Nov. 19, 2012
• Watch Johnson's Press Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin women's hockey coach Mark Johnson spoke to the media on Monday at the weekly press conference held at Camp Randall Stadium.
Archived video of the media session is available through the link above, and a complete transcript of Johnson's remarks can be found below.
Coach Johnson: Certainly excited to be home. Hopefully with the Thanksgiving weekend, Friday night we'll get a nice crowd at the LaBahn arena and take on St. Cloud.
Past weekend, we'd gone six games without losing and then had a setback Saturday afternoon. As I talked to my staff this morning, as we do after every weekend, what did we do well over the course of the six periods in the two games? What didn't we do well? As we get organized and ready for practice this afternoon, what can we do to get better?
Friday night's game was interesting. We scored a couple of shorthanded goals, scored on a penalty shot, and ended up doing a real nice job in special teams to win the game.
Saturday it was just a little bit of the opposite, where we weren't able to capitalize on our opportunities. We had quite a few of them. It seems, when we have a setback, it usually is we're not able to get the puck in on a regular basis. So look forward to the competition both Friday and Saturday afternoon against St. Cloud.
Question 1: Is (Brittany) Ammerman back and playing for you or any time soon?
Coach Johnson: Not right now. No, she's not cleared to practice yet. She's still not been able to compete.
Question 2: Without her and obviously without your standout defenseman as well I know you don't look for excuses, what have you, but there are a couple of holes there that have been difficult to fill, correct?
Coach Johnson: You can't control injuries. You don't know when they're going to come. Usually the teams that get to those final games at the end of the year probably have been generally healthy over the course of the winter.
So as we approach this season, obviously, you know, a couple things are thrown at you, and you try to work around them, but if you get into the ifs game and if she was here or she was here and what not you could create some pretty good scenarios, but that's not the case.
So you get ready for games, you put lineups together. You put kids in different positions, and you try to move forward.
For the most part, as I look back at all our games, I'm proud of the way the team has competed. They're a group that practices hard, and for the most part, have given themselves a chance to win every game. The games that we haven't been successful in is the games we haven't been able to score goals. We went three games without scoring a goal.
You look at Saturday's game against Ohio State, a game we could have won. We hit a post. You don't convert on a power play opportunity when you need to. So the little things that maybe those players that you talk about make the difference, but that's not where we're at right now because they're not on our roster and you can't utilize them.
So for the most part, I'm pleased with our progress. Obviously, you like to have a few more wins, but we'll look forward to Friday afternoon and try to correct that.
Question 3: Mark, people around here aren't used to you guys having four losses already. How much of it is that everybody else is getting better?
Coach Johnson: Well, everybody's gotten better. Even four or five years ago where some of the teams maybe weren't as deep as they are right now present problems. So you look around the country. You look at the way the landscape has changed, similar to what you see on the men's side in WCHA we talked about that five or six years ago. That's the direction we needed to go, and we're certainly there.
So it provides more grace for us. When expectations are high, obviously, when you lose a game or you lose some games, or we've lost four games up to this point, people get concerned. It's just the landscape that has changed the last couple of years, and certainly when you graduate people that have the magnitude of some of the players that we've had, those are tough kids to replace.
As I mentioned, the effort's there. We've got good character kids. We're younger than we've been in the past. So with that, you have some growing pains. But the effort's been there. You give me three goals, and we probably have three more wins. Then all of a sudden, we're not talking about that.
Question 4: Seems like Alev Kelter has made the move to forward pretty smoothly, hasn't she?
Coach Johnson: She has. You start looking at your roster and that's not available for a good chunk of the season, or maybe the whole year, and you need to move people around. Alev has jumped up playing the forward position, playing a little power play time, and has eight goals right now. Probably could have anywhere from five, six, seven more over the course of the last couple of games, but has filled in well.
Scored a great shorthanded goal to get us going Friday afternoon, and hopefully she'll continue to do those things.
Question 5: So is LaBahn feeling like home now? You've had a month there.
Coach Johnson: Yeah, we started the season with six games on the road. Then we played six at home. Then we go back and forth here over the last four series. Everybody's getting more comfortable.
Again, it's Thanksgiving. It's a time to be thankful, and we're certainly thankful for what we have over there. I'm sure Mike can say the same thing. As we continue to practice, as we continue to go there on a daily basis, play more games, it really becomes a place that you're very fortunate to have, a place you get comfortable with, and hopefully we continue to have success there as we play more games.
Question 6: Coach, you guys have won your last ten games against St. Cloud State. When you have that kind of success against a team and you're going to play them again, do you add emphasis throughout the week at practice to kind of say, look, I know we've had success, but there are no gimmes?
Coach Johnson: No, we generally don't talk about things in those context. We're looking at what we can do to make improvements. Obviously, we'll work this week a little bit on our power play to try to create some more opportunities and some more chances. Again, on the offensive side, try to do some things with some of our players to try to create get some shots, look for some more scoring opportunities, and get the puck in the net.
If we're able to do that, whether it's against St. Cloud or the following weekend against Minnesota then North Dakota, that's when we're going to be successful and we become a little bit more consistent with our production.