Monday Press Conference: Mark Johnson

Women's hockey coach discussed his team's strong finish, its upcoming matchup with Minnesota-Duluth and what the Badgers may need to do to reach NCAA postseason play

New Page 1

Your team has been scoring a lot of goals. It seems like your offensive production has picked up at the right time. Is that true?

"I've been very pleased. I think there are a lot of people in this building (the Kohl Center) who our players made a bit nervous yesterday (in Wisconsin's 2-1 comeback win against Bemidji State), but I think more of it had to do with that we had parents weekend and everybody's parents are in town and you play very well in the first game and score a lot of goals, so the tendency is to relax and we relaxed a little bit yesterday. It was a good test, a good challenge. We came back in the third period, we scored a couple of goals and we won the game to put ourselves in the position that we need to be in. The last three or four weekends we have played very well. The puck has gone in and it's a credit to the kids because they battled through some adversity early on in the year with not being able to score a lot of goals and their hard work and persistence has certainly paid off in the last couple of weekends.

You have won six games in a row coming into the (WCHA Final Five). Are you peaking right now? Is this where you want to be?

"Well, we're playing very well. I struggle sometimes with computer systems and these rankings (PairWise rankings). I don't look at them a lot, but when I do look at them, I get a little confused as I'm sure many of you do. We've lost one game since early December and we don't seem to make a lot of headway in the rankings. But you know, as I tell our team as they get frustrated sometimes when they look at things that way, you can control what you can control and we just need to keep winning hockey games and as I told the team after our victory yesterday, they have a lot to be proud of, especially our seniors. Our senior class has won 20-plus games all four years here and they set a record this past weekend with the most victories of any team in the school's history. Now it comes down really to a one-game playoff. We need to win Saturday up in Ridder Arena against Minnesota-Duluth and if we do that, I feel really comfortable with where we are at."

Is that because of the previous games against Minnesota-Duluth this year?

"Well, we're 2-1-1 against them. We beat them up in their building and we beat them down in Madison. We match up well against them. They have two Olympic players, but one of our assets all year has been our depth. Our ability to throw a lot of people in and try to keep the pace of the game up and really wear teams down, so it will be a good game. It's going to be a close battle. They (Minnesota-Duluth's players) are playing very well right now and we're playing very well right now. It's March so it's an exciting time of the year for everybody."

Mark, is there any doubt in your mind that you are one of the top four teams in the country?

"I have not seen Dartmouth. I have seen tape of Harvard and we have played Minnesota and beaten them. From what I can tell, we are certainly one of the better teams in the country. The big thing is that really the RPI and the Polls, they are great conversation pieces. The one that really matters is probably going to be next Monday after this coming weekend when the ECAC gets done with their playoffs, their first round of playoffs, we get done with our Final Five. Come Monday morning, we'll really start to look at it and analyze it. Up to this point, it's nice to be in the picture, but it doesn't carry any weight."

Badger Nation Top Stories