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Postgame Quotes: Wisconsin vs. U.S. Under-18 Team



Dec. 31, 2011

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Postgame Quotes: Wisconsin vs. U.S. National Under-18 Team

Wisconsin Head Coach Mike Eaves

Opening Statement:
“What we as a coaching staff wanted to get out of this event tonight was to play a high-energy, emotional team, and that’s what we got. It was a really good way to jump back in the pool. The week of practice that we had, we didn’t really peak for tonight. We pushed everyone this week. We wanted our guys to play tired and a little bit sore going into this one game. And we did that, and it was good. We really jumped into this team. They played physical, they played our pace. Even though we gave them the first two goals by turnovers, they took advantage of those turnovers and kept themselves in the game. It was exactly what I hoped for – a win, a chance to get the rust off and get back to feeling like you did in the game – all of those things you can’t quite duplicate in practice, we were able to experience tonight.”

On if the players were ready for the U.S. team’s physical nature:
“I think we talked about it but I think they were shocked at times at how strong they were on their skates and how they initiated hits, and that’s good. That’s exactly what we need to have happen to us to get us back in the swing of things.”

On Mitch Thompson getting his first collegiate start:
“The telling tale of how much he enjoyed the moment was during the introductions – he wasn’t fidgeting in the net at all, he waited until they said everything and then he just glided out there to enjoy the moment. He got the game puck tonight as the starting goalie and the winning goalie, so good for Mitch.”

On U.S. team member and future Badger Nic Kerdiles tonight:
“The first thing you notice is that he’s on the score sheet (two assists). The second thing you notice is that there were times when he was physical on the ice. As we look at video, I’ll keep an eye out for him. I’m sure I’ll see many more subtle things that he did, but he was noticeable.”

Junior F Derek Lee

On getting back into action for the first time in two months:
“It felt good. Getting on the score sheet is always nice. It felt good to get the rust off and get back into the swing of things with the guys.”

On how physical the U.S. team was in the game:
“We knew that they were going to come out and play tonight. They’re obviously a very good team. They have a lot of good players. We knew that they were going to be physical and we knew we needed to match it. We came out a little slow in the first period, but as things progressed we got a little better. It was a good game for us, especially playing it before the RIT series next weekend. It’s a good measuring stick for us. We can go back and watch video, learn from our mistakes and get better.”

On bringing experience into the power play unit:
“It’s nice to get the opportunity out there. Getting to play with Mark (Zengerle) tonight is a treat – playing with him is great. I was just happy to be on the power play. I wasn’t expecting anything; I was just trying to come back and help the team in any way I could. I think the power play was on and off tonight – we got some good plays and we had some lapses, but overall, it was pretty good.”

On what Mitch Thompson getting his first collegiate start means to the team:
“We can’t say enough good things about Mitch. From day one in the summertime freshman year, the kid has never taken a day off. He’s the hardest working guy on the team. We’re just happy to reward him with that. He gets the place in the starting lineup tonight and he played well. He’s a heart and soul kind of guy, and it’s good to reward a guy like that. We’re real happy for Mitch, and he was deserving of the first star."

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