Huskies talk before Saturday's NCAA Tournament

Huskies talk before Saturday's NCAA Tournament Click to Enlarge Photo: St. Cloud State Athletics

Mar 28, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Before Saturday night's game, members of the St. Cloud State Hockey team spoke with the media. The Huskies will open play in the regional tournament with a 7:30 Williams Integracare Pregame on Saturday, March 29 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Tickets will also be available at the gate on March 29.

Bob Motzko, St. Cloud State Head Coach

Opening Statement...
"We're definitely for the opportunity back in the NCAA Tournament. It never gets old. The kids put in an extreme amount of hard work starting last summer, through the whole year. ...You know by the computer that you're in, but still, when you see your name pop up on the screen on Selection Sunday, there's great excitement within our program. We're in our home state. There's a lot of good and there's some bad with that-the distractions-but that's all good. Our fans can get down here. We didn't give them the opportunity to go down to Minneapolis last week, so we're anticipating that they'll be excited to be down here and follow us this week."

On focusing on the first game...
"This tournament really, I think, gets started after Game 1. You've got to win to get momentum going and to be part of the tournament. It's a terrible feeling to lose the first game and then go home. Our guys have experienced both ends of that, our older guys have. But our young guys now know the feeling of winning Game 1, and that is 100 percent of the concentration on our side, is playing Notre Dame and being ready for that game."

Nic Dowd, St. Cloud State Senior Forward
On the difference between last year's and this year's NCAA Tournament berths...
"I guess I'd be lying if you say you know exactly what you're in for. Having been there one year, does that make a bigger difference than coming in last year? I don't think so. I think Kevin (Gravel) said it best in a previous interview. You've got to expect the unexpected. That always seems to happen here in the NCAA Regional. We're happy to be here, excited for tomorrow night and that's what our mind's focused on."
On the sharpness of practice after an extra week off of games...

"It's been good. I think Coach has done a good job managing not only the length of our practices, but the days that we choose to practice on and days off, and workouts, et cetera. But guys have been sharp, eager. It left a pretty bitter taste in our mouth when we didn't make it to the conference tournament. ...But from the standpoint of not having a bye the second half of the season, it felt pretty good for our guys to get a break."

Kevin Gravel, St. Cloud State Senior Defenseman
On Notre Dame's offense...
"I think the big thing is they have 10 seniors up there. They're guys who have been there before, especially guys like (T.J.) Tynan and (Bryan) Rust. They're guys you have to be aware of when they're on the ice, and they're guys that are very dangerous with the puck and they have the ability to make plays. Notre Dame's playing very well right now, and their forwards are a big reason for that. Our D know what we're up against, and we're ready for the challenge."

On going into practice with a known opponent, unlike the previous week...
"They guys are anxious. It gets to be a long time when you take a bye week. Obviously, that has its positives. But especially when it's a tournament of this magnitude, guys get kind of a nervous energy about them, kind of excited. I know once last night came around the guys were fired up to be out of town and get into St. Paul, get settled in and get on the ice today."

Matt Wood

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