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Postgame quotes: No. 12 Wisconsin vs. No. 1 Minnesota


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Postgame Quotes
No. 12 Wisconsin vs. No. 1 Minnesota
Feb. 7, 2013
Kohl Center – Madison, Wis.


Head Coach Mike Eaves

On Friday's play versus Thursday night’s play:
“We were a much better team tonight. Things that we didn’t do last night we did. We moved our legs, we won more races, and we got to those races and when there was a battle we won more battles, not all of them but we won more tonight. We got really fine goaltending and we got some timely goals. It was between the second and third, we talked about this with our team before is that every game is a riddle and there’s no textbook answers, and the riddle tonight was how to win this game in the third period with (Jake McCabe) out of your lineup. And Kevin Schulze probably had as good a college game as he’s had all season, and he was given the game puck. Could have gone to a lot of guys. And then we as a staff thought that Chase Drake and (Eddie) Wittchow stepped up. They got more minutes and they did some good things, so with (McCabe) out of the lineup, we had good growth and found a way to win a game. Those are very positive things.”
 
On if Grant Besse, who grew up in Minnesota, feels excited after this series:
“Yeah I think so. Only he would know, coming from that state, but we can imagine how he would feel, but nice for him. You know after he almost took a nose dive yesterday in the introduction, after the anthem, I’m sure that this is a redemption game for him in that fact (chuckling).”
 
On not having swept them at home since Don [Lucia] took over in 1999:
“That is. They’ve always had good teams. It’s a tough task. Winning this series helps us grow to be the team that we want to be at the end of the year. If we want to be a team that’s contending for something then we need to win series’ like this so it was good growth for us this weekend.”
 
On Jake McCabe’s penalty:
“I did not see it, I did not see it. I talked to the referee about the fact that Mr. Rau’s a smaller guy, did he take that into consideration when the hit was made? I have not looked at it yet, (Gary Shuchuk) thought he might have brought his hands up, as he made the hit. If that’s the case, then it’s a penalty, and it’s a bad guy to lose, but you know we can look back and say look at the growth that happened because other guys had to step up.”
 
On losing Jake McCabe during the game and if it’s fair to say that leaves the biggest hole:
“Absolutely.”

On Nic Kerdiles’ play this series:
“You know, I guess the best way to describe him, he’s a thoroughbred. He can Go. He’s got a great work capacity as an athlete and he hasn’t played in four weeks and he logged a lot of minutes and there was times that I thought “He can hardly get off the ice,” but he recovered and he was able to get out there. And you can see how dynamic he is. His ability to get from point A to point B, his understanding of the game, and his skill set. You know he adds a lot to our team.”
 
On the energy of the sellout before and during the game:
“There was a sense of urgency, even from last night, Andy, because we didn’t play well. And we knew if we were going to have a chance to win this game tonight we had to play better. So that was probably the urgency, the fact that it was sold out. “Hey, I’m a college student, I played in this sold out building, I’m getting jacked up for that.” It’s interesting, to share a brief story, when our kids graduate, the seniors, they have an exit meeting with Coach Alvarez, and he asks them, “What’s the most memorable thought of playing here?” And to a T the players say, playing in the Kohl Center when it’s sold out. So you know that’s one of the emotional energizers that jacks them up and was part of the equation tonight for our kids.”
 
On if Joel Rumpel has taken his game to another level lately:
“Another level, Andy, revolves around the fact that his attention to detail is there. He’s big, he’s athletic, that was always his strength, but his attention to detail has helped him elevate to another level and give us and him the numbers that he has. And that’s where his game has grown and how he’s gotten better.”
 
On how he would evaluate the special teams:
“Well we were one for two on the power play, that’s 50 percent so, that’s pretty good. And then the penalty killing…you know we did a lot of good things. It’s a good power play. We blocked a lot of shots. I think special teams, if we were to rank ourselves, we would say it was a plus for us.”
 
On the impact Kerdiles’ return had:
“A good, big impact. Something like that. He brings that energy to our game with his athleticism you know when a thoroughbred tends to run, everybody wants to keep up with him.”
 
On what he thinks the carryover effect will be:
“I hope really positive. I think the experience of playing at Michigan this past weekend and getting that kind of playing in that environment, knowing what it’s going to be like going back on the road in a small sheet. Coming back here, finding a way to win two games, and then going to Ohio State that’s a good combination of things that will hopefully be a positive for us going in there.”
 
On if Besse is the poster boy for how UW has played at home and if it is a defining start to his career as far as home games go:
“Yep, that is. And I hope that continues and he gets even better on the road.”



Wisconsin Players

Freshman Forward Grant Besse

On what he feels after playing his home state team and playing the way he did in the series:
“It feels good. It feels good to obviously beat the Gophers, but the bigger picture is we got six points this weekend and we’re happy about that.”

On tripping during last night’s introductions and if that was because of nerves:
“I actually hit a c-cut in the ice and kind of fell forward a little bit. But if I would have fell full out, that would have been really bad because I probably would have slid all the way to the Gophers lineup. It would have been tough.”

On being able to laugh at that now:
“Yeah, I was laughing at it about two seconds later. You kind of have to.”

Eaves: Do you know who Phil Esposito is?
Besse: Yeah.
Eaves: Did you ever see him fall when Canada played Russia?
Besse: I did not.
Eaves: We’ll google that for you.

On how good Joel Rumpel’s play was in this series:
“Phenomenal, in all aspects of his game, controlling rebounds, making the first save, playing the puck behind the net. You can just look at the stats. He’s our backstop back there and he’s a big reason why we came out of here with six points.”

On if he dreamed about being a part of a series like this since he grew up in Minnesota:
“It’s a pretty cool feeling. I wouldn’t say I necessarily dreamed about this when I was younger, but obviously coming in to this year, I did kind of have this series circled on my calendar a little bit. I’m just glad we were able to come out of here with two wins.”

On if he knew that every single one of his goals has been scored at home:
“I did not know that.”

On if he knew that the Badgers are undefeated in the games he’s scored:
“Good Karma.”

On what made the final decision to come to Wisconsin:

“I’ve always wanted to come here since I took my first unofficial visit my freshman year in high school. Nowhere else I went compared to the facilities here, the Kohl Center, the school, the coaching staff and I didn’t see myself going anywhere else.”

Senior Defense Frankie Simonelli

On the Badgers defensive play after Jake McCabe was forced to leave the game due to a penalty:
“I think everyone stepped up back there. We had guys playing big minutes that they’re not used to and they did a hell of a job back there. One guy that really stepped up tonight was Kevin Shulze and he ended up getting the game puck. Just like Coach (Eaves) said in the locker room, I think that was the best I’ve seen him play since he’s been here. He’s not the biggest guy out there, but I don’t think he lost one battle all night and that’s just awesome.”

On Nic Kerdiles’ impact on the offense tonight:
“He’s definitely a high-powered offensive player and he contributed with two points tonight. He assists on Grant (Besse)’s goal, which was a nice play, and then had the game-winning goal. We need big players like that to step up in big games and he did a good job tonight. I’m proud of him for that and hopefully he can keep it going.”

On how he puts the series in perspective:
“Big picture, it’s awesome. Just in general, what an event tonight at the Kohl Center. Sold-out crowd. It was awesome to be a part of and a memory everyone on this team will remember forever. No. 1 team comes in town, we get the sweep. It helps us in the standings, we get six points. It means a lot to us and that’s big for our team and in the locker room it means a lot.”

On how much being physical with Minnesota hindered the Gophers’ speed they usually rely on:
“That’s something we emphasize a lot too is winning battles. They’re trying to play fast and I think a lot of guys were out there tonight winning battles and laying the body down. Big Grant (Besse) had a big hit in the third period. (Jedd) Soleway was out there throwing his body around. Everyone was out there stepping in front of them, slowing them down and taking the puck off of their stick. It’s fun to watch when we’re doing those things.”

Junior Goaltender Joel Rumpel

On the mentality he has right now and his confidence:
“I don’t know. It’s kind of a weird feeling for goaltending. You just get in a groove and the puck just seems bigger, reading plays before they happen. Just being on the ice more, battling hard in practice towards the end of the season helps a lot. That’s about it.”

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