No. 13/15 Wisconsin vs. Alaska Anchorage
Jan. 4, 2014
Kohl Center - Madison, Wis.
Recap | Final Stats
Head Coach Mike Eaves
On how much better the Badgers' performance was during tonight's game compared to Friday's game:
"In terms of execution, I would say marginally. I think in terms of growth and leadership, it was fun to be on the bench with those kids. They took the reins about halfway through the games, and--when we were down 3-2 and it was fun to see that growth. They were challenged, by the coach and each other, and they responded by taking the reins and that was very very much a positive."
On if he has a status report on Nic Kerdiles' injury:
"They have to do some x-rays and that. It's not day-to-day I know that for sure, you're probably looking at a couple of weeks."
On if Nic Kerdiles' injury is in the same relative health area as Sean Little:
"Yes probably, yes. Without talking to doctors, I would guess."
On the second period being difficult for the Badgers:
"Yeah, a lot of it was based on Nic. I think our guys were excited to have him back, you could see the energy he was giving us right away with the skating and then it was like `oh geez he's gone' and they're looking around at each other and `What happens now? Who am I playing with?' and those type of things. So that was the opportunity for growth there and that took place from the point that we got behind 3-2, there was a lot of good things that happened within the internal functions of this team."
On going 0-for-6 on the power play and not getting a shot on goal on the 5-on-3:
"Well, first thing I point Andy, that's our first 5-on-3, for the whole season, so in game situations, we haven't had to execute it. And we're missing a key guy in (Nic Kerdiles), so we had makeshift guys that are in there and all they've done is do walk-throughs in practice, so it's tough to do. You need execution in games."
On the UW players being veterans and if they have had experience playing in a 5-on-3 situations before this season:
"Not doing the things that we're asking them to do now. I mean, yes in other years they've done it, but we're asking them to do different things based on our personnel."
On if Alaska Anchorage is the best team UW has competed against this season:
"I'll tell you what, I'll put em in the top three. Their skating, their tenacity, the way they played together, they had plans on all their faceoffs, their grit, thought their goalie played well. I'd put them right up there, I was very impressed. I think we as a coaching staff were very impressed. I don't know, talking to Matt (Thomas), I don't know if this has been their best weekend of hockey they've played, but they were very impressive."
On why he changed your D-pairs during the game:
"To give us a little spark. To give us a little spark. We were upset with a couple of them in that second period because of play. Sat their fannies on the bench, as a little bit of a wakeup call, and Shuey came back and said, "I've noticed the chemistry here can I run with it?" Absolutely. So that's why we stuck with it."
On Jake McCabe's goal in the third period and if it is better to be lucky or good when scoring a goal:
"You know what, first of all I think it's a great response from Jake. We were talking to him after his game last night, he was disappointed and in this case, it's better to be lucky than good, he'll take em anyway he can get them. I don't know, it's kinda funny, their third goal, someone said that it hit Jake and then off the post and in on the screen shot or went between his leg or something, so and then the winning goal ends up being the type of goal it is. But yeah it was great response from Jake tonight based on his play last night."
On what Jake McCabe has had to endure during the past couple of weeks:
"You know it's funny, I said to him last night after the game, "You know Jake, it seems that on Friday nights in the games you've played, you've had some struggles. It almost seems like you need to play a small area game the day of the game to try and get yourself going." He said, "I tried that today that didn't work out here." We still got to find what the answer to that is, but you know Jake is a guy who has been in some big situations with the World Junior team, been on big stages, and he brings a calming effect to the bench, and because he's struggled, I mean he's had struggles in his life before, he knows how to handle them very well for a young guy. And again, tonight we witnessed that by the way he played last night and his response to that was excellent and really good leadership on the ice, on the bench, and in the locker room."
On what Jefferson Dahl does for the team:
"Kind of a little bit of an unsung guy, because he doesn't have a lot of headlines or he might not get those, but two assists tonight, blocked a shot, I know he was hurting, sucked it up, continued to play with it, got the job done in key moments for us. Dahl is one of those guys who his teammates really appreciate because they know from the inside out what he provides."
Junior D Jake McCabe
On if he will take goals that require skill or luck as a goal scorer:
"Luck. I'll take that second goal any night of the week. To get puck luck like that, it hasn't really been in our favor. Last night their power-play goal was kind of the opposite. We kept blocking the shot and it kept going right back to them. So I guess the hockey gods were on our side tonight and we'll take that any day of the week."
On how much better McCabe played in tonight's game vs. Friday night's game:
"Much better. I was talking to Coach (Eaves) yesterday and today even. I really struggled last night and I have to be better for this team. I have to be a leader in the backend. So I was really focused and responding. We found a way to win and it wasn't pretty but I'm glad we responded like the way we did."
On the goal he scored in the first period and if he had the intention to take it all the way on the play:
"To be honest, I made a fake to the middle to see if that guy bit and sure enough he did. The whole lane kind of opened up for me. No guy really came on to me. So after that, I'm not really used to being around the net with my backhand, so I just threw it in there and we had traffic in front, and it found its way into the back of the net. It was exciting. It was good to get the first one on the board and try to get the guys going and we responded right away. At the end of the period we got a second one and it really was a good way to end the first period and start rolling in the second.
On what the difficulty is with UW's power play, if they were affected by Nic Kerdiles' injury and why the Badgers didn't capitalize on the 5-on-3:
"We have a couple of set plays we want to run in the 5-on-3 and the way they were penalty killing us, it was a little higher than usual so we just didn't adapt. We practice every week if a guy goes down, guys know their position, so not having Nic (Kerdiles), that's no excuse. Guys understand that they have to play that roll if I go down, if Mark (Zengerle) goes down, someone else is stepping in. They know what their job is. Like you said, it was frustrating not getting that 5-on-3. That was definitely a game-changer. If we scored a goal, it really could've sparked our fire and went from that period on. That short-handed goal definitely started that whirlwind in the second period. It was definitely an interesting second period, but all said and done, we got the W and we'll take that."
Sophomore D Eddie Wittchow
On the Badgers' play in the second period:
"I don't think we came out the way we would've liked to, but we got things going towards the end of that period. We got pucks deep and got pucks to the net and that really turned things and was in our favor going into the third period."
On scoring his first goal as a Badger and if it seemed like it was in slow motion:
"It definitely felt like a century as it was sitting in the air there, but Jefferson (Dahl) was working the puck down low and I just found a seam. I saw that he had his head up and he caught me coming down. First shot didn't go quite where I wanted, but I got the rebound. The second shot didn't go quite where I wanted it to go either, but it went in the net."
Senior D Jefferson Dahl
On the team taking a big step in leadership, growth and maturity during tonight's game:
"It was kind of a whirlwind there for a few minutes. Nic (Kerdiles) goes down and everyone was shuffling lines. Coach (Eaves) was calling out different lines. Guys stepped up tonight. It wasn't the prettiest game, but in situations guys were put in that their not normally in it wasn't the prettiest. But nonetheless, we got our points and came out with a W."
On if Alaska Anchorage is the best team the Badgers' have played this year:
"That was probably one of the hardest working, no doubt. In the offensive zone they had guys shooting in the gaps, so they threw everything at us. Sometimes we didn't respond the way we should of or the way we know how to, but I thought in the third period we really buckled down. We had our assignments and they didn't get as many quality opportunities in the third."
On going back to Big Ten play and how he hopes this series serves as a reminder of how the team can battle during close games:
"It was a nice home stand definitely for us. To have that two-week break, come back from Christmas and have that success against Alabama Huntsville, and then come here and have a dog fight, it's really good for us going into Big Ten play. It's an eye-opening experience when you're rolling, as we were, just to have those close games is huge and we know what we need to do now. It's going to be a battle from here until the end of the year."