Monday Press Conference: Mike Eaves

Men's hockey coach spoke to the media Monday afternoon about the upcoming schedule and finding offense

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When you had the unbeaten streak, you were challenged with the third period comebacks. Did you see enough during that stretch to believe your team is mentally tough enough to handle stretches like this when things aren't always going to go well?

"I think so. I think that we've dealt with some adverse situations this year already, coming back. The biggest thing different right now is, as we talked about last night, is the fact that we're not getting that timely goal. It's interesting to note, in thinking about it a lot last night in bed, looking up at the ceiling, that shot by Mr. Burish (sophomore wing Adam Burish), when we played Minnesota that shot went in; it hit the post and went in. Last night it hit the post and went out, so that's the margin of victory at times. We knew that we weren't going to be an overly abundant goal-scoring team and that we had to play solid defense for the most part. Even in the games this weekend, we were there and we gave ourselves a chance to win the games, and the timely goals just haven't been there the last couple games."

You mentioned timely goals, how do you approach this issue as a team since the players have different reasons for not scoring?

"We spoke about it last night, we have an approach much like in baseball you have teams that don't have home run hitters, and you have to manufacture runs. We have to manufacture goals and there's a whole approach to that: screening goaltenders, getting the rebounds, making sure that every time you have a shot, you're getting the shot to the net instead of trying to pull a fancy move and trying to create something that isn't there. It's about going back to basics and so we'll have that approach definitely this week."

Notre Dame had travel problems getting here, you decided to get off the road, how much of that was thinking about the accident that (Colorado College assistant coach) Norm (Bazin) had?

"Every coach you talk to has had a story, like what happened this past weekend with the ice storms. It's about making good decisions how far to push it. I think the older you get the more you realize, you don't mess with Mother Nature. She's a formidable opponent and you're not going to win, so you have to make smart decisions and when we got that call from Rob, it was a no-brainer. 'Let's pull over and see what it's like in the morning.' I think what happened to Norm just highlighted, unfortunately in a negative way, that we have to make good decisions. To try to go over the bearing to get to another game to see another kid may not be worth it if the weather conditions are not right."

Is it safe to say you've had this portion of your schedule circled?

"When you first get your schedule you break it down in to parts and we knew that this part was going to be a difficult one for us. As I've said this is going to be a revealing part of the schedule, it's going to help us get ready for the playoffs, because in the playoffs you're going to have to play the best teams at the end and that's where we want to be. So we'll go into this weekend and these next three. The kids are going to be excited, they're talking about it right now is a fact that these are going to be weekends that will reveal where we're at and how truly good we are. I like our play away from the puck; we just have to get a little more spark on the offensive side to give ourselves a real good chance to be successful."

Is the confidence still there?

"Yeah, it hurt the other night not to win, but that's a good thing. You want you're athletes to feel that pain, because when you come back tomorrow they're going to be more focused. I think that confidence, going through that (unbeaten) stretch, they forged themselves into a pretty good team and they believe in themselves. They understand what's going on right now, we have talked about that. Their self-talk in the locker room has to be, 'You know what, we're okay. We know we're a good team. We just have to find the offensive spark and get the ball rolling again.'

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