Postgame quotes: No. 8 Wisconsin vs. Michigan State


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Postgame Quotes
No. 8 Wisconsin vs. Michigan State
Feb. 22, 2014
Kohl Center - Madison, Wis.
Final Stats

Head Coach Mike Eaves

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On highlights of weekend:
“First off, our goaltending. I think that as good as Joel (Rumpel) was tonight, he looked so calm doing it. He was big back there. Obviously the next stat that jumps out is that the power play was productive. It produced goals on a night that were hard to come by. And we get four for the weekend, which we haven’t done in quite a while, so that’s a positive. And the third thing is our senior weekend. (It) is difficult to solve the riddle of how to win games on this weekend because there are a lot of distractions. As much as we think our kids are doing a good job away from the rink, you know people are calling—tickets, family, girlfriend, studying, coaches in my face. There’s a lot going on and we solved that riddle. We did enough things well this weekend to find a way to get points and do good things.”

On reason for chippiness of game:
“Well that’s a very proud team across the hall. You know what? I think that’s a positive for them. Their season is what it is. They’re battling, they’re scrapping. Their goal is to play the best hockey at the end of the year much like we did last year. I don’t know where they’re going to end up in the standings, but they’re probably going to have to win out to get into the tournament at the Big Ten playoffs. That’s their goal and they didn’t back off one little bit. They tried to get up and under our skin a little bit and we had to address that, but if a team doesn’t do that, they’ve given up. They did not give up at all today. Actually I think they picked it up tonight.”

On if the team is going on all cylinders right now:
“I don’t think so. I think we have more. I think there are some adjustments we could make in the lines—our forward lines—to see if we have more there. In our bye week we’re going to tinker with them a little bit. We talked about what we need to do with this power play to be a contributor and help this team get ‘W’s and they did that this weekend. So that’s probably the biggest growth of this group and it just needs to continue.”

On tasks of both power play units:
“The one unit—Joseph Labate—they have probably more structure than the (Mark) Zengerle unit. The Zengerle unit has a little bit more—although that’s got us in trouble—they have a structure they need to work with and ultimately have to take what’s given. But they were both good this weekend. I guess I should’ve had this talk with the power play a couple weeks ago to get it going.”

On feelings as seniors are leaving:
“It’s an interesting question because as a coach—as a coaching staff—we have talked about these young men and we have our brunch tomorrow and we’ll have a final send-off. Having nine guys stay this long—four years—and be major contributors, the biggest comment we can make as a staff is what they were like as freshman and what they are now and the quantum leap of growth that has happened in their life, whether it’s physical—they came in as skinny, little freshman and walk out as mature men that are maybe fifteen to twenty pound heavier. I think mentally they have a lot more skills in terms of time management. I think emotionally—they go through ups and downs—they have more control. We’ve been through a lot of battles together, this group—ups and downs. And that’s how you become close. Our banquet tomorrow—our little brunch—is probably going to end up longer because were going to talk a little bit more about some of these things that you brought up.”

On taking advantage after MSU’s goal was waved off:
“That early in the game the thought process isn’t whether or not the goal counted or not. It was a matter of we need a response. We either take it and use it or we just dig our heels in and play hard. Because of the time of the game we were going to have to respond one way or the other.”


Wisconsin Players

Frankie Simonelli

On if the Badgers are hitting on all cylinders with their play right now:
"I think our special teams has definitely picked up. I don't know if I would say were hitting all cylinders. There's definitely some things that we could still sharpen up. But yeah, we're going in the right direction moving towards the end of season here."

On what specifically the team needs to sharpen up:
"Just in general we need to be a little sharper. There's some things like we need to take better care of the puck at certain times in the game, make more high-percentage plays out there, but we're definitely moving in the right direction. It was good to see the power play connection this weekend and penalty kills have been real good as of late."

On what it is like for the seniors to sing Varsity in front of the student section for the last time:
"It was a good connection with our fans and our students. It's a good way for us to say thanks for all of the support they've given us throughout the years."

On Joel Rumpel's play and if he's playing better down the stretch:
"He played great for us last year down the stretch as well and having a guy like him on our backstop every night really helps us out. Getting the shutout tonight is big. It helps your team play with confidence as well. It starts with him and works its way forward. Our team emphasizes a lot on our team defense and we wouldn't have good team defense if we didn't have a good backstop back there. So definitely kudos to him with how he's been playing and hopefully he can keep it going down the stretch."

Joel Rumpel

On what happened with his glove and what was going through his head:
"It was supposed to be a routine glove save, but I don't really know. The puck kind of hit hard and then I guess my webbing kind of blew, at the bottom of it. It ended up going right through, the puck. Thank god it didn't go in, but yeah I don't know. I guess I'll have to get that fixed. I'll have to ask Paul. Three glove saves with three different gloves might be a new Badger record."

On having Landon Peterson's glove to replace it and then the third glove:
"Yeah, luckily we have a backup one, so we got that out there pretty quick. So it wasn't too bad."

On Michigan State's Jake Chelios saying that what differentiates Rumpel's play from other Big Ten goalies is his anticipation of certain shots and plays and if he agrees that he has a sense of that:
"Yeah. I think that was something I was probably missing my first couple of years here and it's something I've been focusing on, just better awareness of where players are on the ice. Where there's a backdoor threat, you have to anticipate a little bit to get there in time. It's something that I'm still working on and definitely every goalie should be working on."


Michael Mersch

On what it is like for the seniors to sing Varsity in front of the student section for the last time:
"It was fun. It wasn't planned or anything, it just kind of happened. Keegan Meuer was leading that and then we all hopped in. That's usual for him, he's a rally, rally kind of guy. It was awesome, kind of emotional for myself and I'm sure for the rest of our teammates."

On what the difference is in the power play and what's working right now that hadn't been earlier in the season:
"First of all, we usually have power-play time in practice during our [regular practice] time and we did it after, too. Then we took some time as a group to work on getting the puck to the net and just keeping it simple and getting pucks to the net. Also our breakouts are coming a little cleaner and that's helping us set out."

 

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