A few notes, quotes and links from Friday's media sessions at the NCAA Division I hockey tournament to be played at the Huntington Center in Toledo ...
- St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko was an assistant coach at Miami during the period current BG coach Chris Bergeron played there. He was asked about Bergeron and another of his former players, current Miami coach Enrico Blasi ...
"Chris was our captain. And I’ll tell you what … [he was] one of the best captains I’ve been around. There have been a couple guys that I’ve know would be coaches, and Bergeron was it. You just knew that once he was done with the pro thing that he was going to make it. Now Rico, I didn’t think that would happen, but he has made the statement that he is one of the best coaches in college hockey. But, it tells you my age that former players are head coaches and doing a fantastic job.
- Notre Dame forward T.J. Tynan said the fact that the Fighting Irish missed the NCAA tournament last season gave he and his fellow upperclassmen a greater appreciate for making the tournament this year.
"As you get older, [you learn] that you only get so many opportunities to win championships and make it to the tournament. And obviously, last year we didn’t make it. We had a good run our freshman year, but we are really excited to be back and for our game tomorrow."
- Minnesota State's season started turning aroud about the time freshman Stephon Williams became the team's every-day goalie. Mavericks coach Mike Hastings talked about making the move to Williams.
"We were batting about .865/.870 in the post before [the Denver] weekend. Again, all successful teams have a certain catalyst that you have to build around -- in baseball it’s pitching, in football it might be your quarterback. Well, in hockey it’s between the posts. We were really trying to find ourselves, and I thought we were doing a lot of good things even though we were 1-5.
"The one thing we were looking for is someone who would give us an opportunity, when they went out there every night they would stop the ones that they should, and maybe steal a couple they shouldn’t. It was after that that weekend that the young men up here have described that we played Denver, that Monday, and looked at Steff, and said, 'Steff, you’re going to go this weekend.' I usually don’t tell our guys until Thursday or Friday, I looked at Steff and said, 'It’s your opportunity' and he had a great week. Then, when we ended up sweeping Wisconsin, not only did he gain some confidence from that, but I think our guys did too"
- Miami's roster is dominated by underclassmen -- there are 11 freshmen and seven sophomores on the 26-man roster. One of the freshmen, Riley Barber, talked about the adjustment he and his fellow freshman had to make in their first season in the program.
"It’s been a blast, but it’s also been a lot of work. I think my freshman class has really bought into the system here and coach Rico [Blasi’s] ideas. I think sometimes we are a little too young to realize the difference between a big game, and I think we just go out there and play and that really helps us.
"You play less games in college, so I think each game has an emphasis on it. Every play, you can’t take any plays off. You have to be strong in penalty kills and have a real strong sense of the game coming up. And definitely in all areas of the game, just be more focused, I’d say."
Here are a few stories and links from The Blade for those who want to know more about the teams in the Huntington Center this weekend ...
This story talks about the road all four teams took to get to Toledo.
This story features the two Hobey Baker finalists in Toledo, St. Cloud State's Drew LeBlanc and Miami's Austin Czarnik.
This notebook talks about the early reaction to the Huntington Center and includes other notes on the four teams.
This blog posts gets a reaction from all four coaches about the movement of teams and changes in conferences taking place in college hockey.
Click here to look at capsules on all four teams in the tournament.
Click here to view line charts for Saturday's first game between St. Cloud State and Notre Dame.
Here are a few stories and links from other newspapers for those who want to know more about the teams in the Huntington Center this weekend ...
This Hamilton Journal story talks about how the RedHawks need to bounce back from a disappointing loss to Michigan in the CCHA tournament semifinals.
This Journal story features Miami forward Alex Gacek.
This Mankato Free Press story talk about how the Miami program is at a place the Minnesota State program aspires to be.
This Hamilton Journal story talks to Mavericks coach Bob Motzko about his time as an assistant coach at Miami.
This Mankato Free Press story talk about the Mavericks getting healthier as the NCAA tournament starts.
This Free Press story talks in greater depth how the team turned its fortunes around following the two losses to Denver dropped its WCHA record to 1-5.
This St. Cloud Times story talks about the Minnesota natives who will take the ice against the Huskies Saturday.
This South Bend Tribune story talks about Stephen Johns adding more than toughness to the Irish.
This Tribune story looks at the things Notre Dame needs to do to be successful in the regional.
ST. CLOUD STATE
This St. Cloud Times story talks about D Taylor Johnson and the changes in his style of play that have made him successful with the Huskies.
This Times story compares the Huskies opponent Saturday, Miami, to fellow WCHA opponent Wisconsin.