Press Box Notes 2015

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karl(east)
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Press Box Notes 2015

Post by karl(east) » Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:15 pm

As usual, I'll bring you the dirt from upstairs from time to time during the Tourney. (When the Xcel wireless lets me, at least.)

OGEE OGELTHORPE
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Re: Press Box Notes 2015

Post by OGEE OGELTHORPE » Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:50 pm

karl(east) wrote:As usual, I'll bring you the dirt from upstairs from time to time during the Tourney. (When the Xcel wireless lets me, at least.)
In the good old days...what happened in the box stayed in the box.

northwoods oldtimer
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Re: Press Box Notes 2015

Post by northwoods oldtimer » Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:57 pm

OGEE OGELTHORPE wrote:
karl(east) wrote:As usual, I'll bring you the dirt from upstairs from time to time during the Tourney. (When the Xcel wireless lets me, at least.)
In the good old days...what happened in the box stayed in the box.
And the locker room too :wink:

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Re: Press Box Notes 2015

Post by CitiesSpudsGuy » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:32 pm

northwoods oldtimer wrote:
OGEE OGELTHORPE wrote:
karl(east) wrote:As usual, I'll bring you the dirt from upstairs from time to time during the Tourney. (When the Xcel wireless lets me, at least.)
In the good old days...what happened in the box stayed in the box.
And the locker room too :wink:
Sounds like you have some locker room secrets you're hiding, oldtimer. :lol: :shock: Maybe Karl can do some investigative reporting?
50 years of Spuds Hockey

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Re: Press Box Notes 2015

Post by karl(east) » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:47 pm

CitiesSpudsGuy wrote:
northwoods oldtimer wrote:
OGEE OGELTHORPE wrote:
karl(east) wrote:As usual, I'll bring you the dirt from upstairs from time to time during the Tourney. (When the Xcel wireless lets me, at least.)
In the good old days...what happened in the box stayed in the box.
And the locker room too :wink:
Sounds like you have some locker room secrets you're hiding, oldtimer. :lol: :shock: Maybe Karl can do some investigative reporting?
Ehh...not gonna go that far. :shock:

New Ulm-Mahtomedi notes:

New Ulm--Jon Kopacek played down his great 2nd period goal, saying he was just trying to get it to the net and "got lucky." Ethan Kraus said they "hung in there" and got the Zephyrs "back on their heels" for a while. Coach Setterholm credited his players with weathering the storm in the first, said they gained momentum from the goal, and called this "by far" New Ulm's best State showing. "They got a few breaks...this was closer than a 6-3 game."

Mahtomedi--Jeff Poeschl agreed with that assessment, saying it was "absolutely" closer than 6-3. "We really struggled and fought it all night long."

Jack Becker: after the 3rd NU goal, they "played with more of a sense of urgency and had to "trust our systems." He also said he got lucky on his 2nd goal, saying he was actually "trying to bounce it off the back of the goalie" as he stuffed it in, and it worked.

Poeschl on Becker: "People that don't see him daily don't appreciate the little things he does, slowing play down, and rallying his teammates...he's only gonna get better."

He also said that the team actually settled down when the score became 4-3. They "took better care of the puck," had "more poise," and there was no "oh no."

Jack Gunderson: "It doesn't matter the opponent, we're gonna come out the same." When asked who gets more credit, Becker with his hat trick or him with the first goal of the Tourney, Gunderson cracked, "I got rights over him." Becker's reply: "As long as we win, I'm happy."

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Re: Press Box Notes 2015

Post by northwoods oldtimer » Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:08 pm

CitiesSpudsGuy wrote:
northwoods oldtimer wrote:
OGEE OGELTHORPE wrote:
karl(east) wrote:As usual, I'll bring you the dirt from upstairs from time to time during the Tourney. (When the Xcel wireless lets me, at least.)
In the good old days...what happened in the box stayed in the box.
And the locker room too :wink:
Sounds like you have some locker room secrets you're hiding, oldtimer. :lol: :shock: Maybe Karl can do some investigative reporting?
not so much fun being a 10th grader :lol: :wink:

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Post by karl(east) » Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:53 pm

Cossetta's visit complete. New Prague-EGF notes:

New Prague--Some details on line-matching intrigue here. Lonke knew that EGF's loaded-up top line was a possibility, and saw them together in pregame warmups, leading to an adjustment, as O'Rourke got moved up to the top line while Davis moved down. He said this was very helpful in the matchup of top lines, and they stuck with it until the 3rd, when he moved Davis back up to try to generate some offense. He had a chat with the referees after the game about some non-calls, though "nothing big," and gave EGF credit for being "tough, physical, and gritty." "I can't ask any more of my players," he said.

For Connor Wagner, the NP goalie, the word of the day was "focus." He also gave a very thorough breakdown of Bowen's move on the first goal, and also talked about his stop on Bowen's first break away, saying that after that he knew he was "in the zone" and started having fun.

East Grand Forks--It's interesting to see how a coach evolves over the course of 3 Tourney appearances. Back in 2013, Tyler Palmscino was a bit cagey and didn't say much. Now, he's clearly enjoying himself, cracking jokes and such. Even so, he said the first game is always "real tough," no matter how many times they've been there. He also praised his 4 D, who are filling big shoes and also replacing the injured Trevor Selk.

What does Dixon Bowen do that makes him get so many chances? "He shoots."

He also talked about EGF's decision to come down on Monday, which they haven't done in the past. Tuesday for EGF was always nuts, with a pep rally and a long bus ride and a long banquet, and with an afternoon game (they'd played night games the two years prior) he wanted to give the players a chance to settle in down here. It ended up being a good thing, with lots of snow on the roads yesterday.

Dixon Bowen didn't mind being the 3-seed: "It was good. We just need to focus. We can play with anybody." He said he'd learned to "deke, not just shoot" to beat Wagner, whom he gave plenty of credit.

Josh Weber: "The D was great. I don't worry about them-they play their game, and I play mine." The State Tourney is "still exciting and nerve-wracking," even for the second time around for a Tourney-winning goalie. He sure didn't look nerve-wracked today...

On to the night session.

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Post by karl(east) » Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:31 pm

SLP-Hermantown notes.

Spring Lake Park--Jacob Nystrom said Hermantown was "just as skilled" as Blaine, and that their "D is phenomenal. They shut down everything, made us go wide..."

Coach Benson added that they just "wanted to be able to compete;" it had been 9-10 years since they played teams the caliber of Hermantown and Blaine. They were "ready to go," but it was "challenging...they were nervous, but they played okay."

In terms of Xcel experience, "we had a couple of kids who played here as mites long ago..."

There was lots of talk about how this was a big first step. Benson said the program had "Been in the shadows of Blaine for a long time" (they share an arena), and they're "excited to get some red up on that wall." Despite the loss, the players "understand that, in 8, 10, 12, 15 years, they'll be able to look back on this and cherish it." Benson added that he "didn't expect that many people" to show up," and that even the teachers were pumping them up over the past week.

Now, Bruce Plante and Hermantown.

Pionk and Kero join him, and they enter carrying a pink flowery bike helmet. Someone immediately asked why, and they explain that they'd picked it up in St. Cloud, and made it a team MVP trophy. Neither one was wearing it since they were sharing MVP honors, so we ordered them to pass it back and forth, and they obliged. :)

There was also some talk about Hermantown hair, allowing Bruce to launch into a history of the team they had 6ish years ago that shaved it all at the beginning and then never cut it from there. "It started with hair and then it got worse."

The press conference got a bit more testy after that. Any thought of resting your top line in the 3rd period, Bruce? "No." End of discussion.

Will you move to AA? "No. It's a yes or no question...it's up to me. We talked about it this winter a bit. But we only had 37 kids try out and we took 35. We're a little thin sometimes. We could compete with them right now, but not every year. We only have 2 bantam teams." (Pretty sure that's wrong.)

Question: How many consecutive finals do you have to make for you to change your mind?

"I'm not gonna be around that long so it's not up to me. Every time we come down here, I get sick." *coughs* "It must be the stress. It must be from facing you guys, and talking about taking second place all the time."

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Post by karl(east) » Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:16 pm

Duluth East:

So, Mike Randolph, are you a magician? Randolph points down the row to his captains, Nick Altmann and Brian Bunten.

“See those two guys right there? They drive the bus. Every day, every practice, every game. They’re two of the hardest working captains I’ve ever had.”

What did you change heading into the 3rd period: “We didn’t do anything. We did bring our third guy down a little lower, but we backed off when we got it down to one goal. When we tied it? We can play all day. We have outdoor ice up in Duluth. I tried tiring them out one morning with a 6 AM skate when they needed some discipline. It didn’t work.

“Don’t get me wrong, STA is a good team, but we held them to under 20 shots late in the 3rd, and they got a power play goal. We didn’t play that bad. We played the way we needed to have a chance.”

You keep coming back from 3-goal deficits… “Yeah, I hate four.”

Ryan Peterson on the game-winner: “We had momentum in the zone, and I was lucky it went in.” On getting mobbed in the pile-up? “We’ve had a lot of it. We’re used to that. He” (points to Randolph) “knows what he’s doing. We stick to his system and it works out in the end.”

Do you do anything different tomorrow, Brian Bunten. “Probably not. Rand might have something in mind, but we stick to the system. We don’t change our game.” Nick Altmann: “It’s working so far…we gave them mistakes and they capitalized, that was it.”

Mike Randolph, have you taught STA a lesson about AA hockey? “No. They’re a great team. We were fortunate to come out of this…they’re very well-coached, highly skilled, and they had the puck more than us…we haven’t had the puck much, and we won’t tomorrow night either…I’m just glad we’re playing at 6 PM and not 10 AM. I’m retired, so I need to sleep in.”

On a turning point in the East season: “There’s been a constant theme: stick with it and you’ll get your looks.” Randolph pointed to their back-and-forth game with Blaine, while Altmann cited their close game with Eden Prairie, which made them believe they could stick with a top team.

East, you seem kind of mellow for just having won this game. Peterson: “Yeah. We know we have to work for it.”

Altmann: “They system really guides us. We never gave up.”

St. Thomas Academy—Coach Vannelli: “Normally in hockey, a 3-goal lead is a good lead. So…” trails off. “Once momentum goes, you can’t really stop it. It just happened. The penalty hurt us a lot—they needed it.”

Were you surprised by their fight? “No…they have such desire…this was one of those games where you can control the effort, but not the outcome. They got the breaks.” A few reporters tried to goad Vannelli into some A/AA comments, but he shrugged it off, saying just that AA was “a challenge” and they “played some great teams,” and that some of the teams ranked #15 or so this season could easily beat the top few. Christiano Versich added some thanks to the fans and his family for their support, saying “it’s an honor to play in front of them…we kept working hard, but [East] just had that extra step.”

I do have notes from Apollo-Breck last night and will get them up at some point. Nothing on the early game today, but I should have the 2 night ones.

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Post by karl(east) » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:11 pm

Hill-Murray/Lakeville North:

Lakeville North—The first question for Eigner was what he learned from the December meeting, when they had a similar 4-1 lead and let it get very interesting near the end. “We made some terrible mistakes in that one…after the second period, we knew what they were capable of. We’ve faced similar gameplans for the past 20-plus games, so we’re accustomed to it, and we expect to see it.”

Jack Poehling on some of his early misses: “You have off nights, but you keep firing away.” That bad offsides call? “Yeah, it definitely fired me up.” When someone commented on his backhands, he said “those were the first couple of backhand goals I’ve had all year.” “Fine with me,” quips Eigner.

Henry Enebak: “We just need to stay focused. Eventually somebody [on the other team] is gonna make a mistake.”

Ryan Edquist on the D him front of him: “I didn’t face too much. The D has been lights out all year…it’s a sweet venue.”

Poehling again, on his 3rd Tourney: “I’d always heard ‘experience is everything’ and didn’t really believe it, but now, yeah.”

Hill-Murray-Lechner’s presser was about as brief as it gets. When asked about whether he was feeling confident when they had it 1-1, he said, “I’m not sure ‘comfortable’ is the right word, but…we were solid for a while. We knew that, to win, it had to be a 2-1 or 3-2 game. We had a couple of ‘moments’ [breakdowns] and after that we had to start opening up, flying guys, and it ends up a 3-1 or 4-1 game.”

On the Poehlings: “You’ve got to take away their space.” Was this game like the regular season game: “No, that game was chaos.” Hill was missing people, had people sick, and of course it was a different atmosphere. “That was December 23rd, and and this was tonight.”

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Post by karl(east) » Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:34 pm

Stuff I dig up during the 3rd period of a blowout game: notes left over from yesterday's Apollo-Breck game.

Brandon Bissett was not especially coherent after his game-winning goal, but gave a play-by-play anyway. He eventually said he "threw it to the net and it found a hole." He talked up his coach, and how Matanich "gets up everyone." Matanich lauded his team's shot blocking ability--when they do that, other teams "get frustrated, and start playing out of character...our section tournament was awesome--it was a great experience" that prepared them for a game of this caliber. They just "continue to get better."

Lucia on Althaus: "he made two saves in tight, and we know we can rely on him. Althaus, meanwhile, is a man of few words.

Breck--Les Larson was philosophical about it all. "You have to accept winning, and you have to accept losing. They did everything they needed to do, and it just didn't happen. Coming in we were worried about fear, and a lot of new guys in awe of the venue. That wasn't an issue...we expected this type of game. You don't deserve to win if you don't score a goal.

On Apollo: "They block shots. You've got to find a way. They did, and we didn't. We got caught on a change in OT. We had our chances." He couldn't remember particular ones--"right now it's just a blur"--but not scoring enough "was a problem all year. We have a young bunch and this will get better." On their matchup with Hermantown: "They're gonna have to score more than one against them, but they can stifle them."

"I may be an old D-man, but I don't like these 1-0 games. I would rather have it 7-5."

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Post by karl(east) » Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:16 pm

Ahead of the Title Game, notes on both Class A semis (slowly catching up on my backlog):

EGF-Mahtomedi:

Coach Palmscino lauded his team’s performance despite a “gigantic target” on their back. “We learned to battle, and today we battled hard…we wanted to make it a man’s game.”

The turning point: “a shift in the second period where we went through 3 line changes and they couldn’t get the puck out of the zone.”

Trevor Selk’s presence was “huge” psychologically, and Trevor was, unsurprisingly, “pumped” to play. Grant Loven was very deferential, thanking his linemates for his hat trick.

Palmscino on Hermantown. “Even last year when we were the top seed, I don’t think anyone considered us the favorite…jersey color is the only difference.”

He also had a lot of praise for Mahtomedi: “I asked their coach how big their community was, and he said about 7,500. I think they’re all here.”

Mahtomedi’s Poeschl on EGF’s physical game plan: “We weren’t surprised, but it was effective. They took us off our game. The emphasis on the bench was to try to take the focus off that [physical sort of game], but that’s a difficult thing to do…the physical game is exhausting. They wore us down.”

He said he tried to match top lines and this was “ok;” they hoped they could hold even there and their depth would take over, but “the other two didn’t generate much.” He then went through the same numbers and praise Mahtomedi’s fan support.

Hermantown-Apollo:

Nate Pionk on this as a “trap game:” “We’ve seen that before. It doesn’t really matter. They have a great system they’re running over there.”

Jesse Jacques on earning the pink helmet honors: “It’s the first time! It feels pretty good.” (The pink clashed wonderfully with his ginger flow.) Pionk explained that the person who won it in the previous game gets to pick its next wearer.

Bruce Plante on how it feels to be back in the title game yet again: “It feels…good. That second goal gets rid of some of the ulcer juices right there. The first goal is a big deal, and with the second, you could see—the whole team played great D after that…our D has been overlooked all year. Our goaltending has been overlooked all year. I don’t even know if he’s gotten the pink helmet yet!” (Pionk quickly assured him that he had, once.) “In every sport that’s ever been invented, defense is the most important thing.

“I have tremendous respect for Apollo. 23 kids came out for their team. That’s a beautiful thing.”

Any words of wisdom for your team for tomorrow, Bruce? “Aaah…I dunno. I don’t do much of that stuff. I get em to play our game.” He praised their performance in “4 of the 5” championship losses. East Grand is “Mean and nasty and tough and aggressive—they’re gonna throw our bodies all over the rink. We want to stick it to em a little bit back—it’s gonna be one of those types of games.

“Last year I was probably crying all the way home. What are the odds? It’d almost be laughable if it didn’t hurt so much.” Even so, that ride to 2nd place, “I would take it every year.”

Apollo: Matanich, sounding decidedly hoarse, was “just proud” of his team. He said “we had some early chances that we missed…it helps a ton for the program. It puts us on the map. It’ll be a cool thing to look back on.”

Late in the game, they tried to stretch things some, but “couldn’t make long passes, ran out of gas, and petered out.” He also talked about their defensive strategy, which focused on covering the backside, effectively taking away passes to Pionk.

Is this the greatest team in school history? “It’s hard to compare across eras,” he said, nodding to the 1984 Apollo team that made the 1-class Tourney. “It was one of the top groups. We broke lots of school records on defense.” They did it “with 23 skaters…it’ll probably be 21 next year. That’s what happens when you have one Bantam team feeding 3 high schools—sometimes you just get the short end of the stick based on where people live.”

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Post by karl(east) » Sat Mar 07, 2015 1:36 pm

Notes on the East-Edina instant classic:

Mike Randolph, what was your game plan? “It’s been the same game plan since we played Elk River in Elk River. It’s not what I’ve done. It’s what these guys have done.”

The Altmanns talked about the team came together as a group, “going bowling, spaghetti dinners…we’re gonna do this together.” Tonight, said Nick, “We believed from the get-go. We just kept plugging away.”

Gunnar Howg: “We recognized that, when we play as a team, we can play with anyone”

Randolph on Howg: “I don’t have to say anything to Gunnar anymore. I know where he stands and he knows where I stand.” He was benched midseason because “he needed to refocus.” He started again against Lakeville North, made 40+ saves, “and from that point on…”

Howg: “I didn’t realize how important I had to be as a senior. It had gone to my head. I’d lost focus.

Mike, you don’t seem surprised. Randolph laughs. “Did you see me on the bench after this?...I’ve been here X times and I’m used to it. And I’m retired. I didn’t think it was an upset.

“All we do is worry about us. We’ll have our peaks and valleys as you saw, but we’re finding our way. At moments tonight, we locked in. We came out a little nervous, popped one, then settled in. We kept it simple in the third and didn’t get stuck in our end.”

Did you make any adjustment with Malmquist’s absence: “I heard he wasn’t playing before the game, but it went in one year and without the other.” Someone noticed that he had a long moment with Malmquist in the handshake line: “I just wanted to tell him that he’s a great player and has a very bright future.”

Ash Altmann on his game-sealing goal: “I had to redeem myself” for the earlier miss. Nick, on the bench: “He’d better put that one in, or I’m gonna kill him.” Nick on the Malmquist situation: “even without him, they were still Edina. On his goal: “It was a dirty one.”

How about the big crowd, Ash? “It was really loud. We were a little nervous, then we focused. In the last minute, I could barely hear myself talk…Coach told us there would be 16,000 cheering for us and 1,000 for Edina, so we were ready for it.” Nick: “When someone like Lutzka makes a big hit and it gets the crowd going, it gets us going.”

Howg: “It was nice not going down three goals right away…”

Who had the better goal? Ash: “Everyone told me mine was a nice goal.” Nick: “Mine was better.”

One last explanation from Randolph on why he called a timeout with 3 seconds to go: “I just want to be clear, it wasn’t out of disrespect for Edina. It was based on what happened with EP and Benilde, and Holy Angels and Jefferson…I just wanted to make sure nothing happened…just ring it around the boards and end it.”

Edina—Giles on the loss: “You’re never out of it till your out of it. It’s tough. We had some decent looks, but Duluth East played extremely well. They slowed us down in the neutral zone. I thought we got some decent looks, but that’s hockey.”

On East now vs. the 7-1 December win: “I’m not sure they’re a different team, but they’re confident, and realized how good they really were. That game plan…”

Dylan Malmquist, who valiantly showed up to the presser despite not playing: “I tried to skate but just couldn’t go. I don’t know why. It was better for the team if I didn’t go out there. I just tried to stay calm and positive on the bench.”

Matt Masterman on Malmquist: “It’s hard to see your leader go down like that. We tried to rally around his support—he did his best. You can’t give up…this is a great group. I’ll never forget them.”

Giles on Malmjust: “It’s difficult to watch. Life’s just full of curveballs. Dylan knows how important he was to this team, and it builds character.”

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Post by Puck Whisperer » Sat Mar 07, 2015 2:13 pm

Fantastic Job! Thank you Sir, from a new Hounds fan! :D

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Post by karl(east) » Sat Mar 07, 2015 6:31 pm

Lakeville North-Eden Prairie:

Was Eigner concerned when it was still tight: “I was more than a little concerned. We were not real good—it was a disjointed effort for us at best…we had to adapt on the fly,” he said, in reference to being a puck possession team that got outshot. Still, “it’s not like our confidence wavered. We played one great period.” (The 3rd.) “Edquist was the best player on the ice by far. I thought neither team was very good in the first, and they were considerably better in the 2nd.”

Max Johnson on scoring after the bad EP penalty: ‘We get fired up about things that don’t go our way.” He said he was “going to bed super early” after that one to rest up.

Edquist on stoning Michael Graham: “I just got lucky and followed the rebound.”

Someone asks Eigner what he thinks about what they might achieve the next night. “What?” skips a beat, as if he doesn’t know what’s at stake. “I’m kidding. We fully understand the question the question will be asked. It’s worked in the opposite way. We’ve had a blast pursuing this thing. It’s not a burden in any way.”

On Duluth East? “I have a great deal of respect for Randolph. He’s one of my favorite guys to be around. He’s more than willing to share what he’s learned. You can see the respect his players have for him. There’s no such thing as an easy game at State.” He then described the matchup as a “humdinger,” whatever that means.

Eden Prairie’s Lee Smith: “I thought we did play pretty well in the third. We had numerous chances. There was the bad incident with the broken stick—the penalty changed the whole game. It was all us.” He noted that North had 5 of the first 6 shots, and after that, “shots were 36-15 after. We played great hockey. The Lakeville North goalie played really well. We were not in awe of North. The kids played great.”

“There’s a reason they’re undefeated. We were just as good tonight.”

On the final tomorrow: “East’s not gonna go away. It’ll come down to a penalty or a great save. It’ll be a fantastic game. Their record’s misleading due to their competition. Duluth East will play their bench—we’ll see what North does.”

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Post by karl(east) » Sat Mar 07, 2015 7:01 pm

Hermantown-EGF:

Palmscino walks in and immediately deadpans: "I just want to clarify that our school is actually in Minnesota." Your players too, coach? "Yes."

On this year compared to last year: "Few expected us to win, so the satisfaction is a little greater."

On how they rallied after giving up the game tying goals: "I said, if I'd have told you at 8 AM that you'd be going to OT, would you take it? Of course. You have a chance to win the game. We had a damn good third period for 16 minutes."

Tweten on his game-winner: "I just one-timed it. I was definitely tired...I knew we had it in us and what we had to do."

Dixon Bowen: "We just had to play to our systems, and we did it the best today. Hermantown, I feel for them."

Austin Monda: "It's an honor to be playing with these guys." After the game was tied up, "I just told Weber, stuff happens, he's got it in him."

Palmscino on Weber: "He's one of the calmest goalies I've ever been around. They got 2 lucky bounces...the way he stays calm, it's amazing."

This year, "Every time the puck dropped, we saw the other team's best hockey. We had to learn how to play without top players...they know how to win big games. The level of play just rises." He called the first line "the major difference" between the December meeting and this one."

Is Dixon Bowen Mr. Hockey? "I don't think he cares about Mr. Hockey. I just know I wouldn't trade him for any one of the other guys."

Bowen: "I didn't think it could get any better than last year, but it just did."

Hermantown:

So, Bruce, what did you just tell your team? "That I'm proud of them. Great season. All the normal good stuff."

And your emotions? "Pretty drained. We played fine. We had great chances, especially early. We were fighting uphill. We hand chances and didn't capitalize."

Did you think you had it after tying it up, Nate Pionk? "No, in OT it's anyone's game.That doesn't mean anything--you gotta go into OT and win it."

Plante on the game-winner: "It was a hell of a shot? That's all I saw.

On the top line match-up: "It was critical...we matched our top line against theirs because no one else could play with them. But they scored more than we did. We didn't win the matchup because we lost the game."

After you tied it up, did you have to calm your team down some "Yeah, it was pretty wild there--you gotta start over and play good D, do the right things."

Is this heartbreaking? "No, I'm getting used to it. I don't get it. It's weird. The hockey gods just didn't work in our favor...when we got those two, I thought maybe the tide's turning. But in OT, one thing happens, and...what else can you do? I can't not come here. We don't talk about it. The kids are in the locker room bawling their eyes out...I haven't talked about it with Nate in the three years he's been here."

Is this one worse? "They're all tough." Laughs. "People were getting on us for losing the second one. But the kids, I don't think they have a problem about it. Kids don't think that way. There's no baggage."

Are the hockey gods taunting you Bruce? "Exactly. It's like they just wanted to add more pain to it."

Nevertoomuchhockey
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Post by Nevertoomuchhockey » Sat Mar 07, 2015 8:49 pm

Coach,
We aren't going to think less of you if you admit this loss was heartbreaking. Your stoicism is not necessary. Losing again sucks. Being that disappointed really sucks.
You can wait until tomorrow to minimize this outcome. You can wait until tomorrow before you declare your players are over it and won't carry this baggage.
Great season, bright future > painful loss. TOMORROW. 5 minutes after the game, not so much.

karl(east)
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Post by karl(east) » Sun Mar 08, 2015 6:23 pm

Better late than never--Lakeville North-Duluth East:

North, beyond the expected quotes of excitement: Coach Eigner, what are you feeling now, relief or exhilaration? “Absolute exhilaration…It’s bittersweet that I won’t be coaching some of these guys next year.”

On Duluth East: “They played it absolutely as disciplined as a team could play it. We understood the need to be patient.” They had to fight “patience with patience, and discipline with discipline. We were willing to work.”

On Ryan Poehling, playing sick: “Part of me expects him to come up with something special. His tank was empty last night, but he was a huge lift tonight.”

Ryan Poehling: “These seniors are my brothers, and two of them literally are.”

Ryan Edquist: “We have a lot of confidence in holding on to leads. I was really calm. The guys made it easy for me.”

Has the perfect season sunk in yet, Jack Poehling? “It hasn’t hit yet. When we’re Old Man’s] [Eigner] age, maybe we’ll notice it a little more…the State Tournament runs in our family. It’s very special to us.”

Jack on playing on a team with so many stars: “We all checked our egos at the rink.”

He and Eigner also reflected on these past three years, looking back to the mediocre record in 2013: “We’ve been slapped around, and understood what it felt like.” They’d paid their dues, and it all paid off.

Duluth East—what did you just tell your team in the locker room, Mike Randolph? “Just how proud I was and how much fun it was. I told them to hold their heads up. The whole state of Minnesota saw how this group competed, worked hard, and never quit. They had the crowd behind them; we just didn’t give them very much to cheer about.”

On Lakeville North: “They played exactly the game they needed to. St. Thomas and Edina were reluctant to. Their D-men are really good. The whole team is good. It’s one of the best teams I’ve seen since I’ve been here.”

They “played the way Trent wanted them to. They dumped the puck and came after us, and won the wall battles. It can be tough to sell that to D-I kids; they just want to dangle through our trap. They didn’t try it. It was impressive.”

Were you feeling the grind, Nick Altmann? “A little bit. It just wasn’t our night.”

Randolph: “What killed us was our power play…it’s been an issue all year. It was good so far in the Tourney.” There was one moment where East “had a lot of net but missed it. We needed something, but they suffocated us. We never quit, but we didn’t quite have that energy level. We just needed to put one in to get us going.”

“We loosened up some after their first goal. The D handed them the puck—you can’t give them those chances.”

Do you ever say that just getting to this point is enough? “At this point, it’s not enough. It takes a while to get over, but when you reflect back, you realize what an honor it was to play in that game…when we got down by three, that’s what I was waiting for. We didn’t leave enough time. We should’ve done it earlier.”

“This was a special, special group. We had some guys who were scoring their fourth goal of the season there…are you kidding me?” He walked back through their four upset wins, from Howg’s performance against Grand Rapids to coming back from 3 down against Elk River and St. Thomas Academy to beating “a heck of an Edina team—that was our best game of the year. Tonight, we got down three too late.”

Nick Altmann, on being done playing with his brother Ash: “It’s gonna suck. I had to cherish every moment I had with him.”

Randolph offered a few closing thoughts on North: “This team reminds me of that Eden Prairie group in 2011. Rau stayed, and they stayed—they’ll cherish that moment for the rest of their lives. They’re true champions. They’ll go on to great careers and they didn’t lose a thing, and they gained a ton. It’s a credit to them. They stuck to their community and their friends, and no one beat them.”

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