MODERATOR: We're joined by head coach Jerry York and Teddy Doherty and Steve Santini. Coach, an opening statement.
COACH YORK: We're, as all teams should be at this point, extremely excited, a combination of pride in our season, anticipation of being at the Frozen Four. We're here in 2012, and we were treated outstanding by everybody associated with the tournament, from the NCAA down to the Tampa Sports Commission, hotels, everything.
So last time when we were on a flight coming down, we weren't quite sure how it would go in Tampa, but I thought, thinking back, it's probably one of the best Frozen Fours I've attended. Not just because we won that event, but just the way we were treated and the locale, the closeness of the hotels to the rink, the Lightning to go out of their way to make it special for the four colleges.
With that anticipation coming down this time, we understand just how good the field is. When you put those win/loss records up for four teams, it's clearly well deserved entries to the Frozen Four. A lot of respect not only Quinnipiac, who we're going to play, but the North Dakota and Denver program. And excitement for the Boston College community, staff, players, team, personnel, everybody coming down here on the flight.
Q. Teddy, the last several trips that BC has made to the Frozen Four and the championship game, you had, if you will, increasing success from the first four or five back in 2000, 2006 and 2007. Can you comment maybe about the transitions, what's going on in the program that's made you to be able to get to the level where you are winning championships as opposed to having to compete for them?
TEDDY DOHERTY: Yeah, I think it's just guys every year filling in and out and just competing hard every day in practice and getting better. There's no other reason for it. I think every team is different. Success in the early stages of the 2000s through now is just incredible. And we're just happy to be a part of that.
Q. For both of you, can you just talk about how perhaps that third period against Duluth where you had the 3-0 lead appeared safe and yet you came really close to getting tied up at the end. Can you talk about just maybe some of the defensive lessons learned in that third period and just how you're perhaps taking those into this game?
STEVE SANTINI: Well, Dave, first of all, I think that speaks to how competitive college hockey is. You have to play a 60-minute game complete to make sure that you're going to win. And I think throughout the course of the season we've learned a lot of lessons and that game, in particular, really showed us we can't let our guard down and we gotta make sure we're fully engaged for a full 60 minutes, no matter what.
TEDDY DOHERTY: Minnesota-Duluth is a pretty good team, or else they wouldn't have got that far. We kind of took our foot off the gas there a little bit, and they executed a few plays we'd like to have back. This week we focused on bearing down on the defensive zone. We know how explosive Quinnipiac's offense is. It's going to be a major factor in the game tomorrow. Make sure we play a full 60.
Q. Both Teddy and Steve, at the NHL level, if we ask guys about when they first heard about the Stanley Cup, where were they in their lives. I'm wondering about Frozen Four, where were you in your lives. What were you thinking about it? And also how that dovetailed with what upperclassmen, when you came to BC, were talking about it?
TEDDY DOHERTY: Yeah, started watching the Frozen Four when I was very young. BC has always been my favorite team. So watching Coach York coach those teams in the early 2000s was something I was interested in, and made me want to get to something in life.
STEVE SANTINI: My dad played hockey for the University of Maine. I was rooting to for the Black Bears, but over the years my allegiance changed to Boston College. And what Teddy said with the exposure on ESPN and NBC Sports, they really spread the game. College hockey is really growing. It's becoming popular. And if you look at how much NHLers it's produced in the recent years, I think that's a reflection of how much this game is growing.
Q. Teddy, you have a connection with the 2001 team, your Uncle Marty played on that club. Can you just talk about how this is sort of like a passing of the torch-type thing, the legacy of being captain?
TEDDY DOHERTY: Yeah. Watching that 2001 team win the National Championships is really special to me. I remember it was like yesterday, Krys Kolanos scoring the goal was probably one of the happiest moments of my life, and I wasn't even playing. Now that we're in the Frozen Four and I'm a senior, it's kind of like the path he took. It's a cool resemblance, and I’m just happy to be here.
Q. As far as hockey in the sunshine states, whether it's California or Florida, if you look at two student-athletes on your team, whether it's Demko and Cangelosi, how much has the sunshine states and the way hockey has changed have you seen players come in from there and affect the game?
STEVE SANTINI: You look at our roster we have Demko, Savage and Cangelosi from your nontraditional states such as Florida and California. I think it speaks to how much the game is growing. You look at the U.S. National teams and festival camps, there are players from California, Florida, Texas, a bunch of different states that aren't your, quote/unquote, traditional hockey powers.
And I think it's great for the game. I think it's great for the United States of America, and hopefully the game can continue to grow and we'll continue to be a dominant force around the world.
Q. When you look into this game and you see all the hard work you guys have made throughout this season and you get there, is there ever a moment when -- maybe it was today when you first get on the ice, just a "wow" moment that you made it here? And if you have that moment, how do you almost try not to let that get overwhelming for you, especially if you haven't been on a stage like this?
TEDDY DOHERTY: Well, it's cool stepping on the Tampa Bay ice for the first time, but both of us have been in this moment. We've played in the Frozen Four in Philadelphia. So it's kind of a shock, get used to it a little bit, which is really cool to be here. Can't take that for granted. But we've been here before, and we've just got to let our emotions just settle down and relay that to our team, and hopefully we do a good job with that.
STEVE SANTINI: Just to piggyback off Teddy's point, obviously it's an honor to be here. There are 60 some-odd great college hockey teams, and we're very lucky to be here. But just like the other three teams that are here, we want to win. And every team wants to win and put on their best performance and play their best. And we play the best we can, we'll sleep at night and be happy with our trip.
Q. Could you each of you take us through what the first 24 hours have been like during the last day?
TEDDY DOHERTY: It's been really exciting. You get down here, there's a big ceremony off the plane. And you get to the hotel, and they've got the fight song playing. And you drop off your gear, and you see the locker rooms. And just the whole stage is really cool.
And kind of have some downtime to chill with the team. It's been really cool. The practice was good today. It was high tempo and got our feet under us, and now it's about preparing for Quinnipiac. We have about 24 hours to do so. We'll do a good job with that.
STEVE SANTINI: Yeah, it's very exciting. Obviously the whole year, you talk about going to Tampa and it's a big focus for every team, I think. Particularly in Hockey East, particularly, being the big conference it is. And for us to make it here and just to get off the plane and get to the hotel and soak it all in, it's really special for us.
Q. With Hockey East you see the teams so frequently, Northeastern and BC, and in many cases I know you've played against these guys as you've grown up. Here's a team you haven't played. I'm wondering: Do you know some of those players individually, and what is it like for you now at this stage to play a team that you haven't played?
TEDDY DOHERTY: It's kind of weird. I feel like I know pretty much a guy on every team we play against. Quinnipiac, I can't say that I do, which makes it interesting, makes it fun, not knowing that much about them other than on the film. We haven't seen what they're like on the ice yet.
So that first period is going to be essential in the game tomorrow and trying to match up with their intensity and their compete level and see what we can do.
STEVE SANTINI: Yeah, I mean, on Quinnipiac, I know the Cliftons. I played with Connor out at the National Team and I played against him on the Empire and EJ (Eastern Junior Hockey League) before I went out to the USHL. I played against a couple of other guys in the USHL.
But besides that, like what you said, kind of an unknown opponent. And both teams, I think, will just be ready to go and it will be a fun game to watch.
Q. As you guys get ready for this game, look at where you are at this point in your season and what you guys need to do to be successful tomorrow, what are the focuses there?
TEDDY DOHERTY: It's just staying with what you've been doing all year. We don't prepare for Quinnipiac any different than we prepare for any other game. I know that this game's a little bigger stage. But just do what we've been doing all year. And that will take care of itself. We know how good they are. Three losses, very impressive. It's a great season. And hopefully we can knock them off tomorrow.
STEVE SANTINI: Quinnipiac's a great team for a reason. They've got a lot of playmakers and a lot of good players. We just want to compete hard and play the best we can, and hopefully that will be good enough.
Q. Can you just talk about how your team can kind of win in a lot of different ways? There are some teams, if they fall behind, there's no way they can catch up. They just don't have that ability. You have the higher offensive power. You can win a high-scoring game or low-scoring game. Can you talk about that?
TEDDY DOHERTY: It's just the way we were built this year. Every team is different, like I said earlier. But this team, we can score at will. We can score at any time during the game. Score on the power play. We can kill penalties, and Thatcher can steal a game.
After the first period, we've got to regroup and see how we're going to win the game. And I think we've been doing a good job of that.
STEVE SANTINI: I think you look at all the teams here, I think there's very good goaltending and good defense and forwards and teams have different ways they can win. And to be successful at this point in the season, that's what you need. And that's something we at this point our hat on, we're proud of.
Q. As far as the program goes, is there a mentality and a priority placed on just the term trophies or winning trophies, whether it's the Beanpot or the Frozen Four?
STEVE SANTINI: Absolutely. Coach York is all about the team. He's so enthusiastic and passionate. Everything he preaches is for the team. Whether it's winning a trophy or winning a regular season game in November, it's all about the team. It's all about winning.
That's the type of character guys he recruits and he wants in his program. So I think every guy is on the same page. Everyone wants to win, and they'll put the team above themselves.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.
Q. Can you maybe comment, the same question we had for Teddy and Steve, since '98, the first several trips to this stage weren't quite as successful, and then the last several have been quite successful. What was the transition piece? What made this become more of a winning formula the last six or eight years?
COACH YORK: I just think with that particular group that won in '01 in Albany had gone four straight years in the Frozen Four. It's a big stage. A lot of lights. I think the more you're there, the better chance you have to be successful. Bowling Green went one year, we won it once. I thought, hey, this is going to be easy. Then it was 20 years before we got back. Had to go through some painful losses, Michigan in '98, OT, and certainly when Jamie O'Leary hitting the crossbar in overtime, which would have won it for us.
I think the more you’re into high-pressure situations, similar to a golfer, one-stroke lead going into 17 and 18 at Augusta, can you withstand the pressure and just get par in and win the game.
So I think the more you're involved in those type of situations, you get a little calmer, you handle the stress better. And it's a carry over from years to years going through.
So I think the first is the most difficult. And then the longer you're in this thing, as teams, you get better. You know what was successful, what wasn't successful. What's successful is get a lot of good players, I know that.
Q. Coach, Alex Tuch came on in the second period against Harvard. What has he meant for the team, and what have you seen from his development?
COACH YORK: The first half of the year was very average for Alex, just wasn't involved in the game, wasn't on the puck, wasn't a physical presence. And right around the New Year's he just had to come on strong. And the last month, two months he's been outstanding for us. He's not circling. He's playing through people. He's just a very strong, powerful forward now for us, one of the reasons we're here.
Q. I'm asking you the same question I asked before about the Duluth game and maybe some of the abilities that you can go and use those lessons learned in terms of those final minutes and how that maybe in a certain sense might help you catch the player's attention in terms of maintaining focus and pedal to the metal?
COACH YORK: Winning is hard. We're never going to go through a year winning 5-0 or 6-0. The opponents are too good. The players are too good on other teams. The coaches are too good.
It's hard to win. And Duluth, they were as good a club as we played all year. I thought they were outstanding. And it's 60 minutes. They came on strong at the end. And we had a little puck luck with six seconds left. I think Austin (Cangelosi) just knocked the puck off the goal mouth at the crease.
They're good teams. We have to play well all the time to be involved in our moving on, win and advance, that was one of those win-andadvance situations. So we don't dwell on the last three minutes or first three minutes of the game. But here's how we played over 60 minutes and kind of broke down and some pluses and minuses in that game for us.
So certainly the quality of the opposition determines how well you play it. I love to play 60 minutes of flawless hockey, but the other teams don't let you do that.
Q. If you went back and looked at the 11 other times you came, in terms of your personal preparation, be it notes or if you could actually have tapes of what you said to your teams over those 11 times, how has your message evolved? I assume it's tailored somewhat to the talent, but how has your message evolved?
COACH YORK: I think it's more experience. I think I'm more prepared now as we go into these Frozen Fours. And I referred way back -- I remember in '84 when we won the championship, Bob Johnson's son was my graduate assistant. And I got a call from Bob the next day and he said, Jerry, what do you think the best thing that just happened to you, as you look over the next few months? I said, Bob, we'll go to parades, White House, a lot of accolades will come to our players and school. He said, no, the best thing is now you have a blueprint to go back and think about what you did there, why was your team successful. And that will help you win other events.
So I thought every time we've played in the Frozen Four, try to analyze, look at it, and say why weren't we successful in Philadelphia? If we had six more seconds left, I think Gaudreau scores the goal and sends us to the championship game.
But I think we try to learn from it and the travel, the preparation, the two weeks prior from the NCAA Selection Show to the opening of the Frozen Four, how do we handle that. So I think I've evolved as a coach. And I think I'm clearly better now than I was when I first started.
Q. What is it about coaching that has kept you in the game so long and continued to do it year after year, and have you ever put a timeline on just how long you want to keep this thing going?
COACH YORK: I've always thought that if you like your profession, you're going stay in it, whether you're a sportswriter, run a local deli, if you like it, you'll stay longer in it. People become lawyers and leave after three years, I don't really like the profession, or school teachers that say that, hey, this is not my cup of tea. They move to a different -- so it's a lot of people that I know that switched occupations.
Nothing wrong with that. But once they find something they like, they're going to stay in it. I found something I like. I enjoy the whole gamut, from A through Z, that's involved with coaching. So I enjoy going. How old is (Michigan head coach) Red (Berenson) now?
COACH YORK: I have to catch Red, you know.
Q. I think a lot of Lightning fans recognize Austin Cangelosi as a guy that looks and plays a lot like Martin St. Louis. One, what kind of game does he have, and, two, how important is he to your success here in the Frozen Four?
COACH YORK: He's small in stature, but he's got a big heart, plays very physical for a small guy. He's got tons of energy, terrific teammate. Goal scorer. Kills penalties for us. I think he's going to be a key factor in whether we can advance past Quinnipiac and get a chance to play for the trophy. Outstanding player.
Q. Just as far as the question I asked the student-athletes, how have you seen the game evolve over the years in the warm weather states California or Florida and players like Austin Cangelosi?
COACH YORK: We think we're a sunshine state, Massachusetts. Last few days up there it's been pretty hard.
I think it's just getting bigger and better all through the country. I think TV is part of it, but expansion of the NHL, when the Kings are -- Triple Crown line, it was exciting. Kids want to grow up and become hockey players. The success the Ducks have had, the success the Lightning have had and the way the Florida Panthers are playing this year, it's clearly connected with the expansion of the NHL. You're not growing up thinking you're going to be the next John Elway all the time if you live in an area that has an NHL team, you're thinking maybe about being a Coyote in Arizona.
Q. Coach, you've had Casey Fitzgerald with Ian McCoshen all season. What have you seen of his learning curve and what do you think has improved in his game as he's gotten as much minutes as he has a freshman?
COACH YORK: It's been key. Ian has been a tremendous mentor. He's a junior, been through the wars. He's kind of nurtured Casey coming in. I think Casey was a little bit underrecruited. He played for the NTDP, and I think there were five or six defensemen statistically rated ahead of him.
We saw something in Casey when he played at Malden Catholic that we thought would be a special player, and I think he's gone through the NTDP, and he's learned some lessons. But now it's coming to fruition, what we thought we saw at Malden Catholic, dynamic skater, very intelligent player, hockey wise, and competitive level off the charts. He's come into his own this year, and Ian's helped him in that.
Q. Your team is going to be playing on the same ice as one of your former players who now plays for the Lightning, Brian Boyle, who went with you three times to the Frozen Four. What kind of memories do you have of Brian, and when you think of him, what kind of memories pop up and what has he meant to your program?
COACH YORK: He was certainly a key player four years at BC, I like the fact that he stayed four years, got his degree and now he's well into a fine career at the NHL level. He called this week and said, I'm going to leave a package of swag for our equipment manager, John Hegarty, and, sure enough, when we came, Brian had something for him, a hat and a T-shirt and stuff and had a message to tell our players that he's rooting for us. And so fond memories of Brian.
Q. In this modern day of the Frozen Four, it's hard to get back to cities quickly. And we're four years removed from being here in Tampa. You were here back then at the championship, it’s a good memory, but everything else that went along with it, what makes the city and the way they host this event special?
COACH YORK: I just think with the way the Lightning embraced it, it helped in a lot of different ways with locker rooms, access to their -- of course the No. 1 seed always gets the top. So they gave the dressing room up to the college team. I think Jeff Vinik and Steve Yzerman both really commit and support the Frozen Four. And I think the city as a whole, and you go around town and see a lot of Frozen Four banners, and hotels are really actively involved in welcoming us.
Terrific city, as there are some other great venues. I think the Boston Garden does a pretty good job, too. But certainly the weather becomes such a factor. Very positive factor.
Q. At what point this year did you say to yourself, okay, my team gets it? And also have you ever arrived here wondering if your team gets it?
COACH YORK: I was thinking the other day, someone asked me that question at a restaurant one night, and so I had to think back. And we lost down here at Florida at a Christmas tournament. Of all the times coming back on the plane I was thinking, hey, this could be a team that's going to be very special as the year progresses. That's coming off a loss to a very good Providence team.
But I thought at that point, I thought we have something that we can build on and get better at. And we weathered some storms there with injuries. We lost actually our goaltender, freshman goaltender for the whole year with a concussion. We lost Brendan Silk with nerve damage to his shoulder.
So two of our players that we counted on early in the season were lost. And people stepped up and did a nice job in that regard. But it's a pretty good club. Now to win it, you've got to be an outstanding team. So I'm hoping that we can connect one more step to become an outstanding team.
Q. Have you ever arrived here with a team you're not sure of, did they grasp the message?
COACH YORK: I think this team has a pretty good feel for what's in front of them because having played in '14, they know how difficult it is. But I probably had some early teams that just went to the Frozen Four, were kind of in shellshock almost the whole -- but I think this team, even though we only have two seniors that will play tomorrow night, we have some upperclassmen that handle the situation.
But it's something we welcome. We don't feel there's pressure on it. But you have to get used to the expanded role the media plays, the building, the TV, and I think hockey prepares us for that.
Q. Can you talk about your team's ability to either come back or hold onto leads, win highscoring games or lower-scoring games, and what would your preference be against Quinnipiac?
COACH YORK: Score one more goal than the Q. But I think that you're going to be in those situations during the course -- we played almost 40 games now. So you're going to be early leads. You're going to be early deficits. You're going to have swings in momentum.
I think just gotta be able to handle it mentally. I think mental strength is so important in all sports. But especially at this level. So you can be down 3-1 and you can come back and win. You could be ahead 4-1 and you can almost lose a game because your attitude, hey, we've won the game, and all of a sudden the team comes on strong.
The mental strength you have, it's going to play for 60 minutes. And despite the way the momentum shifts back and forth, you have to stay on even keel. So 1-0 deficit doesn't necessarily mean you're going to lose a game. I've see three-goal leads switch so you can win a game. I think it's more, hey, let's play through the 60 and give it our best honest shot.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.