March 23, 2012
North Dakota Quotes
Pre-Regional Press Conference
Xcel Energy Center - St. Paul, Minn.
Head Coach Dave Hakstol
“We’re excited to be a part of the national tournament and we’re looking forward to a very tough and great matchup tomorrow with Western Michigan University. We’ve prepared hard all week and we have a good focus coming into today and we’ll try to carry that though tomorrow’s drop of the puck at 12:30.”
On the West Region:
“I haven’t looked too far beyond Saturday. The four teams in this bracket are excellent teams. We were a fourth-place team in our league in the regular season. We’ve got Western Michigan, the second-place team in the CCHA, Boston University, the second place team in Hockey East, and obviously Minnesota, who were our league champions over the long haul. (They won) a trophy we all know is extremely hard to win. It is an outstanding field and most importantly and most meaningful to us, Western Michigan is the CCHA playoff champion and they’re coming in as a good team playing extremely well.”
On the similarities between North Dakota and Western Michigan:
“I don’t really compare teams. We’ve done two things this week. We’ve tried to learn a lot about Western Michigan and the natural respect level has been there all the way through the year. Our guys know what goes on around the country and they understand how good of a team and how consistent of a team Western Michigan has been all year. This week has been about trying to learn about some of the specifics of their game. They’re very impressive throughout their game, so that’s been one side of it. The other side has been preparing ourselves to play at the highest level. If you want to look at similarities, you’d have to say both are good teams. There are probably some things we do the same way, but no two teams are alike. Each team has to go out and play to the best of their ability within their own personality.”
On his relationship with Western Michigan coach Andy Murray:
“I’ve got a ton of respect for Andy and everybody in the hockey world has that level of respect. He’s done a tremendous job at Western Michigan thus far…We watched their team at the end of last year in Green Bay in the regional and they were outstanding. Andy has continued to build on that culture, doing things within his own framework and they’ve been very successful doing it, so hats off to him.”
North Dakota Players
On practice today going into the Western Michigan game:
“We have a pretty good routine the day before a game. We do some things differently to get ready for our opponent, that changes every weekend with who we play. Otherwise, we do a lot of the same drills, a lot of the same routine out on the ice.”
On similarities between UND and Western Michigan:
“We both have good goaltending and good D corps. We both kind of play the same way and win games the same way, I guess. We have to be tough defensively and play a hard-nosed game.”
On the boost UND got from its WCHA tournament play:
“I think it gave us a little bit of momentum that we’re going to try to carry over into tomorrow’s game. It’s good that we came out of there with a winning mentality that we can bring into this weekend.”
On having a comfort level at the Xcel Energy Center:
“I guess it’s a surrounding we’re familiar with, but I don’t think comfort level is the right word. I think we’re happy to come here—it’s not a lot of travel for us—but at the same time we’re coming in here and no matter who we’re playing – you know, we’re playing Western Michigan tomorrow, and they’re an extremely tough team. That’s our sole focus. I don’t think comfort level is the right word. I think if you come in here comfortable, that’s when you get beat. We have to come in on the edge. It is nice to be back here, it’s a place we’re familiar with.”
On what advice he has given the freshmen as an experienced tournament player:
“Just play our game. I don’t think you have to change anything. There’s probably extra media, a lot of external stuff going on, but let’s not worry about that. We got a game to play, we know how we got to play, we have to keep playing the way we’ve been playing. We have to elevate our game even a bit more. Just don’t worry about the external stuff, enjoy the ride, and let’s go play hockey the way we’ve been playing.”
Pick Your Packs Now on Sale
To order Pick Your Packs visit MyGopherSports.com, call 1-800-U-Gopher or stop by the Mariucci Arena Ticket Office.
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Anderson was a Gopher Hockey alum and won a silver medal as a member of the 1956 U.S. Olympic Team.
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A defenseman for the Gophers, Ward was a three-year letter winner who played in 70 career games with seven points.