March 25, 2016

Recap | Box Score

NCAA Midwest Hockey Regional ââ’¬” Cincinnati, Ohio

On Notre Dame’s Effort:
I thought for the most part we played well. We wanted to get a good start, and I think we did that. We were sticking to our game plans when we were having success. There were a few lapses there, but we stuck by it. Overall, I’m really proud of the guys and how they worked all game.

What did you do after the first five minutes? They had control then you guys really had taken control of the rest of the first period and all of the second period, so they took a little back in the third.
I think just stay patient. They are a talented team and are going to get their chances, but it’s just a matter of staying patient and weathering the storm, and like you said, we did that in the beginning and had some momentum going forward, but it wasn’t enough.

About Notre Dame’s work against the CCM Line [Kyle Connor, JT Compher, Tyler Motte]:
Obviously, you have to be aware when that dynamic line is on the ice, but we definitely stressed keeping the puck on our sticks because that’s the easiest way to defend. I thought we did a good job of that the majority of the game, but like Sam [Herr] said, if they get the chance, they’re going to capitalize.

On the team’s spark in the second period:
Like Sam [Herr] said, we emphasized good starts, and obviously it was a good start with scoring a goal in the first and the second. It was just a matter of maintaining that intensity for the whole rest of the game, and we saw signs of it, but it’s a matter of doing it for the whole game.

How did you keep away from the penalty box, and did you talk about that ahead of time?
That was an emphasis going into practice the last two weeks. We play these top ten teams and every single time we get into penalty trouble, so we emphasized it in practice, do some penalty practice, and take account of it, do a couple of pushups. We just made a little bit of awareness of it.

What did you do after the first five minutes? They had control then you guys really had taken control of the rest of the first period and all of the second period, so they took a little back in the third.
I think the main thing we started doing was moving our feet a little bit. We started chipping the puck behind their [defense], establishing a forecheck, and it just wasn’t enough.

About Notre Dame’s work against the CCM Line [Kyle Connor, JT Compher, Tyler Motte]:
Credit to them. They’re a phenomenal line. We’ve been saying that all year, but that was just a team effort shutting them down. We played strong team defense when we were on the ice. Everyone was aware. As far as the overtime goal, just one lapse against those guys and you’re going to have to pay for it, and we did tonight.

On the team’s spark in the second period:
I think our legs got underneath us. Like I said earlier, we were putting puck in behind their [defense], establishing a forecheck, using our speed to our advantage. Then, as far as the third period, we started getting away from our game. Players started bringing pucks back into the neutral zone, which wasn’t what we were supposed to be doing. That kind of hurt us a little bit, which let them establish a forecheck, let them establish momentum, and catch up to us.

HEAD COACH Jeff Jackson
Opening Statement:
It was a great college hockey game. It’s the first time in a while that we have been at a regional that had such a great environment, so I congratulate Miami on doing such a great job. That’s the way it should be for a regional too, where there is that kind of excitement in the building. Our guys played their hearts out, and I am just extremely proud of them. Our senior class has probably done a better job in leading than I have ever had, so I am very proud of them.

On the C-C-M line and the game plan coming into tonight’s game:
It wasn’t like we had a specific game plan for them, it was just a matter of guys doing their job. I thought we did a good job against them offensively at times; we made them play defense a bit. But I mean when the game was on the line, they had a no-look pass to win it. That’s an incredible play. When push came to shove, they made the play that won the game.

On sophomore goaltender Cal Peterson’s play:
He has that ability to get into the zone, and he was in the zone tonight. He had some phenomenal games for us this year against Denver and against BU. When you get that kind of goaltending, you hope to get that one extra goal to win that game for him. He certainly did his part.

On the game plan for going up against a high-scoring offense like Michigan:
I think for the most part we did a good job. We had a really good middle part to our season and then we ran into a tough ending. Tonight, I was pleased with the way we played for the most part. Michigan elevated their play in the third period and they have great speed. They put a lot of pressure on us, but that’s a sign of a good team. We have done the same to other teams in the past. I think for the most part our guys did a good job in not turning pucks over, we made the ice long for them, but that’s the way you have to play against any good team. It’s not like there was anything specific to Michigan-we didn’t talk about Michigan with the exception of special teams.

On the senior class and watching them play their last game:
It’s really hard. Leadership is a funny thing. I have had great leaders in my time at Notre Dame and before, but this was different. For the first time, I have had a group of guys that collectively led. They cared about each other. They did a great job this year. You know we’ve got a young group-we have two thirds of our roster that is underclassmen. We don’t have many players in the junior class, so it’s all about those five seniors and the underclassmen for the most part. But, I have to give my due to Justin Wade though, he is a great defenseman. They did a tremendous job. They got our culture back on track. They are passionate, and they are great kids. I mean character- unbelievable.

On junior defenseman Justin Wade’s performance:
He is a heavy player. He is strong, and he is physical. He does it without taking a lot of penalties. He is a hard player to play against. You need to have defenders like that. He is just a tough kid that plays big hockey. He is not looking for a lot of credit. He just does his job, and he makes us a better team.

— ND —