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NCAA Frozen Four: Notre Dame and Minnesota-Duluth In Their Own Words

This afternoon, each team had a few representatives and their coach go in front of the media to answer a variety of topics. Here are some of the quotes from Notre Dame and Minnesota-Duluth (I’ll have Michigan and North Dakota later).

Notre Dame

Head Coach Jeff Jackson on the single-elimination format of the NCAA Tournament:

"That’s the nature of NCAA tournaments. When you get in to one-game situations, it is just a matter of which team goes out and plays play 60 solid minutes of great discipline, as far as not taking unnecessary penalties, and does a great job of creating scoring chances, and denying scoring chances. One shift can be the difference in a game."

Jackson on the superb goaltending of sophomore Mike Johnson:

"Mike is a character kid, one of the things he is going through is that he had never truly been a number one goalie, and last year he was just thrown into it. He had top five numbers in the country in the first half last year before fading out. This year he took a positive step, he was much better in shape, and worked hard in the offseason. He had some stellar games this year."

Senior captain Joe Lavin’s thoughts on coming through the Hockey East Conference in the East Regional (Lavin is from Shrewsbury, MA):

"Obviously for me that was really exciting. I don’t get to play in front of family and friends as much as I would like to. Playing new teams like that can be a challenge, but I think we handled it well. The focus turns more on you than it does on them because you haven’t seen them play. We just played our game and focused on what we needed to do, but we used our skill and our speed, so that was good. Borrowing tickets from these guys,
I had like 35 or 40 people there, so that was obviously the highlight of my weekend."

Senior Ben Ryan’s advice to the team’s Freshmen:

"As much as you can focus on playing our game and doing what we did to get us here is the most important thing. I think when you get into an atmosphere like this and as a player you feel like maybe you need to do more or play out of your comfort zone. And if we start doing that then I think we will be at a disadvantage. I’ve been really proud of the guys this year. A lot of guys have taken on smaller roles who probably weren’t used to it. Every guy knows there role and has played it well this season."

Senior Gabe Guentzel’s thoughts on Coach Jackson, and what makes him so successful:

"Well I think his preparation is second to none. He prepares his team from day one each week, and make sure we are focused and ready to play. But he also adapts to the players, I know my first year he was strict, but now he has kind of loosened up and joked around with the freshman, and the freshman brought that attitude, he as even been joking around lately, which is different, but it has been a lot of fun to see that from him."


Head Coach Scott Sandelin on being in the Frozen Four:

"I think it’s a special time for our program, it’s our fourth time here in our program’s history. This group has had a goal to get here since last season. I’m extremely happy for these two seniors here that came back and have led us to this point. It’s a great opportunity for them to finish their careers on a note that we all want and that’s winning two hockey games. I know our community is excited and everyone associated with our program is excited to be here, but there is certainly a lot of work to be done here."

Sandelin on his team’s bleached hair:

"Any time the guys can buy into something like [bleaching hair], it shows what type of team you have."

Goalie Kenny Reiter on the early season view that goaltending wasn’t as important to team’s success:

"I definitely use that to inspire me. Some people questioned our goaltending coming into the year and hopefully I have silenced some of those critics. I just try and go out there and do my job. I don’t need to go out there and win games by myself. I am just trying to give our team the best chance to win every night."

Reiter in regards to any perceived pressure of being the only team from the state of Minnesota at Frozen Four:

"I don’t see that we have any added pressure being the home state team. There are four good teams in the tournament. We are comfortable with the support we are going to have. We are just approaching the Frozen Four with a business-like attitude."

Forward Justin Fontaine in regards to coming back for his senior year instead of turning pro:

"We’ve came up short the last two years. But had the edge to come back and be in our building. It was an exciting time to come back early August to come for our goal and that’s being here and that’s where we made it and it’s been a great ride."

Defenseman Mike Montgomery on the play of Goalie Kenny Reiter:

"As a defenseman, it starts with him. When he is confident it brings confidence to the rest of the D-core. We feel we can play more aggressive and know Kenny has got our backs. He has been solid all season, but really been something else this postseason."

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.