Miami Hockey Press Conference Quotes
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Miami vs. Minnesota State
NCAA Midwest Regional Semifinal
Toledo, Ohio - Huntington Center

Head Coach Enrico Blasi
Players: freshman goaltender Ryan McKay, senior forward Curtis McKenzie and senior forward Marc Hagel

Moderator: Ryan McKay, Curtis McKenzie, Marc Hagel and head coach Enrico Blasi. Coach, if you could, start us off with an opening statement and then we will open it up with questions for any of the four.

Blasi: I thought it was the game that we expected to play against Minnesota State...they’re obviously here for a reason and it was a great game and 0-0 after one, that game could have gone either way. I thought Ryan made some nice saves in the first, they hit and couple of posts, then we got a huge goal by McKenzie on a 3-on-1, then the big goal there by Hags in the third period. I thought we started to play our game there at that point. They pushed hard, but I thought we did a pretty good job of keeping them to the outside and not giving them too much. ...It’s that time of the year, and luckily we got some bounces tonight.

Moderator: If you have questions raise your hand and the gentleman with the microphone will bring it to you.

Q: Coach, coming in Minnesota State had one of the most prolific special teams and you guys shut them down. How important were the special teams tonight?

Blasi: Well, we talked about that all week. They are very dynamic on the power play they’ve got some snipers, but I thought our guys did a great job of blocking some shots. Like I said we got lucky in the first—they hit a crossbar. But for the most part we did a nice job of blocking shots and Ryan was there when we needed him.

Q: Ryan, coming off the game last week, was there a point in practice this week that you were able to put it on this week and focus on this week instead?

McKay: Absolutely. As a goalie, it doesn’t matter what level you’re playing, you have to have a quick memory. I forgot about that the instant that game was over Saturday at the Joe Louis, and I think our team did as well. We came out, and as coach said we didn’t play great in the first but we really got it going in the second and played our game.

Q: Curtis, can you talk about that goal you scored—it looked like you got some pretty nifty passing up there to set you up?

McKenzie: I just wanted a battle in the corner there, and I look up and Czarnik’s taking off, Barber’s coming out of the box, so I just tried to get on my horse. Czarnik gave me a nice pass right at my skate, and somehow I got it up over the goalie. It was a good start to get that first goal—it's something that we try to stress on with the amount of times that they scored first so it was a big one to get.

Q:Could you feel you guys get lifted up with that goal—could you sense that on your ice?

McKenzie: Yeah, I think so. Like they said, that first period we were still trying to find our legs. It was almost a relief—everyone got a little more confidence when that puck went in. Things started going our way from there.

Q: Marc, talk about all the blocked shots. It seems like you are somebody that specializes in that?

Hagel: I got to get in the lanes. That’s what Coach Brekke is telling us all the time. Get your sticks in the lanes and hopefully they shoot in to you. We got the blocked shots—and it’s not just me—it was a lot of other guys out there blocking shots too.

Q: Can you talk about your goal, what happened there?

Hagel: I flew the zone and I saw Blake chasing down the puck. It got behind the team, but I had a feeling he was going to get there. And once he slid it across, I was just thinking get it up. That’s all I did.

Q: Enrico can you describe your relationship with Coach Motzko and some of the challenges in playing St. Cloud State?

Blasi: They’re the WCHA regular season champion that’s all I need to say about St. Cloud. They played great against Notre Dame—I got the chance to watch the 2nd and 3rd periods and they dominated. I thought Notre Dame tried to push there at the end but they just kept coming. They have great forwards. As far as my relationship with Bob—he obviously coached me two years and he taught me how to score goals. You can tell him I said that, he’ll appreciate that. Other than that we’re good friends but tomorrow’s games about the teams. He’s going to prepare his team really well, I’m going to try to do the same, and we’ll see what happens.

Q: Can you talk about Mullins injury and just trying to bounce back after that?

Blasi: We had a couple of good chances and then we were just fighting it a little bit on the major. As far as Jimmy Mullin's injury, I have no idea, nothing to report.

Q: Coach can you talk about Ryan’s play this week and how he bounced back and how you evaluated the goaltenders this week in practice?

Blasi: I think as Ryan said earlier, part of our program’s philosophy is to not worry about the past. If you worry about things in the past you are living with some guilt and some baggage. We’re also not a program that worries about the future, because if you worry about the future it is out of your control and you’re putting pressure that’s not necessary. So we’ve focused on being in the moment all year long, and once that game was over against Michigan, the entire team forgot about it. Obviously we had to learn some lessons from it and that’s what we harped on in practice all week. I thought the guys had a great attitude coming to the rink on Monday...they were fresh, they were energetic, we kept it short. Then the evaluation of the goaltenders we battled all week. Ryan battled his butt off, and so did Jay. It could have gone either way last night, and we decided to go with Ryan, and he got the job done. Other than that, that’s pretty much how it’s been all year. You don’t try to change things, you try to stay consistent, and that’s what we have done all year.

Q: Curtis, it seemed that as the game got on, particularly as the game got to 2-0 that they got a little chippy. Did you sense some frustration on their part? They hadn’t been shut out all year.

McKenzie: Good for Ryan on that part. They played hard all night; I didn’t really notice the chippiness at all, we try to stay disciplined and not get too involved. I think we play better that way when we aren’t running around doing chippiness as well. No one said too much on our side. They were a hardnosed team, you knew that coming in, and they were throwing their body around all night.

Q: Rico, you made some changes tonight...moving Curtis up to the first line...Daugherty played for the first time in a long time tonight. Obviously it worked, but talk about your reasoning for that.

Blasi: It’s something we’ve done all year really. We’ve moved McKenzie back and forth from Z’s line and really in games, if you notice with our lines, we change them quite a bit. Hags did a great job filling in for Jimmy. Hags was telling me after the game I should play him more It’s just something that we’ve always done, and I think in times like today—times where you have to switch it up a little bit, guys feel comfortable playing with each other because we do it on a consistent basis. There are times when we practice four on a line and guys are just rotating in and out. It’s something that I think our guys are accustomed to, and when they come to the rink they probably aren’t surprised that I’m messing with the lines anyway.

Q: Was that just a gut feeling? Particularly with Doherty, he hasn’t played since December.

Blazi: He’s been great in practice. And at some point you’ve got to give the kid an opportunity and I thought he did a pretty good job tonight.

Q: And you guys can you talk about the emotions? It’s a long season and now you’re one game from getting to the Frozen Four. 

McKenzie: I guess it’s pretty nice to get a win in the tournament again. It’s been a few years for our team. I thought Spinell and Hartman have done a good job trying to lead the team. They’ve been there to win before and I kind of how to handle the emotions and handle the mindset for it. And I think everyone else did a great job as well. A lot of young guys in our lineup and a lot of energy going on, so I think we held our emotions pretty well and it’s great to get that first win.

Hagel: At the start of the year getting a win in the sixteen is what we wanted to do and we want to get another win tomorrow and we’re going to stay present and in the moment and that’s what we’re going to try to do. And it’s great and we’re happy to be here.

McKay: Like both these guys said, we’re happy to be here. We’ve stressed all year to be in the moment and coach is the one that started that and deserves the credit for that. But I think a lot of guys, we’ve already enjoyed the win today and I think we’re already looking forward to tomorrow and what’s to come.

Q: You guys did have a lot of blocks, as a goalie what does that do for you mentally and being in the game?

McKay: From a team standpoint, not necessarily my standpoint, on the team when guys are doing stuff like that, you appreciate it as a goalie and that’s the desperation we played with tonight and I think that was the contributor of why we won tonight.

--MURedHawks.com--