Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Frozen Four: Quotable, Part I

ST. PAUL -- Here are a few quotes from Wednesday's press conferences involving Notre Dame and UMD.

Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson, who won three national titles at Lake Superior State, including one in St. Paul: "I'm very fortunate to be part of six of these (Frozen Fours). It's a thrill for all of us, and I'm especially thrilled because of this group of kids."

Jackson on this year's team: "This group has been different than any team I have had in the Frozen Four. If there are any similarities it would be back to the Lake State team in 1988, or '92, when we had a really large freshman class. Even back then the freshman class was a little older."

Jackson on sophomore goalie Mike Johnson: "Mike is a character kid, one of the things he is going through is that he had never truly been a No. 1 goalie, and last year he was just thrown into it. He had top-five numbers in the country in the first half last year before fading out."

(Johnson has a .945 save percentage so far in the NCAA Tournament.)

Forward and Minnesota native Ryan Guentzel on getting back to the Frozen Four: "It's a great feeling. 2008 was a great experience for us, being able to play in the national championship was just a blast. Coming back to St. Paul, right by my home town, so looking forward to it."

Guentzel, a senior, on his advice to his team's freshmen: "The main thing I have been trying to get across to the freshmen is to enjoy the moment. You're not guaranteed to be in this situation every year. My freshman year we were in the Frozen Four, and obviously that has happened only one other time (this year)."

UMD coach Scott Sandelin on his program making the Frozen Four: “I think it’s a special time for our program, it’s our fourth time here in our program’s history. This group has had a goal to get here since last season. I’m extremely happy for these two seniors here (Justin Fontaine and Mike Montgomery) that came back and have led us to this point. It’s a great opportunity for them to finish their careers on a note that we all want and that’s winning two hockey games. I know our community is excited and everyone associated with our program is excited to be here, but there is certainly a lot of work to be done here.”

Sandelin on the week-plus of practice between regionals and this weekend: “I can tell you that the last week of practice has been extremely fun for us as coaches. We’ve had the players’ attention and focus. It’s a lot different than a weekend off in November or January. I was very pleased with how our guys came to the rink and practiced. They’re excited and they should be, but it was nice not having to get too mad.”

Sandelin on Notre Dame: "They have some good young players. They have a good mixture of young and old guys. In some ways their similar to our team, they like to play aggressively, they forecheck aggressively. So it’s going to be critical to get pucks out of the zone and to try and challenge them defensively. A lot of times, five on five is always tough as the year goes on, so special teams are going to be big. Even though their power play is at 16 percent, they do some different things that we’ll have to be aware of. Again, hopefully we can win the special teams game and chip one in here five on five. I think it’s going to be a great game, both teams like to get up and down."

Forward Justin Fontaine on returning for his senior year, when he could have turned pro at least once and possibly twice: “We’ve came up short the last two years. But had the edge to come back and be in our building. It was an exciting time to come back early August to come for our goal and that’s being here and that’s where we made it and it’s been a great ride.”

Goalie Kenny Reiter on the team's play -- and his own -- as of late: “I think we would have liked to play these games last weekend just to keep our momentum going coming off the regional. I am playing with confidence right now. I’m just trying to go out there and stick to the basics and I think that is what helped me play so well at the regional.”

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