The Catamounts coach talks playoff outlook, Brody Hoffman, defense and facing Boston College.
"I'm very proud of our guys considering what we went through last year. We kind of entered the season a little bit fragile, maybe didn't perform as well as we would've liked during the first half. I think our leadership core of H.T. Lenz, Chris McCarthy, Connor Brickley, and Tobias Nilsson-Roos did a real nice job of getting our guys focused in on being much more competitive on a daily basis and I think that has really helped our team here in the second half."
"We're very pleased and proud to be involved in this year's Hockey East playoffs, it was a very difficult regular season which really came down to the final weekend for us just getting into the playoffs. We're honored to be a part of it, we're excited to be a part of it."
"We know we have a tremendous opponent to go up against in Boston College. We just played them this past weekend, thought we played a pretty good game on Friday night, went toe to toe with BC. It was a really good college hockey game. I think Saturday was Boston College playing for a title, and whether our guys were conscious or not, I think there was a little bit of an emotional letdown from just kind of knowing we're in the playoffs, we're the seventh seed."
"Good learning lesson for us, maybe at the appropriate time where it didn't hurt us, to just remind our guys that if we're going to play soft against a team like Boston College, that's what they can do to you. In some respects, it may have been a perfect reminder as we head into the new season here."
"We're playing for a championship as well. The one thing that we've stressed to our guys down the stretch here is just to get in. If you think about it, teams one through eight are excellent teams and I'd say the two teams that didn't make it are excellent hockey teams as well. I think it's wide open this year, we're treating it as we're not just playing in the playoffs, we want to win."
"I think we're much more mentally and physically tough to be able to handle a situation like Saturday night. I think it was a little bit of an emotional letdown. As coaches we played to win that game, but when it got to 4-0, we put our senior third-string goalie in, we wanted to get him involved and a little bit of rest for our freshman who's played almost every minute for us."
"It was a great reminder and I think our guys are aware that if you don't pay attention to detail, play physical, block shots, hit BC, and value the puck then that will be the outcome. But it's a new season now, we flushed that one, I don't think we even talked about it after the game. It's new life, new season, and we're ready to go."
On freshman goaltender Brody Hoffman:
"He's different than most freshman goaltenders that I've coached in that he's far more mature. He's handled big situations throughout the year, he's essentially played playoff hockey the last four weekends just trying to get into the playoffs, so he's played in a lot of pressure-packed situations. I don't think there will be any extra nerves or anything come Friday. He's been sensational for us."
"There are so many great goaltenders in our league right now, I think Hoff in any other given year could have been up for the All-Rookie Team. Hoff has allowed us to gain confidence in that position again and affords us the ability to play on the aggressive side and take chances. We maybe didn't have that confidence quite yet earlier in the season, we do now because he's an excellent goaltender."
On young defense corps:
"We're pretty young back there, we've had Caylen Walls and Yvan Pattyn play almost every game for us this year as freshmen. Then you've got (Michael) Paliotta and (Nick) Luukko who are sophomores playing minutes that most seniors would be playing. They've played every game down the stretch for us and I think they've gained a lot of valuable experience. They're going to make mistakes, and we just continue to try and coach and develop them. They've played some excellent hockey for us and have been a big part of any modest success we've had down the stretch here."
On keys to the Boston College series:
"The biggest thing we have to do is make sure we're well aware of when Mr. Gaudreau, Whitney, and Arnold are on the ice. They're excellent players, they're going to get chances we just have to make sure that we make them earn those chances and minimize to the best of our ability their time of possession with the puck."
"I think right now our depth has helped us. Knock on wood, we're healthy and ready to go, and I think it's going to be a pretty big battle so we're going to rely on that depth. We're excited for the challenge, they're an excellent team and extremely well coached. We'll be well prepared, always interesting to go against a team four games in a row. We know each other pretty well right now and we know what we need to do better and we're looking forward to that challenge."