March 23, 2012
Western Michigan Quotes
Pre-Regional Press Conference
Xcel Energy Center - St. Paul, Minn.
Head Coach Andy Murray
“Obviously Western Michigan is really excited to be here. We started the season with the goal of winning the CCHA and getting into the NCAA tournament through the front door and due to the hard work of (the players) on our roster, we were able to accomplish that. We’re excited to be here, but we’re not just here as participants. We’ve got a very tough game tomorrow against the University of North Dakota and we’re looking forward to that challenge.”
On the similarities between Western Michigan and North Dakota:
“I know they’ve got big defensemen…They’ve got a great team and they play Sioux hockey. They come after you…You know they’re going to play hard and they’re going to play with energy and we’re going to have to match that if we’re going to be successful against them. We like our team. Our team plays hard, just like the Sioux do. We’ll look like their little brothers out there—we’re a little bit smaller than they are---but we will compete and we’ll be there. The game starts at 12:30 and when they drop the puck, we’ll be there.”
On playing in Minnesota (where he owns a home):
“It’s great. We took our team to Shattuck yesterday and practiced in the old Shattuck arena—I didn’t want to practice in the new one. We skated there, my kids all skated there, and obviously so many great National Hockey League players, as well. I wanted all my players to be able to experience it. We went up to my cottage and had a lunch after that. We had to get Famous Dave’s because that’s a Minnesota company and then we took them to the (Minnesota) Wild game and had dinner at Mancini’s. We kind of did the whole Minnesota thing—we had wild rice soup.”
“I’m excited to be here. I watched my kids play here in regional tournaments here. I’m truly excited to play the Sioux. I told my players about the green wave that’s going to hit this city and said that there will be a few people cheering for us tomorrow because I don’t think the Gopher fans are going to be supporting the Sioux. I’m excited to be here so close to home and to have great teams here. I told our players that we’re Western Michigan. We’re playing in a regional with Boston University, the University of North Dakota, and the University of Minnesota---three storied programs. The veteran coaches are outstanding and I’m a rookie coach in this field.”
Western Michigan Players
On the team’s adjustment to a new coach this year:
“After (Jeff) Blashill left, we had a group of extremely dedicated guys. That was not a problem at all. I truly feel blessed, and I know the rest of the guys do, to have an athletic director truly go out and find the best guy. Having Coach Murray here it has really been where we left off. He has his own set of philosophies and implements his own systems, but it has definitely been a pleasure to have coach for the season.”
On the team’s preparations for North Dakota:
“We are preparing the way we would truly like to. We go through our routine and coach does a great job of keeping us prepared and focused for the task at hand. We want to stay focused on the task at hand and do what we do best.”
On playing Western Michigan’s game:
“We will play our game. We like to thrive in an environment that has a lot of energy like will be here this weekend. We are excited for the opportunity. It is a great opportunity for our friends and family. Our old coach is coming out to support us.”
On last year’s experience at the regional:
“Just like this year, we are excited to be here. I think being a No. 4 seed gives us a little more motivation. Last year was the first time we had been here in a really long time. This year, we are coming in a little more experienced.”
On North Dakota’s defense:
“They are big, and they are strong. We have to do a good job of sticking to our game plan. (We want to) use our speed and get a lot of shots on net with traffic, cause a lot of havoc (around the net). Just do our job to get them off their game with our speed and get pucks to the net.”
‘U’ Settles for Split in Grand Forks
Minnesota outshot North Dakota 22-18 on the night but couldn’t capitalize on six power-play chances.
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Steve Johnson scored his first goal in over a year and a half to push the No. 8 Gophers to a 2-1 win over No. 4 North Dakota on Friday night.
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