Postgame Quotes: No. 14 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 St. Cloud State




March 9, 2013

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UW Head Coach Mike Eaves
On his team’s overall performance Saturday night…
“There were some real good things done and then there were some things the kids panicked on a little bit. The talk on the bench was to play with poise and confidence and the third goal was a great example of doing that. Mark (Zengerle) wins the faceoff, Jake (McCabe) gets the puck and rims it -- (Tyler) Barnes makes a play on the wall to get it out and (Michael) Mersch comes across ice to put it in the net. That’s executed as drawn and it was nice to see that kind of thing.”

On the Minnesota Duluth outcome and its effect on the team’s performance…
“I never heard a word about it. The coaching staff never talked about it either. There’s so much noise in the building that I’d be very surprised if the boys heard that. Maybe they looked up and saw that but I don’t think that was a factor at all.”

On his team’s efforts on Saturday night…
“Our job today was to find a way to create a win. We deserved this win tonight as opposed to last night where we didn’t do a lot of things, I would say that tonight we were definitely deserving.”

On goalkeepers Joel Rumpel’s performance…
“In looking at how he played, the thing he did differently was he let yesterday go, he didn’t hold onto it. He got back in the present moment, controlled the things he could and was sharp getting out to the puck, he was big in the net. The biggest thing was letting go of yesterday and being in the moment.”

On the performance of the penalty kill unit…
“They did a nice job in many facets. Whether it was clearing the puck, blocking shots and working together as a unit to make sure they had it easy tonight. They were very good.”

On earning home ice for the first round WCHA playoffs…
“We talked about being 1-7-2 to start the season after the game in the locker room and where we’ve come from. To achieve home ice as a reward for their blood, sweat and tears and sticking through hard times. It’s a great thing for them. Now we get to go back to the Kohl Center and we get to practice there all week in preparation. That’s a big deal. That’s well deserved.”

On Michael Mersch’s overall play compared to Friday night…
“I think he’d tell you he didn’t play well last night and he played at the other end of the spectrum tonight -- he was dynamic.  That first goal of his was a big timer. As poor as he was last night, he was at the other end spectrum on this night. Last night he didn’t win races, he didn’t win battles, he didn’t do the things he normally does with the puck. He struggled with the puck. I don’t know if he had exams yesterday but he wasn’t where he needed to be in terms of being on the ice and doing the things he normally does but today he was. Great response by Michael and actually that whole line was better tonight with (Brendan) Woods and (Joseph) LaBate.”

Wisconsin Players

Joel Rumpel
On his performance tonight compared to his feelings after Friday night’s loss…
“After giving up that bad third goal to give St. Cloud State the win last night I knew I had to have a big game to respond to it and give my team a chance to get two points tonight. I felt I did that job tonight, unlike yesterday. Being a goalie you have to have short term memory. You learn from it that night and forget about it. It happens but you have to come back and forget about it.”

Frankie Simonelli
On the emotion and joy of accomplishing home ice after the slow start to the season…
“This year has definitely been a long journey for us. We started off 1-7-2 and now we’re finishing in fourth place, hopefully, in the WCHA. There’s a lot of gratitude in the locker room with being able to get home ice. It’s been a while for most of us, some of us have never even played in the playoffs at home before so this is shows that we’ve come a long way and we’re all really excited about it.”

On the first 67 seconds of action…
“It was fun and exciting. It was a good way to start the game off and set the tempo out there early on. I think everyone in the locker room knew what we had to do and I got the start this game so I knew within myself that I had to get out there and set the pace for the rest of the team. Along with the other four guys on the ice, we knew what we had to do set the temp for the rest of the game.”

Michael Mersch
On his highlight reel goal in the first period…
“I peeked when I first got the puck to see where their guys were. St. Cloud State ended up back checking Brendan (Woods) who was driving the net. When the puck came to me I just pulled it back and brought it to my back hand and beat the goalie. It was a patient kind of play. I’ve never scored like that --  that’s probably my prettiest score as a Badger.”

On his goal showing his development from his freshman season until now…
“I think I’ve gotten faster. The game has slowed down for me a little bit. I’ve become more patient and more confident with the puck so those are some things I’ve improved on in the past couple of years here.”

On the team’s improvement as the season progressed…
“Persistence is probably the best word to describe it. It was tough in the beginning -- coach was hard on us and we expected a lot of good things out of ourselves and it didn’t start out the way we wanted it to. We’ve become more familiar with our forecheck, which was new to us at the beginning of the season and as time went on we got more comfortable with it so that’s something we’ve really improved on as a team and it’s helped us win games.”

ON WISCONSIN
MHKY Big Ten Tournament
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