The Ontario Reign snapped their losing streak in a dramatic overtime win 3-2 over the Texas Stars on Tuesday night. After the game, Reign Head Coach Mike Stothers met with the media.
On Justin Auger’s play and confidence:
“Oh, it’s great for Auger. It was great for all of us, you know I mean that was a major goal outburst by us. It was good, and we needed him and you know it’s good for Auger and he’s played very well lately and he doesn’t get much credit for it. He’s doing a lot of things, he wants to step up his game. He wants to be a difference maker and he certainly was tonight, you know when you see a guy that big, powerful, actually skates very well for his size. He has deceptively good hands for a guy his size too. I hope that it can continue, it’s great to see and it’s much needed from our team.
On Gravel coming up big late in games:
“I don’t know, but man oh man he steps it up when you need him. That’s just, just a sign of good character and I think I mentioned it earlier in the year that I see a lot of leadership in Gravel. He could be a captain some day. That’s the type of response you want to see, and you know he plays pretty consistently for us, he plays pretty steady. The few nights he’s off, he takes it personally and he wants to be a big game guy. It sure was nice to see the puck go into the back of the net.”
On if the energy in the room was good after a day off:
“Anytime they get a day away from me, they come back with some good energy. Keep hoping that you guys will get tired of me and give me a day. You know what, we talked about it with you guys after the game the other night. We’re a glass half full, you don’t beat each other up. It’s unnecessary and it can’t happen in a team sport. We know that we’re not always going to succeed but so as long as the effort is there and we try to work which these guys do most nights, you got a chance and that’s the way we approach things, hey you got a chance”
On what he told the team after a wide open first period:
“Well we really didn’t want it to be wide open at all. You guys, the crack staff that you are, have done your homework and you saw how many goals this team could score. I mean that’s the wrong brand of hockey that we’d want to be playing against those guys and then of course you saw how quickly they can strike and they get two. We wanted to make sure that we were taking away their time and space, we wanted to make sure we had good gaps, we wanted to make sure we were taking away their speed, we wanted to make sure we were staying on top of them. You know what, we did a good job. They few times we didn’t, they take advantage of them. I mean, man oh man, that team has got a lot of.. you got your line up card and you’re trying to match line for line and you got our guys points against their guys points and you’re looking right down the middle. There’s a big discrepancy there. We had to play a good team game”
On if Texas was the fastest team he’s seen:
“Well, I hate to be slighting any other team, but man they can go. They can flat out fly and that’s a well balanced team up front, and their ‘D’ are active. I think it’s reflective in their stats what they can, I mean you can play a little bit on the other side of the puck if you know your team can score. It doesn’t bother them, you can just tell like, it doesn’t bother them that they give up a goal, it doesn’t bother them to give up two, cause they know they can get it back. So that’s a big difference and that’s a real good hockey club.
On how Nic Dowd is playing with the extra minutes:
“Dowder is doing great. He takes a lot of responsibiliy upon himself. He sometimes put too much pressure on himself to be the guy, and you know what, you know I trust him to put him out in all kinds of situations because of that trust. I saw him evolve and develop a lot last year and grow up and mature. He’s a real good hockey player, he thinks the game well. He understands the game, he’s a very very sharp individual so not much gets by Dowder.”
On what he told his players before overtime:
“Our philosophy on overtime is pretty much the same all the time. Every shot’s a good shot. Never pass up an opportunity to put it at the net. Never pass up an opportunity to put it into the blue paint and that’s a big part of it. The other thing you want to stress is, don’t miss the net, because it’s going around, it’s coming back and it’s an odd man situation going the other way. You don’t too often finess a puck into the back of the net, just shoot it. Just put it on net. I was really happy that we didn’t get discouraged. We had a two nothing lead and you know what, it was different on the bench. The guys, the shoulders didn’t slump, the heads didn’t bow down. They’re like no big deal, we’ll get this. That’s what you want to see from your team. Even if things haven’t been going great for us lately, and hey, one game doesn’t make a winning streak. It could have been very easy they way things have been going lately to say ‘gee, tonight’s not the night either, maybe the next one’. You know what, not with this group, they’re never out of it. They stick together and they play hard, you know what, that’s why I like coming to the rink tomorrow.