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Postgame Quotes: No. 14 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 Michigan


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Postgame Quotes
No. 14 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 Michigan
Jan. 10, 2014
Kohl Center - Madison, Wis.

Head Coach Mike Eaves

On the crowd:
"I think it was an amazing crowd that we had tonight. For the number of the people that came to get here through the weather, just another attribute to the Wisconsin hockey fan or athletic fan in general. To come out through that, I knew I talked to my guys before the game, and they talked about how they slipped the way in. For people to come out tonight, I think it is a tribute to them and I know the boys really appreciated it."

On Wisconsin's performance tonight:
"We were hard when we needed to be hard, when we needed to control our emotions we did, and when we needed to block shots we did. When we needed to chip it off the glass, you could go on and on. We did a lot of little things well tonight. Even when the game was 3-2, and this epitomized the night for the team, as when they pulled their goalie, and it's so easy to rush down and try to get the empty net goal yourself, our guys kept chipping it off the board to the next guy, to the next guy, so unselfishly. Then finally Dahl made a pass to Michael who was the final cog in it. They did a lot of great things tonight that I think will pay off as the year goes on." 

On UW's special teams
"They blocked a lot of shots, they worked together as a group of four. Even the power-play goal, I thought we did the right things, we were lined up. I know Coach Shuchuk will look at it as well. I know our power play, we were a hair off. The pass had it been three or four miles per hour faster it would have been in the right spot. There were some good things well. Yes, special teams were an important facet tonight."

On Michael Mersch's hat trick
"The last goal was a goal-scorers goal. Being on the off wing and finding that far side. You know what, goal scorers love to score goals, and when they get on a roll, that's a good thing. Ride that wave as long as you can. I think he hadn't scored in three games, so maybe he's back on that roll again."

Senior forward Jefferson Dahl

On why his line worked so well tonight:
“We wanted to get it down low, have some battles. Guys were in battles all night throughout the lineup. You saw that second goal too. There were three battles. One to get that goal. It was something we talked about all week and we got our chances. We capitalized on them.”

On the importance of starting the game quickly and getting a win over a ranked opponent:
“Last week, Friday night, we weren’t happy with the effort we put forth and that was a key going into this week. We know it’s going to be a grind in the Big Ten Conference here going down the stretch and we need to be playing our best hockey this time of year. We won battles tonight, got pucks down low, stuck to our game plan and came out with a win.”

Junior forward Matt Paape

On what were the keys to success during tonight’s penalty kills:
“We did a good job starting off with faceoffs. A lot of times we were in the faceoffs there, getting 200 foot pucks right away and then making them dump it in on the forecheck there and then just win the battles and get out 200 foot pucks again. Then get fresh guys out there and just keep rolling with that.”

On if tonight’s win makes the Big Ten Conference feel more real:
“Yeah, I’d say so. We had the Penn State and Minnesota weekend, but this is kind of the start of 16 games here where we’ve got Big Ten all the way. It’s kind of the real feeling. Like you said, it’s here. We’re either going to run with it or see how things go, but definitely a good feeling to start off with a Big Ten win for us and be ready to go tomorrow.”

Junior goaltender Joel Rumpel

On Wisconsin’s penalty kills:
“I have to agree (with Matt Paape). In the past, our team doesn’t quite get the puck out or they take a swing at it. We get a bad bounce and they keep it in, but tonight, they were bearing down on pucks and getting things 200 feet and blocking shots was a huge key again. It always is, our team is great at that.”

On how critical it was to shut down Michigan’s power play and on how often he was challenged during power plays:
“I don’t recall having to make any outstanding or big saves. Our team blocking shots and keeping pucks outside makes my job pretty easy. But definitely killing those off early in the game is a huge boost for our team to get us rolling and get the energy going on the bench. It helps.”

Senior forward Michael Mersch

On how he describes the final two minutes of the third period:
“First of all, Jefferson (Dahl) made two good plays to get me the puck and when you have a center who can do that, it helps out a lot. Brad Navin made a lot of good plays on the wall too. He didn’t see it on the stat sheet, but overall our team was really good on the walls tonight and it allowed us to produce some offense.”

On this being a signature win for the Badgers this season:
“Yeah. They were good. I think Miami was a good one for us as well at the time. You have to put together a good weekend though. Obviously this was a good game for us, but we’ve got to build on it and keep moving forward here. So a signature win, yeah for tonight, but you’ve got to make it a weekend.”

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