Culhane Michigan Series Quotes

Western Michigan University Broncos hockey coach Jim Culhane talked to the media on Friday following the Broncos 10-3 loss to Michigan in Ann Arbor and again on Saturday following the Broncos 4-3 win over Michigan at Lawson Arena. Coach Culhane talks about the first period in the 10-3 loss, about the third period in the 4-3 win and about the sellout crowd on Saturday at Lawson.

Friday's Quotes

Bad first period?

"I don't think so. We talked about it all week long about what it's going to take here to play on the road. They come out, again we look at all the statistics, they come out so hard in the first period and second period they outscore their opponents. We looked like we were on our heels and they bang, bang, bang you know. Tried to slow it down with the timeout, tried to slow it down with the change of goalies and nothing seemed to work there and bang we give up seven goals. After that it's a 3-3 hockey game but the games over. That's the unfortunate part of it is unfortunately we don't come ready to compete at the same level as this Michigan team and obviously it cost us the game right away."

So you believe your team wasn't ready to play?

"Well it didn't look like it. I mean they're standing out there not in the same level as that Michigan team, not in the first twenty minutes. We stood around and they skated. They skated and beat us all to those pucks. We weren't near the same level as they were in that first twenty minutes of hockey."

You talked about coach, coming in and cutting down on turnovers. Right of the bat allowed two quick turnovers, goals.

"Right off the bat, yeah. That's what the frustrating part is, whether you guys see it upstairs and we see it from behind the bench it's right there. It's pretty evident. You can talk about all those things, as you want as a coach. You have to go out there as a player and execute and we didn't do that in the first twenty minutes and the games over in the first twenty minutes with those first seven goals."

Coach, in the game I noticed Michigan was making some really fast, crisp, quick passes. Compared to, it seemed like some of the passes that you guys were making either weren't hitting their mark or they were ahead (of the intended target). Can you talk about the importance of making those passes and getting them where they need to be?

"Well again, this goes back to the point we already made is turnovers. If it's not crisp and not on the tape and turn the puck over and they're such a good skilled hockey club that obviously they are going to create things and they get scoring chances. We seem we get pretty tentative and it's too bad because I felt that with the non-conference schedule that we played we didn't have to be tentative coming into this building and playing a team such as Michigan. They're no different than a Cornell team or a Maine team that we play or CC. Just something about this building that sets us back on our heels. Right now thank goodness we only play in this building once this year."

Word came around that some of the freshmen were being intimidated by the Michigan mystique. What is your viewpoint?

"I don't think so. I don't think you can leave it up to freshmen. I think if anything you're going to think your intimidated I think you can say everybody was in that first twenty minutes. I don't think we can point the finger at the young guys I think you have to look at everybody that played here tonight who didn't get the job done right at the drop of the puck. The coaching, from Mike (Mantua) in net all the way through to all the guys that played.

Can we expect some players who haven't been getting a lot of playing time to be playing tomorrow night?

"No, we'll make changes. I mean there's no question, 10-3, you're not going to stick with the same lineup. It's pretty evident you are going to make changes."

Tomorrow's game, less than 24 hours. Talk about the preparation for that real quick in front of a sold out crowd.

"Well, we are looking forward to it obviously. We need to get regrouped for tomorrow night and have a much better effort on our part to give them obviously a better game."

Saturday's Quotes

What a remarkable reversal of fortunes from Friday night.

"I don't know if it's a reversal of fortunes. I think it's a great effort on our part. I don't think fortune has anything to do with it. I think it has a lot of guts and a lot of character from the way that we were embarrassed last night down there and obviously we as a program are very disappointed with that. It took us all sixty minutes to try and gut a game out here against a remarkable opponent. We're very, very pleased that we could finish off a Bronco hat trick here with the win with men's and women's basketball and then us here this evening."

Vince Bellissimo comes and has a really big game.

"Yeah, well we needed it. We needed Vince or whoever it would be to have a big game for us. To compete and to win against an outstanding opponent such as Michigan we needed guys to raise their game up and Vince was just one of a number of guys that really elevated their game here. Specifically in that third period."

That first goal coach really seemed to turn the tide a little bit.

"Well that was big for us just for confidence wise. For us to score first after having a pretty shaky start there last night and playing well the next forty minutes in a three-three hockey game in the second and third period. But scoring first tonight, get the crowd into it was pretty critical."

Talking about Bellissimo's first one.

"Oh yeah. We talk about it this morning and Jeff Campbell had said what we need right now for us as a team is to stick to the script and the work ethic and so forth. But, we just need a lucky bounce. For him to score there from center ice and get that one Jeff's got a crystal ball in his apartment or something. But, we got a break there and made it a one-goal game at that point."

Mike (Mantua) had a great first and third period, the second period he was a little bit off a little bit, but he had a great game.

"He played solid for us. It was a much better effort on his part than unfortunately last night we had to get him out of net. So, he played well."

Talk about the team's composure. Down 1-3, could be easy to get frustrated and lose it, especially after last night. Just stuck with it.

"Well, they really stuck together in the locker room in between that second and third period and said "hey, we got twenty minutes, this is our last time playing Michigan this year in the regular season. Let's work hard and that the students are packed here for us and this is a special night and lets just empty the tank." And they did that and I'm very pleased to come out on the winning side."

Vince's first goal actually woke up the crowd and that seemed like that gave you guys a huge shot of adrenaline.

"No question. I mean you got those fifteen hundred, sixteen hundred kids ranting and raving and with the Thundersticks. It gets us going with the shot of adrenaline that we needed. You know to tell you the truth that's the extra player on our team right now is to have them over there and with that enthusiasm. I thought that gave us an extra shot of adrenaline."

This is the Bronco hockey that we've been hearing so much about all year?

"Well, no it's the way we can play. We just need to consistently play that way. I think now it gives us something obviously to hopefully build upon. It keeps us .500 in the league and our quest to try and be one of those top six teams in the playoffs. But it's a hope for a first round playoff series and we'll have a difficult test again with another national ranked opponent with Miami coming in here next weekend."

Coach, all season you've been saying that 4-4 tie on Sunday against Maine was the best hockey game of the season for you guys. Would you say that this game is now perhaps the best game?

"No. Well, I think maybe with the atmosphere and everything that you have going around when you play Michigan. I guess you could probably put it up there. It's one of our better games and one of our more memorable games. I thought we played well here earlier in the year against Ferris State and on the road at Maine. But, this one is obviously pretty special when you play against a team that made it to the Final Fours last year and has always been a nationally ranked opponent. Consistently up there in the CCHA whether they are winning playoff or regular season titles."

Did you guys make a conscious effort to come out more physically tonight a little bit?

"No, not really. We tried to do that last night but to no avail. Unfortunately we seemed to stand around a lot there last night. I thought it was a well played hockey game by both teams and really hard fought."

Now what kind of affect will this have on the team beating a ranked team and being able to come away with the victory?

"Hopefully it adds to our confidence. Obviously when you play a superior opponent and hopefully this can carry some momentum over into next weekend against a very good Miami team."

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