As part of Frozen Four preparations, Boston College head coach Jerry York met the press via conference call Tuesday. Here's some of what was discussed.
"I really enjoyed the Worcester regional. We’ve won there a lot we’ve gotten to Frozen Four’s from Worcester a lot. They do a great job, Holy Cross and the City of Worcester, the DCU Center. For an old building, it’s still a neat site for a regional. With that site game, two excellent teams, Harvard and Duluth, we feel, as every coach should, very fortunate to get out of the region and head to Tampa and the Frozen Four. It was stiff competition, especially the closing minutes of the game with Duluth. They really came hard and came with a eyelash of tying up that game, but we got some terrific performance from a number of key people, but it all comes down to the play of our goaltender Thatcher Demko. He’s on a great streak now, and he feels good, he’s confident and he’s certainly one of the key players for our team."
On Quinnipiac being the "underdog" and experience
"I think this particular Frozen Four, I don’t have the exact figures, but when you look at the wining percentages, win loss record, of these four teams, it’s the best we’ve had since we started this 16 team field. There’s some excellent teams in the field, so I don’t know who’s to beat. Like last time we went to Tampa, Ferris was considered the underdog, we got to the final and gave us all 60 full minutes of hockey down there. I think if you look at [all the teams], all four teams have had very successful seasons. It’s not like– the last couple of years the 15/16 seed teams got to Frozen Fours, I think this year it’s a strong, strong field. I think experience that all of us have in big games is certainly going to be a plus. I’m looking forward to the challenge of Quinnipiac. They’ve had an unbelievable year, ranked first in the country, by a good reason. I watched their game most recently against RIT and the final game there. They’re good. Lowell was an extremely strong team for us, and Quinnipiac held them to, I think fifteen shots on goal, so, this is going to be a good game. Our kids are excited to go down, and we’ll certainly going to have some good practices as we prepare.
On the prestigious programs and Quinnipiac
"I think it’s been great for hockey. Who would have thought ten years ago, Jack McDonald was trying to sell a brand, getting them some publicity at this level. By their joining the ECAC, it certainly helped and the success that they’ve had recently is hard to ignore. So it’s certainly a big big plus for college hockey to expand and bringing teams that are going to be very very good at this level. I think Penn State’s certainly starting to blossom as a new team, probably ten years behind where Quinnipiac was. I think it’s good. I think tradition is outstanding. We’ve been in this thing for a long time, BC, North Dakota and Denver, but we’re always looking to expand college hockey, and make it better and Quinnipiac has done that. Hopefully Arizona State will do the same thing. And in a few years they’ll be going to Frozen Four’s."
On Challenges from Quinnipiac
"Well like any good team, to reach a Frozen Four with the year Quinnipiac has had, goaltenders are essential and they’re certainly very solid in goal, I was impressed watching them how hard they play. They really compete and, like I said, limited Lowell to fifteen shots in that area for sixty minutes. That’s really difficult. Because I’ve watched Lowell, up close and personal, pretty much last few years in Hockey East, they usually get 30 shots on goal at a minimum. They present a lot of challenges, the young Anas boy played with my player Cangelosi at Youngstown, and I had a chance to watch him back then in juniors, I knew he was going to be a really good college player, but he’s become all of that."
On Tampa and Florida as a Frozen Four Site
"We were really concerned going to Tampa, that it wouldn’t fly, that it was too far for people to go for the majority of our programs in Northern and Midwest states, how the Lightning were going to be receptive to us, so we went down with a lot of concerns, warm weather, non-traditional hockey. We were greatly surprised how Jeff Vinik has taken that particular franchise and expanded around the arena and Amalie Arena has been renovated even more so, but the reception, the walkability of players from hotel to rink, the fanbase just took over the whole area over there in Tampa, it was a surprise and very welcome. So this year, or a few years ago, when they reupped Tampa, we all thought, geez, that’s a great move by the NCAA committee to go back to Tampa. So our fans are excited, I know our players are, we’ve had a lot of memories from there. I just can’t fine Johnny Gaudreau’s number, I’d love to bring it with me this time. It was pretty good last time."
On what it means to become an Eagle?
"They just really buy into our culture here, the tradition we have at BC, it’s such a difficult process to do, we recruit players that have been put on pedestals their whole lives, the best of bantams and midgets and high school, prep school, USHL, they’ve been the focal point of their teams, all of a sudden they get our school. Now they’re good players, it’s not all about them, so I think the driving force of our success is to take players, really good players, exceptional players and put team first. We had Doc Rivers come over and coach the Celtics and talk about Paul Pierce and the collection of outstanding players he had. They were all very conscious about being a Celtic and not let the ego get involved. We kind of picked it up 10-15 years ago from Doc, and we really stressed that here."
On Demko's exceptional year
"First of all he had hip surgery on both hips this past summer which kind of freed him up a little bit, he was playing hurt for a lot of of games over his freshman and sophomore years, and finally he said ‘I’ve gotta get this thing done,’ but then he went and had both labrums repaired. He’s playing injury free, much more flexible this year. He’s matured as a player, remember he came as a seventeen year old freshman in college, and that’s a difficult transition. But I think his confidence level his ability to play in big games all year, we don’t go into too many games as an underdog. We go in with an idea that we want to win the game, and we’ve gotta play against a team that’s going to have their A-game with them, he’s handled that adversity really well. Just more mature as a player."
On the Evolution of Teddy Doherty
"I’m as surprised as anybody. He’s a player that’s played for us his first three years, but never in a significant role for us, never when it’s crunch time, never when we need a power play goal, and he was elected captain for us last year, and he just kind of bought into the idea that ‘I’m going to become the best player that I can,’ he worked on his strength and endurance and then sent out as a defenseman, we lost a couple of players due to injury, we asked him to move forward and he gladly accepted that. His leadership was even more impressive than his play down the stretch here, his two goals the other night, but his leadership has been outstanding. My hat’s off to him because he’s had an exceptional year, and probably the biggest surprise in our club."