April 5, 2018
Notre Dame - 4, Michigan - 3
MODERATOR: Coach, an opening statement. How did it feel behind the bench?
COACH JACKSON: My heart's becoming callused. Obviously we're thrilled. It's all to do with these guys. We can let them speak.
Q. Is it fun to play in these tight games, is there a fear we might lose and our luck might run out at this point?
JAKE EVANS: It's definitely fun playing in these environments, playing in a great rink, a great crowd. I mean, these tight games are, obviously you want to just keep piling up goals, but they're not going to happen this time of year.
And it's a lot of fun because our team has so much confidence right now. And when we're down one, down two, they get a late goal, we're a calm team, and we're a unit. And no one's getting angry or down, everyone's staying up. And it's been a lot of fun.
Q. Michigan's second goal was such a flukey goal, the kind of goal that can be deflating for a team to have it bounce off one of your guys. How did you guys respond to that? What was the chatter on the bench and what did you guys talk about after that happened?
ANDREW OGLEVIE: We've had some unlucky bounces go on for us throughout the year. And I think we know how to handle our adversity this time of year. And we've got a mature group. And our message was just stay on the bench and go out there and take the game to them. And I think we did a good job of that during the second period.
Q. Jake, could you take us through the game-winning goal from your perspective, how it started and how it ended?
JAKE EVANS: Yeah, I think I don't really remember how it actually started, but I know Jenkins was in a battle with another forward, I think, and he did a really good job of winning that battle and getting it to squirt out for me.
And then I just saw Cam flying on the wing, and he's got such great speed and he's a strong guy. And I thought he'd have a chance at getting a shot or just going hard to the net. And I knew there was a little bit of time left, so I thought I'd give it one last rush, and Cam just did a really good job of putting it out there for me.
Q. Both Cam and you had defensemen draped off you to make that play. So the effort that you guys put out?
JAKE EVANS: Yeah, I think that play could have been killed pretty quickly if Cam didn't have a lot of grit and a lot of strength. And I got lucky, it was into the defender's skates and I just poked at it. But Cam did a really good job with that play.
Q. Andrew, you made a comment last year after the loss to Denver about how you guys were going to use that as motivation to get back to here. You go down 2-0. And what's going through your mind? And how did last year's loss I guess throughout the season really play into the kind of mental toughness you guys displayed?
ANDREW OGLEVIE: Last year was a learning experience for us. And we've been in these tough situations before, especially last year in this tournament. So our message, like I said earlier, was just be resilient. We've got a really mature group. And we've got guys that would never quit.
So we went out there and we battled hard and came out in the second period, we had that unlucky bounce. But we kept our nose down and we did what we had to do.
Q. Andrew, faceoffs in that first period were probably about as bad as they could go for you, I think it was 15-2. Once faceoffs seemed to change, goals started going in and I think some direct faceoff goals. What was the focus after that first period for the centers to have to know that something had to change?
ANDREW OGLEVIE: It was exactly that. We knew if we could possess the puck we'd have some chances. So they have a lot of good centers. Give them credit, they win a lot of draws. But we beared down in the second and third period and did a lot better job and got some goals as a result.
Q. What do you know about Duluth? And what are some things you're going to maybe have to adjust or kind of tweak going into Saturday?
JAKE EVANS: We haven't seen much of them. But I remember them last year. They're just a hard-working team that's got a lot of depth and obviously well-coached. And I think just this year, knowing what they've done so far and being one of the last teams in and just being so resilient and so hard to play against.
I know tonight they got off to a really good start they looked like a really fast team. It's going to be a really good challenge for us.
Q. Being the captain and alternate captain, you're down 2-0 early in the second. Did you feel a need to try to settle the team down? And you two are the guys that got it tied up again.
ANDREW OGLEVIE: I don't think it settled the team down, just kind of make sure our spirits are still high, and everyone knows that we can do this and we still believe.
And we really didn't have to do too much of that, I don't think tonight. Frozen Four, it's not hard to get energized. And guys knew that down two goals anything can happen still early in the game. So it wasn't hard.
JAKE EVANS: I think basically what Andrew said. And the biggest thing is just making sure guys don't get negative and we really didn't have to do anything, because it wasn't the leaders that needed to step up. It was a lot of the young guys that were even stepping up, which was a really good sign for us.
And like I've been saying, it's such a calm and confident team that -- wasn't panic mode yet, and we fought back with our positivity and our energy and our confidence.
Q. Have you guys thought about what you're doing to your coach's heart in the last couple of weeks with all of these close games? Have you apologized to him yet? Has anyone driven him to the cardiologist?
ANDREW OGLEVIE: He told us again tonight that he's getting scar tissue or something on his heart. But, no, I'm not going to apologize. I don't know about you Jake.
JAKE EVANS: We keep winning. He can't complain. (Laughter).
Q. Could you just talk about the confidence of having a goaltender like Cale Morris behind you and making some of the big saves he made tonight?
JAKE EVANS: Yeah, I think playing with Cale, he's been our rock all year, and this team and this staff know him so well that even if he lets in one goal, that just builds our confidence, because we know he's not going to let in anymore or one more.
And it definitely helps our confidence and we know we're one goal back and they're probably not going to get many more. He's been our rock all year. He's definitely is leading this team to success.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Questions for Coach.
Q. Scott Sandelin joked about he might owe you a couple of beers for the win against Ohio State that got Duluth into the national tournament. Have you thought about the irony that you're facing them after helping them out?
COACH JACKSON: It's funny how that happened, but there was a lot of things that happened that night that contributed to that, and Scott already told me he owed me a beer. I guess it's just coincidental that we're going to compete for the national championship on Saturday.
Q. Similar to what I asked Andrew, the turn-about in faceoffs, starting to win those draws and that leading directly to goals, how big was that in the second period for you?
COACH JACKSON: It was a point of emphasis, frankly it was a point of emphasis going into the week at practice, believe it or not, because Michigan did that to us when we played them earlier in the year. And we've been a pretty good faceoff team, but when Jake Evans gets dominated that's cause for concern because he's one of the best ones I've ever had.
But again you give them credit. I mean they probably had tutelage from one of the great centers in the National Hockey League for the last three years, a couple of those guys in Red Berenson and they do a good job. Norris is extremely good, so is Marody, all the centers. Their third and fourth line centers both too were successful.
So we knew we had to do a better job. Face-Office isn't just on the center. It's collective. It's all three forwards or all five guys in the defensive zone, making sure you get body position. It's like basketball rebounds. It's about competing for those pucks.
And they have the skill to win the draw but we can certainly do a better job of helping get possession. And that's the most important thing.
Q. You've gotten big games out of these two guys to your left the last couple of weeks. What's that say about -- Jake makes the play that forces the penalty that gets you back on the scoreboard. What do you have to say about these two kids?
COACH JACKSON: I mean, they've been incredible all year. There's a reason why they're captains. And a big part of it when you get to this time of the year, you rely on your upperclassmen to be there at the most important times of the game. That's what great players do.
So I know that Jake, he's had a great year and he's had an even better year probably as captain of this team. And Andrew is right there with him. They wear their hearts on their sleeves. They've got some ability and they take advantage of it.
Q. What did you see this time around, your second straight trip to the Frozen Four when you guys go down? What was the mentality this time around seeing your team respond like they did?
COACH JACKSON: I think that you heard from them that this team has gone through a lot. It just hasn't been the last several games. I mean, you look back, even when we had that 16-game winning streak, we were winning a lot of 1-0, 2-1 games.
We've always been concerned a little bit about our scoring depth. So we got a real good defensive corps and a good goaltender. If we can get timing that's the most important thing.
These guys, I don't think there were any thoughts about redemption from last season. I think it was more about this team came together. They had a real good run. They ran into some bumps in the second half of the year. But they found a way to get it back going into the playoffs. And I think it says a lot about their character and their resiliency.
Q. You've already mentioned you don't have a guy that's a 25-goal scorer. How important is it that guys like Andrew and Jake and Cal kind of combine to carry that load?
COACH JACKSON: It's different guys every night. Like in the game winning goal, when Morrison was coming down the wing, I had a flashback to the Ohio State game, which was an overtime-winning game by Cam.
Some nights it's him, some nights it's Cal Burke, some nights it's Dylan Malmquist last week. Tonight it was Jake and Andrew. It varies from game to game, and Jordan Gross. We've got defensemen that are scoring. We had a game-winning goal by Jack Jenkins in the playoffs against Penn State, and that was with no time on the clock.
We've got a lot of guys that contribute. And I knew going into this year that we'd have to score in aggregate. I mean it was going to be -- we lost a 20-goal score. We didn't really replace it. Although Colin Theisen's been a good freshman for us and contributed probably about eight, nine goals.
But you need to get production from more than just a couple of guys. Even our two, big, fourth line wingers contributed big goals for us as well.
Q. What have you seen out of Cale Morris' game, not only tonight, but all year and throughout his time in Notre Dame that makes you so confident to go with him? And what did you see out of his game tonight that kept you guys in it?
COACH JACKSON: Well, I think the best attribute about Cale is he's in control. He's emotionally, mentally and physically in control. And he reminds me a lot of the kid we had last year, a great goaltender in Cal Petersen. He has a lot of similarities to him.
He's very calm, doesn't get rattled, gives up a goal, like Jake said, they have the confidence to know that there's not another one right away, that he's going to be able to stand in there and play the same way even if he gives up a goal off a flukey bounce or whatever it may be. It's just about his poise and his ability to stay in control.
Q. What would a win on Saturday night mean, not just for you and your program but also for the league?
COACH JACKSON: You know, the Big Ten has been an awesome home this year. I mean, you've seen some great teams tonight and the compete and battle out of Ohio State and Michigan, it was like that playing even at the end of the year against Michigan State.
I mean, there's no weak links in this conference. And I mean our first priority is to win for our university and win for these kids, these boys that have battled here all year long.
But it's nice to be able to represent the Big Ten in a positive way and hopefully we'll be the first team to be able to win a national title as a Big Ten member.
MODERATOR: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports