moments. I just wanted to go out there and play my game and make save after save. And just worry about the next shot.”

What did you think about the no goal call in the second period?

Forward Mark Van Guilder

“It was another tough call, but we have had that happen a few times to us. We were real calm on the bench just sitting there waiting for the call. What ever the decision, we had to keep coming. You can’t let something like that kill your momentum.”

Question: Talk about the lost of Erik (Condra) and what you had to do in this tournament?

Forward Christian Hanson

“Erik was our best player, when he went down he told me that I was going to have to pick it up. I was just fortunate to have some good wingers this weekend.”

Question: (For Jeff Jackson) Just talk about the program and what this means to you.”

Jeff Jackson

“When the Notre Dame job became available it was something I knew that if I had the opportunity that’s where I wanted to go. It was some place that I wanted to go when I was seventeen years old and couldn’t afford to. I love the storied tradition. I’ve always been a huge Knute Rockne fan and obviously some of the great football coaches.”

Question: Did you know that Jordan Pearce was capable of being a big game goalie?

Jeff Jackson

“Coming in I knew Brad Phillips was going to take some time cause he is a young kid right out of high school. Jordan (Pearce) over the last two years worked really hard, he didn’t complain. I think David Brown as good of goaltender as he was he had the ability to play every night, and that’s the only thing I didn’t know about Jordan (Pearce). He’s proven all year that he can do it.”

Michigan State Spartans

Head Coach Rich Comley opening statement

“Congratulations to Notre Dame. I thought they did a great job. I knew exactly what type of game they would play and Jeff had them ready. It was a very good hockey game and I thought we started well, they took over and then we settled down. At 1-1 you knew that the next goal was going to be a critical goal and unfortunately we turned the puck over and they converted it. We did it to them last year and they did it to us this year.”

“I do want to thank Colorado College for hosting this. It was a great site and we enjoyed it very much. We knew that it was going to be a very tough region. The experience was tremendous and we’re not leaving here with any bad feelings.”

“I would also like to say that at this place this game is so close and teams are so even. If you look back to a year ago in Grand Rapids, Notre Dame plays a double-overtime game against Alabama Huntsville and we come out of a not real difficult 5-1 game against BU; it had an effect on Notre Dame the following night. This weekend Notre Dame has a relatively easy game against New Hampshire and we had to fight for our life against a really good CC team and it did take a lot out of us. I don’t think we ever got to where we were last night; but that’s just hockey.”

Question: Did Notre Dame have extra motivation this year?

Goaltender Jeff Lerg

“You could tell they were pretty hungry out there and that’s what happens when it’s the playoffs and it’s down to desperation time. Their captain just executed in the last five minutes and that was really the difference. We had chances and they had chances, and they just capitalized on a good turnover. They just played a good game. We know how it feels on the winning side and how it feels on the losing side. It’s part of the game.”

Question: What is your assessment of Notre Dame’s defense?

Forward Justin Abdelkader

“We knew coming in that they were a really defensive team and they didn’t give us too much. We struggled early cycling the puck; we didn’t really maintain possession like we wanted to. We have to give credit to Notre Dame’s defense.”

Question: What will you take away from this season?

Justin Abdelkader

“It was a really good season. For the most part it was a solid season and not too much of a roller coaster. Obviously it is disappointing not making it to the Frozen Four for the CCHA but I think beating Colorado College last night on their home ice was pretty huge. I don’t know if that game took some out of us for today, but it was tough. Colorado College had only lost two games on their home ice all year so it was good beating them. You have to give Notre Dame credit because they really wanted it; we wanted it too, but they played with desperation from last year after what we did to them.