Coach Mike Stothers after the Manchester Monarchs 3-2 win in Game 1 of the AHL Eastern Conference Final…
What are you reactions after a hard fought game?
It’s alright. I think both teams will play better next game. I think we showed signs of a team that hasn’t played in a while, and actually, I think they did too. I expect both teams to be better on Saturday.
Was it difficult to have all of the time off from finishing the series with the Penguins and starting this one?
When you look at it, you always try to put a positive spin on things. It was a chance to heal up a little bit. It gave us a few recovery days. It gave us a few days of preparations for Hartford. Maybe one or two days too long perhaps, but it is what it is. That’s the way the schedule was laid out, and we adhere to it. When they drop the puck, we try to be ready.
Did you feel at any point of the game that you were playing like yourselves again and gotten rid of some of that rust?
I felt great at the start. I can’t speak for the guys though. I didn’t really feel anything from our guys. We just do what we do. Sometimes we start fast and sometimes we start slow. It’s a 60 minute game, and I look at our bench and I have confidence in our players. Usually they perform well, whether we lose or not, but these guys care about it, and try to win, and play hard.
Another two committed goals from Mersch tonight. What can you say about him and that line as a whole?
First and foremost, you should be talking to Mersch because that kid is unreal. He just grows roots in front of the net. He’s unbelievable. He’s a tree. If you do chop him down, he battles on his knees. And if you take him down even further, he’s laying flat out on his stomach trying to put pucks in the back of the net. I like to kid him because I’m not sure if hes actually shot a puck in the net from any distance this year. It’s usually just laying in the blue paint. Those guys are few and far between. Guys don’t want to go to that area now, but he’s doing it, and he’s being rewarded for it. He’s playing on a really good line. As a first year guy playing with Weal and O’Neill you’ve got to be pretty happy, and he’s going to do whatever he can to stay on that line.
How important was that second goal he scored from his knees that gave you some breathing room?
I like to say we designed that in practice, but again, it’s just being determined, and he’s a very determined individual. He never gives up on a puck.
Tonight was the 5th time you scored within the first minute of a game. Can you attribute that to anything?
You guys keep asking me that questions, but honest to God, I have no explanation for it. It is not even something we discuss. It’s not something we talk about before the start of each game. It’s just happening. Yeah, it’s great, but again, it’s one of those things that you can’t get too wound up about it, just like I assume they didn’t get too wound up about it, when they got scored on, because there were 59 minutes left in the game. It’s a 60-minute game, and you can’t do that to yourself because the emotions would eat you up. It’s way too tough on you. You just stay grounded, you stay focused, you stay determined, and that’s what we did.
What are your general thought on Hartford tonight?
It’s a good hockey team. They deserve to be where they are. As I said earlier, we are going to have to be better because they’re going to be better. They have a lot of playoff experience with some guys who know how to win. I wish Game 2 was tomorrow.
More postgame quotes are linked below.
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