Dennehy Transcript from Hockey East Media Call (3/1/16)

Mark Dennehy Merrimack

Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy participated in a Hockey East media call on Tuesday morning. The following is a transcript of his portion …

Opening statement on the season as a whole …

“It’s been a three-act play. We started the season going 3-0-2 with wins against Clarkson, St. Lawrence, BU, and two ties with Lowell, and then we finished 3-1-2 with the only loss in there in overtime against Maine. In between, there were some injuries, a really difficult road trip and some poor play, so I think we’re closer to the team you saw at the beginning and end of the season.

 

On the development of goaltender Drew Vogler … 

“Drew was a young goaltender when we recruited him as a ’96 two years ago. Most goaltender take a little more time to develop. Ironically coming out of the NAHL, anyone who who follows Lowell lately knows that a lot of good goalies come out of there. He played well but had the misfortune of last year playing behind the Matej (Tomek) kid that is out at North Dakota. I think his development was stunted a little bit because of that. It was good though, mentally, because he had to compete for the job. I think he took some time to be acclimated. I’ve said this before, but I’ve seen more development from him from October to now than any goaltender I’ve ever had.

“Kudos to him for sticking with it. Kudos to John Carratu our goalie coach. I think it was always there, it was just about refining. He had some time there with Colin (Delia) on the IR and he played well but not great. He took that time and got better in practice and he’s been good.”

On showing the resilience the team has over the last few weeks …

“There was a four-game stretch where we scored four extra-attacker goals in four games. It speaks to the stick-to-itiveness of our guys. I think we may have gotten a little bit caught up in the good start we had, and it’s easy to do that and to get away from it and we started thinking about wins and where you fall in the league. We’ve talked in the last six weeks about process. Shame on me. It’s something we’ve done in the past and maybe we’ve gotten away from it. But we don’t worry about the score. The only score that matters is the one after the final horn. Don’t worry about the standings. To our guys credit we stuck to that.”

On who will start in goal this weekend …

“We’re not sure. Practice is important for us, and we have two really good goaltenders in Colin and Drew. I think it will be something we will be lock solid on by tomorrow, for sure.”

On the Petti-Babcock-LeBlanc line and how it compares to the success the Sheen-Madsen-Flanigan line had late in 2011 …

“It would be nice to have another Da Costa line again. … But it’s a little different in the sense that there isnt as much disparity in our lines now as there was then, and back then there was a hierarchy in terms of ability. But the tenacity and the chemistry is similar.

“Flanigan, Sheen and Madsen all brought something different. Petti, Babcock and LeBlanc do as well. Similarly, Madsen was kind of the straw that stirs the drink, and you usually get that because he was the center. Here, Mike Babcock is definitely the straw on that line. He brings out the competitive spirit in a lot of guys. They all bring out competitiveness. There are similarities there.”

On the season flowing similar to last year, struggling mid-season but then winning in the playoffs …

“We are acutely aware of teams coming in, and maybe didn’t play their best hockey down the stretch, but playing teams who played well. Last year we came in with a 10-game losing streak and beat a team that won 10 of 11 or whatever it was.

“It is a new season, and as I said before, I think anybody in this round can beat anybody else, and home ice isn’t as big an advantage as maybe in other sports because the teams are so close. Add to that, in two games, we only took one point from UNH. I know our coaching staff is very aware that we need to bring our best game and it’s going to be about us and the process. We have all the respect in the world for our opponent but we need to play well to success. Now can we get that message across to the players? I think we can. Our team has a lot of respect for UNH. Hopefully we play our best hockey and then you see where the chips fall.”

About Mike McMahon 6234 Articles
Mike McMahon is in his 13th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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