Mark Dennehy, Merrimack Head Coach
Opening comments …
Kudos to Providence and Coach (Nate) Leaman. I thought they played really well. They’re a good team, they play very hard. I thought that we had ebbs and flows. I don’t think we were as consistent as we need to be to beat a quality opponent like Providence.
One of the first signs of competition for us is face-offs and I’m not happy with where we were in face-offs today. That’s a good indicator we were on our heels a little bit. We need to dig a lot deeper than we did in stretches tonight.
Your goalie played well.
Nick Ellis played well too. Both goalies were good. (Vogler) made the saves he needed to make.
Did you feel like you were effective enough getting to the Providence net?
It’s hard to get there. It’s like trying to get to the end zone. I mean, it’s hard to get there. What were the penalties? 0 for 1 and 0 for 2? It’s tough to move anywhere out there.
Where did you feel you needed to be more consistent and where did you feel that you were consistent?
I thought we worked hard but we need to be more aggressive and attack more. I thought, at times, there were simple plays we had opportunities to make but we were a little too slow to make them. And it got better at times, in the scene period for sure, whether its finding our point men, getting pucks to the net or behind them. Just simple things like that. Things I know we’re capable of doing.
Was it a positive to be tied late with a team like Providence? Giving yourself a chance to win?
To be honest I don’t care who the opponent is. You’re on the road in the playoffs, it’s 1-1 in the third period, you give yourself a chance. It’s 1-1 with 17 minutes left, you give yourself a chance. I don’t think that was our best game and we gave ourself a chance. There are no moral victories. Our objective hasn’t changed. We came in here needing to win two and we leave here needing to win two.
Nate Leaman, Providence Head Coach
Opening statement …
I thought we came out a little, well obviously there was some rust getting up to game speed. I liked our first period but we missed the net on a few too many chances in the first period. I thought the second period was pretty even, and then in the third they scored the faceoff goal and I liked the way we pushed back after that goal. We got some good looks and then made a nice play through the neutral zone on Foley’s goal.
What were you telling your guys going into the third?
We were real emotional tonight, a little over-emotional. In the second period, our shift length was awful. Sometimes emotion is good, because we were jumping plays, but we weren’t really thinking, we were just going. We settled in and were more poised as the game went on, and I think it will continue to get better tomorrow night.
I thought our D was big getting out of our zone tonight. That was big. They had some real good poise with our breakouts.
This was a game you could have lost …
It’s Hockey East. They have a good team. They have a very good team and they’re a well-coached team. We don’t expect this to be easy. I was just really proud after their goal we had some good push back. We expect another hard-fought game but we need to prepare ourselves.
We locked in a little more after Merrimack scored. To start the third, we weren’t really going hard on the forecheck. We were chipping it and going hard. Then after they scored Pinho’s line had a great forecheck, then got in there hard and it helped the bench. It got us back on our toes.
When you sit two weeks, you’re just thinking about playing in the playoffs, so the emotion level is really what you have to focus on.
Given you had the week off, will you get some fresh legs in there tomorrow?
Yeah, we probably will. I thought some guys were a little over-emotional tonight. But I think you want to get new legs in if you can.
Did you prepare something for the extra-attacker situation? Where Merrimack has scored so many extra-attacker goals the last month or so?
That’s the advantage of the bye week, you can work on things you don’t normally work on this time of year. We did work on 5-on-6 and 6-on-5. We did OK there. It was more winning a battle and getting it out of the zone than anything designed.
They got a good look on their faceoff with about 20 seconds to go.
We need to be better on the dot. Their goal came on the dot and their chance there came from the dot. Our lefties were OK, our righties were not.
We just need the Merrimack fans to come back again tomorrow night, because it was a great atmosphere and our fans stayed.