Wisconsin vs. Minnesota State
March 2, 2014
LaBahn Arena - Madison, Wis.
UW head coach Mark Johnson
On finally being done playing Minnesota State after playing them the past five games:
"It was a battle. Obviously both teams are going to be a little bit tired today. I thought our effort was very consistent. I was impressed with the way the players competed for 60 minutes, having played back-to-back games, playing against a team for the fifth time in a row. They earned the victory, which is important. Our backs were against the wall and we responded in a real positive way."
On how important getting that first goal was:
"In the three games we saw, the team that scored first ended up winning by a shutout. Friday's game was in our favor, scoring a minute and a half into the game. They got a goal a minute and a half into the game last night and went on to victory. Who's going to get a goal? I thought our second period put it very well. We had a lot of offensive-zone presence. We had some good scoring opportunities. We just needed to find a way. It wasn't a clean goal--it was sort of an ugly goal--but in these types of games, in this type of playoff atmosphere, that's what it's going to take to win. We were obviously excited when we scored a goal. It was just a matter of doing a lot of little things over the course of the next 20, 25 minutes."
On what he told the team after the first period or play:
"It was a matter of getting pucks into the scoring area. In the last two games we weren't hitting the net as much as I would've liked us to. I liked out work ethic. I liked our offensive-zone time. We weren't giving up many shots at all. I don't know if that's good or just scary because who's going to score first had a big importance in the game today."
On how the team prepares for the Final Faceoff next weekend in Bemidji:
"We take the day off tomorrow. As I told the team, the aches and pains and bruises feel a lot better after you win than they do when you lose. We'll get reorganized tomorrow. We won't practice, but we've got to mend out bodies up. That's part of playoff hockey. Giving a full sixty minutes of everything you've got. I hope at the end of the day that's enough to win games. Friday won't be any easier. The opportunity to play another opponent that if you happen to beat them their season is going to be over. Those are the challenges that this time of year presents. I think having gone through what we did this weekend hopefully will be a helpful tool as we prepare for this upcoming weekend."
On Brianna Decker being back and what that means for the program:
"Well it's a lot better if she's on the ice. We could've utilized her out there in a couple of situations. I had a chance to sit with her yesterday and talk with her for quite a while. As I told her, that silver medal right now might not be the color she wanted, but five, ten years from now when she looks back and reflects on her Olympic experience, she's got a lot to be proud of. And certainly coming back here and supporting our team and watching us play is helpful to our younger players--to see her walking around and what she meant to our program. Her coming back to support us says a lot about who she is."
Senior Alex Rigsby
On thoughts about getting a win today against a scrappy Minnesota State team:
"I think it said a lot about our character today--the fact that we were able to redeem ourselves and battle back. It was a grind. We definitely gave it our all the entire sixty minutes. It was huge."
On finally putting Minnesota State behind you:
"It's really nice. Like Coach says, the toughest thing is to eliminate a team. We just ended their season tonight. It's never easy. They had, I think, eight seniors--for them to come out last night and get the `W'. For us to be able to bounce back was even better."
On defense helping her to earn the second shutout of the weekend:
"I think they (the defense) did a great job. There were a couple times when there were scruffs in the front of the net. There were a few rebounds that they were able to clear. I thought that overall they did a great job of playing the puck and making my job easy to make a simple save."
On loss yesterday helping the team focus not only today, but in the long run, too:
"Definitely. You can't take anything for granted. From here on out it's one and done pretty much. For us, we were lucky to be able to come out and have an opportunity to play again. It would've been pretty bad to end on a loss in that regard. But we were able to come back and have an opportunity to play again, which was awesome."
On how she thinks the game went today:
"Overall I would say it went pretty well. Yesterday I think we dominated most of the game too, even though we came up on the short end of the scoreboard. But we knew going into the game that they were going to come out hard so we matched their intensity and we were able to score a couple goals and win."
On playing the same team in five consecutive games:
"It's actually pretty hard. Some people might think it wouldn't be too bad because you would get used to their system or whatever, but it's just kind of repetitive. It's just a battle, especially against Minnesota State because they work so hard. It's definitely harder than people would think."