March 23, 2013
Head Coach Brad Frost
"We're very excited to be in the championship game and have an opportunity to compete for this national championship. It's such a long journey, and it's a hard thing to get to. To be one of the two teams standing here at the end with this opportunity is really special for our program, especially being at home. The crowd last night was tremendous, it was a very exciting atmosphere and our players really fed off that. We needed it, because we played such a great opponent in Boston College. We know that BU is just as tough or tougher, and we're looking forward to the match up. It should be a fun game again tomorrow."
On comparing BU to other teams Minnesota has played this season...
"I think they're similar to North Dakota. They have world-class player. (Marie-Philip) Poulin is one of the best players in North America. Every time she's on the ice, she's a threat. Internationally, we know how good she is; she scored the two goals against the U.S. in the last Olympic Games. That whole line with Poulin, (Jenelle) Kohanchuk and (Sarah) Lefort has been deadly all year. They have some big, strong defensemen, and they have three lines that can play as well, similar to BC and to us.
On what he plans to tell the team before tomorrow's game...
"I'm not a big Herb Brooks speech kind of guy, but our players know what's at stake. I'm hoping that to get to the final game and our season is over whether we win or lose, we've reached where we wanted to. I'm hoping that they'll play a little more free than they have the last couple of weekends, or at least start a little quicker than we have the last couple of weekends. Like I said last night, when our team is pushed, they push back and seem to find a way. Hopefully we can do that again."
On the Gophers not playing free due to pressure to keep the unbeaten streak alive...
"I don't think it has anything to do with the streak, it has to do with the fact that they don't want their season to end. There's a lot of pressure in that. That quarterfinal game was probably the most pressure we've faced all year. You have the Frozen Four at your home rink, and you're playing at home against a team you've played six times, and everybody wants to get there. We know how good North Dakota was, so that was probably the most pressure-packed game."
On getting balanced scoring from multiple lines...
"I agree, anyone on our team can score, and that goes to our defensemen as well. Last year our first line was so dominant up until playoff time, but our second line took over in the NCAA tournament for us. That was a key coming into this year, making sure we had at least two lines that could score, and now we've got three that are scoring. Anybody can be a hero on any given night, and we've seen that up and down our line up this year."
On Amanda Kessel's health...
"She's not right 100 percent certainly, but she's giving it everything she's got for us because she knows the magnitude of the game. As far as a percentage, I can't give that, but I think anybody who knows her and watches the game knows that she's not 100 percent. The fact that she's still a threat every time she's on the ice is what's important for us."
Freshman forward Hannah Brandt
On Kelly Terry and Sarah Davis scoring the winning goals in the last two games...
"It's super exciting to see those two. Not everyone talks about them usually but they are a huge part of our team. I think it really shows the depth of our team because none of us are surprised that they scored. I think we can rely on any single person on this team to get that winning goal. It's fun, though, to see them get those goals and to see how excited they are and how excited the whole team is for them. I it doesn't really matter who gets that goal, for us to win is just pretty exciting."
On the lack of explosive scoring from the top line in the last two games...
"I think it just shows how tough the playoffs are and how everyone is going to give us their best game. That's been true all year but especially now. It's not going to be easy for us to have an explosive game like that. I think it's been great, others have stepped up. It just shows the depth and if we have an explosive game, that's great, but if not we've still been able to get the job done and that's the most important thing."
Senior defenseman Megan Bozek
On if the winning streak ever was a distraction during the season...
"I think it's in the back of our minds, always. It's exciting being on such an incredible team and continuing the streak along from last year and hopefully to finish it out right this year. I think it can be a distraction if we think about it, just wanting to win the game to continue the streak and not wanting to win the game because of the passion and the reason that we play this game. Hopefully tomorrow we can still say that we have that streak going."
On her reaction to Amanda Kessel winning the Patty Kazmaier Award...
"I couldn't be happier for her. I think it makes it a little easier having three people from the same team, knowing that someone from Minnesota is going to get that prestigious award. For Amanda to get it is great, she has 95-96 points on the year and hasn't even played every game and is a leader for our team on and off the ice. I kind of just said `congratulations, you deserve it.' She's worked hard for it; I think all three of us had. To have it be Amanda, I couldn't be happier."
On being a role model for young fans...
"I think the atmosphere here creates energy for us. For the little girls that come after the game and want autographs or pictures with us, it's exciting to know they look up to us, come to games and want the Gophers to win. I think it's an opportunity to see that they can continue playing hockey. Even when they're six or seven years old, just going to camps in the summer. Hopefully we see some of them. Just to see their smiling faces in the crowd or waiting to see us after is great."
Pannek Garners WCHA Monthly Honors
Kelly Pannek is the WCHA Offensive Player of the Month for November after leading the NCAA with 18 points in six games.
Five Minutes with Sophie Skarzynski
Catch up with the sophomore defenseman as the Gophers prepare for this week's series at Wisconsin.
WCHA Honors Pannek with Weekly Award
Kelly Pannek is this week's WCHA Offensive Player of the Week after a seven-point series against Bemidji State.