2012 NCAA MEN’S ICE HOCKEY
NORTHEAST REGIONAL · DCU CENTER · WORCESTER, MASS.
AIR FORCE PRE-TOURNAMENT PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
MARCH 23, 2012
Head Coach Frank Serratore, Senior Defenseman Tim Kirby, Senior Forward Paul Weisgarber
Serratore: First of all, even though we play in Atlantic Hockey we are the road team. . . Secondly, we are the underdog. I called my brother Tom in Bemidji last night and was chatting with him. And his kids had done the brackets in school – that’s part of the curriculum in Bemidji, Minn., to do the NCAA brackets. My three nephews and nieces filled out their brackets and none of them picked Air Force. I can’t even get my nephews and nieces to pick Air Force in a for fun bracket, so we are the road team and we are the underdog but we are sure happy to be here. We’ve earned our way here for the fifth time in six years, having to win our conference tournament. . . We’ve been here before, we’ve played the top seeds before, we’re looking forward to the game.
On Boston College now, after seeing them at the Ice Breaker
earlier in the season:
Kirby: From what I’ve seen, and from video, they are a quick team. I mean, they’ve got nine NHL draft picks and I’m sure a bunch of (others) could go play pro after (college) too. We just have to minimize our turnovers and play our game, because they are going to be able to capitalize on mistakes that we make. We just have to play our game, play hard.
On starting the second half of the season in a funk, and on
the return of Jason Torf:
Kirby: Every year I have been at the Academy, we’ve had a struggle right after Christmas break. Having Torf come back was a plus. Caple and him split time early on and both played really well. Torf came into his own at the RIT series . . . where we swept them. It’s always nice to have your number one goalie come back and play tough. He’s had his stretches where he’s played really well, and he’s had stretches where he hasn’t, but I think we have very good confidence in him to hopefully upset BC.
On not being picked to win, and the motivation it may
Paul Weisgarber: As far as in our locker room we tend not to listen to too much of that. We’re confident with our group in our locker room and that’s what matters this time of year. We know all the media outlets, everyone around the nation is expecting BC – even coach Serratore’s relatives – so you know it’s standard. A lot of my buddies back home have the same thing. We’re used to that. Like you said, the past four or five years, that hasn’t changed, but we’re hoping to make some noise this year and hopefully in the future it would change.
On Paul Weisgarber as a player:
Kirby: Basically, Paul is the heart and soul of our team. He is the hardest worker on the ice, off the ice. I love playing with him because I know I have confidence in him, that he’ll make the right play, (the) smart choice. He’s a defensive specialist. Occasionally he’ll score those big goals, he had 12 goals last year. He can score, he can play really good defense, he’s a great PK player and he’s on the PP. So we have all the confidence in the world. At least I do, and I’m pretty sure the rest of the team does too. He goes down and blocks shots, big shots – blocked shots that probably could be goals sometimes. So he’s a defensive specialist and plays really hard all the time, and competes. He’s just an all around good player.
On the capabilitie of playing their style instead of waiting
for something big to happen at the end:
Kirby: I think we can play our game. We’ve been here, maybe the past couple years a few of us were new to it, but this year basically our whole team has been to the NCAA Tournament, and fought the number one seed into overtime, and lost on a goal that maybe we could have had back, but I definitely think we can. We just have to play mistake free.
On playing in Worcester:
Kirby: It’s always nice to get away from school. We’re happy to be here. We are going to play our hardest. We are going to give BC their toughest game all year, we hope. It is always nice to come out east and play hockey.
On Tim Kirby as a player:
Weisgarber: Tim is a pretty special defenseman. A comparison to Ray Bourque, I think coach Serratore has done a few times. When he is rushing the puck up, he can single handedly bring it from our end all the way down and score a phenomenal goal, and the past four years he has scored four or five game-winners in overtime or with two or three seconds left in the third period. Anytime the puck is on his stick our home crowd is always on its feet. He’s an electric player, and on top of that he is a pretty solid defensively too. He doesn’t get beat one-on-one so he takes care of his own end as well.
On the caliber of the other teams:
Serratore: Hey they’re all good. If you don’t want to play the top seed, don’t be the 16th seed, or the 15th or the 14th. You know we play tough opponents. They’re all tough in their own way. All these teams are a little bit. I think I compare Boston College to that Michigan team we played because they’ve got that great speed and they want to impose their will on you in every facet of the game. Even watching their penalty kill, I mean, our penalty killers are instructed if they get possession of the puck in the defensive zone, you ice it 200 feet and get off the ice and we get fresh troops on the ice. They get it and they attack. I guess that’s how you score 11 shorthanded goals. Maybe that’s why we’ve only scored two but it just goes to show you how much confidence and swagger that they have. They’ll attack you even when they’re a man down. That Michigan team had that same element about them.
On the difference between the No. 1 and the No. 4
Serratore: Well first of all, all the teams here are capable of winning, and you know teams have either earned their way here by winning a tournament or by having a great season. They’ve done something in order to get here. You look at our team, were the 16th seed. Were the lowest seed and were not getting a lot of respect in this game with this terrific Boston College team. If you want to break down our team, our laundry list, you look at the last five years. . . People can say what they want about Atlantic Hockey. I think we have a real solid league. People can say what they want about it but we’ve beaten five top five teams in the last five years. You want to look at our seniors here. They are not intimidated by this situation. We have a ton of respect for Boston College and Jerry York, for the players. They’re a phenomenal team but we’re not intimidated by the situation. . . Actually in the last five years, we’ve only played nine of them. We’re 5-4 in games against top five teams in the country. And we’re the 16th seed. Everybody’s got their laundry list of bullet points. . . We’ve been here, we’ve played five games in the NCAA Tournament. We’ve only won one, we beat Michigan. But we lost a heartbreaking one-goal game to Minnesota. We lost an overtime game to Yale. Another overtime game to Miami. And a double overtime game on a mystery puck against Vermont where we were one step away from getting to the Frozen Four. . . Like I said, we’re the 16th seed. Like I said, everybody’s got a laundry list of credentials and we’re no different. You look at the NCAA basketball tournament. Missouri and Duke, unbeatable in their first game? No, no. It happens, and that’s the beauty of the tournament. It’s not the NCAA playoffs it’s the NCAA tournament. You win and move on, or you go home.
On Tim Kirby:
Serratore: Tim is kind of, for our program, like our supermodel. I mean he’s got that ability. We don’t get many players that have the talent the skill to lift you out of your seat. At Air Force right now, whenever he touches the puck, our fans have gotten so used to his electric rushes. You know he attacks, his jersey is flapping. And he can break people down one on one. He’s got that ability to lift people out of their seats. Our fans at Air Force, when he grabs the puck in the D-zone they literally start cheering because they anticipate something exciting is going to happen. You know obviously were going to play against the best team in the country. What Boston College has done in Hockey East and what they’ve done over the last 15 games is phenomenal. You’ll see flashes of that with Tim. He may be playing a more conservative game tomorrow because we realize we’re up against a power house and we’ve got a much better chance of winning it 2-1 than we do 7-6.