Ferris State Thursday Press Conference Quotes
NCAA Midwest Regional - Cincinnati, Ohio
Ferris State Head Coach Bob Daniels:
Opening Statement: "I would give the old 'Hey, we're just glad to be here', but the reality is, I like where we are as a team. I thought the last few weeks, heading up to the last regular season contest against Lake [Superior] State and then the first round against Bemidji and then last week, it took a toll on us. Going into to Van Andel (Arena), we got hit with a flu bug which I don't affected our play as much as drained us. I don't think we quite had the jump we've had the last few weeks, but watching the team this week in practice and going through the paces, I really like where we are right now. I think we got the jump back and I'm really looking forward to playing Colgate tomorrow. It's kind of fortunate that we've played them before, or unfortunate, however you want to look at it. This will be our fourth contest, which is highly unusual for a non-conference opponent. But, there is familiarity for us and for Colgate. I think I can confidently say the two teams are even. They're built the same way; both teams have a lot of mobility back on the defensive core, got some depth and scoring up front and good goaltending. I think the two teams are similar and have a similar approach to the game and I think that will lead to a very close contest tomorrow and I think it will be a great game."
On resiliency: "It's a great resiliency and it's led by our seniors up here [Scott Czarnowczan, Cory Kane, and Garrett Thompson]. They've gained from playing a lot of hockey. If you go back two years when they made it to the championship game in the NCAA's, they have seen a lot of hockey. I think they learned their lessons well from that group of seniors in terms of keeping an even keel. So when we get up a few goals or down a few, it doesn't seem to affect us. We don't press the panic button. [It is the] same after wins and losses. When we win we don't get too excited, and when we lose, we don't go overanalyze the situation. But, it's a credit to our seniors. They are the ones that are leaders in the locker room."
On the development of the program: "We've been really successful. If you go back ten-to-fifteen years, you look at the 2002-03 team, the more I reflect back on that, the more disappointed I am. In that region, we ended up in Minnesota and we had to play the Gophers at their rink. Looking back, they won it that year and at the time, we were just thrilled to be there. It didn't dawn on us what the seeds were and now I look back, we had a really good team that year. We won thirty-one games that year, maybe the second-best team to Minnesota, and I would have to like to have faced them now with that same team on a neutral site. I thought it made a big difference for them to have a sellout at the rink. Since then, the goal was once you got there, was to find a way to get back; and beyond that, to find a way where the expectations were the same and look to build a run and not be one of those every four years situations. I think we're getting closer to that point. If you look at this year's team, we've got depth throughout the four classes. We're certainly led by our seniors; but I think when we roll into next year, we got guys like [Jason] Binkley, we get Simon Denis back, who's been injured all season, [Jason] Buzzeo, and we're going to have another great senior class. C.J. Motte will be in net and then obviously, our freshmen that have contributed so much and will be a year older. There's an added pressure that comes because expectations of our fans and ourselves has increased dramatically. The last five years, we've had upper division finishes in our conference and we've had byes in our tournaments. We're getting to the point where we've played in a lot of big games and I think you get a hunger to continue to repeat that. It leads to offseason training, offseason condition and the expectations of the freshman class coming in are now saying 'Now I am a part of Ferris State and this is what they do.' They are all ears and they follow the leadership. It's as close of a coach's dream as you can get. Our locker room is self-policing and it is almost maintenance-free from a coaching standpoint. The guys are really pushing it and driving it forward and it's really changed in the last ten years from where we were."
On previous meetings with Colgate: "I think that some interesting things came out of that tournament. First of all, there are two different perspectives to think of. From our perspective, we were on a sixteen-game unbeaten streak. We weren't playing that well; C.J. Motte was stealing some games. Our practice habits had deteriorated a bit; you get a little bit overconfident. I thought Colgate took us down a peg. I also thought in watching Colgate at that time, they beat Minnesota, the number one team at the time, and they took us down. They garnered a lot of confidence and from an outside perspective I was really interested in following their progress the rest of the year. I knew it would help our RPI playing them three times, the better they did. I think they gained a lot that week and thought they were a good team. For us, it got us back on the straight and narrow and made us a better team. I look back on that as a pivotal moment for us and Colgate. It's interesting. We faced off the beginning of the year, the middle of the year, and now the end of the year. Now, we will have a pretty good gauge on the two teams at the end of the game tomorrow."
On senior class: "I think one of the things that make this group special is back when they were freshmen and sophomores, they were great followers. We had really good leadership in those years: Zach Redmond, who was an All-American, Chad Billins, Pat Nagle, Taylor Nelson, and those guys were all All-Americans. These guys had really good role models. It's great to have role models if you learn and observe and you willingly follow what the leaders are trying to do. I think that's allowed them to be great leaders now. They've got the respect in the locker room. The guys know what they have accomplished. The great thing is now the younger kids are watching and observing and learning how to become leaders. This group is special when you can be a follower and when it's your turn to be a leader. I think this group is as good as we've ever had."
On the freshmen: Starting in the back line, Ryan Lowney, the defenseman for us has quietly accumulated ten or eleven points. He's going to be really good down the line, but Scott Czarnowczan and Jason Binkley are getting the yeoman's share of ice time. Up front, Kyle Schempp has ten (goals) and fifteen (assists) for twenty-five points—he's had a great year from anywhere from first line to fourth line. [Chad] McDonald has been second or third line all year and had a lot of contributions there. Jared VanWormer started out not in the lineup and has worked hard to get into the lineup and played on a variety of lines. They accepted promotions and battlefield demotions. Seth Adams is more of a work-in-progress; he may have NHL potential, but is not coming from as much of a traditional hockey background and might have to work into it. It's a great freshmen group, surrounded by a lot of leaders, and they have accepted their roles and made a great fit."
Scott Czarnowczan, Defenseman, Senior
On the resiliency of the team: "In the past, we know how to be. It doesn't matter if you are down two goals, three goals. It's the (NCAA) regional and you're out here in a tournament, anything can happen. It doesn't matter if you're down or you're up, you're still in the game, and you got to play the full sixty minutes."
On their experience in Cincinnati: "It kind of reminds of the way that Green Bay was set up, so we kind of know the drill now. Our first time in Green Bay was very weird. We couldn't go out in the ice a certain time, we couldn't do stuff before (a certain time). It was really strict. We kind of knew the town more over there, but here it's a very nice city, seeing the skyline from your room. Pretty nice city, I think."
Garret Thompson, Forward, Senior
On the resilience of the team: "Just to reflect off (what Czarnowczan said), you obviously don't want to be down a few goals, but that's the point where there's a little bit of urgency that kicks in. Obviously it's helped us a little bit, but it's not a comfort zone, I would say, but it has worked out."
On previous games experience: "Well, I mean obviously, this is a type of game that you don't come across very often. In Ferris' program history it's the third time that they've made the tournament, and being a part of one of those three it obviously gives you the aspects to know what to expect coming in. It's a big game, but it doesn't mean you have to freak out or change everything up; you just play your own game. I think it brings out a more comfortable feeling to it, and you just need to know what to expect."
On their experience in Cincinnati: "The weather is great, that's a good start. I mean, it seems like a great town, there's a lot of good things going on it seems."
Cory Kane, Forward, Senior
On playing Colgate for fourth time: "I think it's a good thing. We know what to expect, there's not going to be any surprises, I should say. We met them early in the season, first games of the season, but as the season has progressed, we have definitely changed, we have evolved. I think, they might, I don't want sound a little cocky, but they might take it a little bit for granted that they have taken us down twice the last three. So, that may play a little to our advantage."
On how things are different since last time you played them: "Well, the first two games of the season, your freshmen are really inexperienced, and I think over the season, they have been a big part of this team. We've had scoring throughout most of our top four lines, and that alone is big. They've played at the playoffs, we've made it to the championship game, so they know what to expect. My line and (Garrett's) line, we've gotten better through the season, we've developed some chemistry and I think that plays a really big factor going in tomorrow."