Yale Press Conference Quotes

2010 NCAA MEN’S ICE HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP
NORTHEAST REGIONAL · DCU CENTER · WORCESTER, MASS.
YALE PRE-TOURNAMENT PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
MARCH 26, 2010
 

Head Coach Keith Allain, Senior Defenseman Tom Dignard, Junior Forward Broc Little 

Opening statement:
Allain
: “We came into this season with pretty high expectations, having won our league last year and qualified for the tournament.  I think you know as a group I’m really proud of the way our guys competed since the very first day. This is a team I really like.  I like our approach to practice, I like the way we play the game.  I think it’s a great group of guys that have a tremendous amount of talent, and have a high commitment level, so from my perspective they’ve been a pleasure to be around on a daily basis.”

On what he learned from last year’s tournament experience:
Little:
“We’ve learned a lot from last year’s experience. Last year we were just so happy to be in the tournament, it had been a while since our last tournament appearance. This year we are more focused on winning games and staying here longer.”  

On what he learned from last year’s tournament experience:
Dignard:
“I was injured last season so I had a different experience than the other players on the team. But I did see what the team went through, and we are approaching this tournament much differently. We have competed against some very tough teams this year and we know we can compete with them. This is our second year in a row in the tournament and we know that we are supposed to be here. We are out to prove that we belong here.”  

On taking on the role of spectator while injured last season:
Dignard:
“I learned that you need to take full advantage of any opportunity that you have. Last year we didn’t take the opportunities that came our way.”  

On the resurgence of the Yale program:
Dignard:
“The players have been an important element to this success. Coach has recruited some really great players. And we have a winning mentality all the way through. Commitment is a huge part of Yale hockey. We come to practices every day ready to work hard. If you’re practicing hard every day then the games are just that much easier to compete. Coach does a great way of stimulating us in the right ways to motivate us to play our best, whether it’s having fun or bearing down.”
Little:
“I think the biggest difference in the past few years is the winning attitude. Before Tom and I were here, they had three win seasons and guys just got in the losing mentality. Now we just expect to win and we don’t take anything else.” 

On how losing Sean Backman has affected their game:
Dignard:
“We go about things the exact same way. We have a lot of depth at forward and other guys can step up and replace that sort of production.” 
Little:
“Sean is a great player of course, but we have lots of guys that can step up.”   

On playing in Worcester, being close to the area:
Allain
: “I’d be thrilled to be playing in a regional anywhere.  It’s a great accomplishment for our kids to qualify for the tournament. From a personal perspective I get to share this with my family, and that makes it special.”

On the two week layoff:
Allain
: “We actually looked at it as a positive. If we had to play in our conference championship, that week of practice would have been different – more fine tuning rather than really getting down to work.  We took advantage of that week and lengthened our practices a little bit, (had) bigger lifts and really rolled up our sleeves and went back to work.  I think there might be rust in the first few minutes, but we did everything we could to prepare ourselves and use that extra week to our advantage.”

On the team preparation compared to last year:
Allain
: “I feel like we were a little bit tight. It’s a big deal and we were at home and there were a lot of people excited about it.  It’s something we addressed as a group, and I think that our guys understand they’ve done everything they could to prepare to be successful here and we’re going into this weekend with a lot of confidence.”

On North Dakota:
Allain
: “They’ve got a great group of forwards, as do we. They’ve got good speed up front. They’re tenacious on the forecheck.  They’re a team that works extremely hard to complete each and every one of their checks, and they’re big and strong on the back end, and make it hard to get to their net. There is a legitimate reason they are here and seeded five.”

On what Tom Dignard can bring this year, after being injured last season:
Allain
: “His insight into the fact we had an early opportunity in that Vermont game and didn’t take advantage of it, I thought showed what great value it was for him.  I think that says a lot about him, he’s that kind of guy.  This has great meaning for him that we’re able to get back and he’s going to have an opportunity to play in this game, and clearly he learned a lot from watching last year.”