Head coach Mike Stothers, on getting four out of six points on the weekend:
That’s what we talked about last night, that’s that glass half full again. It makes for a pretty good weekend. We set a goal that we wanted to win all three games, especially seeing you’re at home. The way last night went out, I thought it was a good response … man, that team can skate. Holy smokes can they skate. To hold them to 20-some shots and one goal, against that firepower, that’s a good rebound game for us.
Stothers, on Houser in his first start:
I thought he was good. It’s too bad he didn’t get a shutout. Just got to work on that puckhandling skills.
Stothers, on fatigue in a three-in-three:
We do do a lot of skating (in practice). It’s more of a mindset. It’s easy to convince yourself you’re tired. It’s easy to convince yourself you’re not feeling great. If you give into that, you’re going to go to work that way or you’re going to play that way. It’s a matter of just telling yourself, ‘hey, I can get through this.’ And we battled. I was surprised actually at how good the game was and how fast the tempo was for both teams playing, because typically, I mean, the American Hockey League is trying to get rid of this three games in three nights because usually that third game is not very good. And I thought that was far from it. This was a good game. Man, it was exciting.
Stothers, on if getting pucks deep, grinding Texas out was beneficial:
You think? Oh my god. How many times can you turn a puck over and only make the opposition skate three-quarter ice or half ice? When we got the puck in deep an actually got a forecheck going like we did last night. Big Mike goes in, wins a puck battle low to high next thing you know it’s in the back of the net. And tonight, you think we could just get it beyond their defensemen and get it in and when we did, the whole game changed. Make your opponent skate 200 feet. A team that skates as good as they do, if you’re only going to make them skate half the ice, oh, you’re going to be in trouble. [Reporter: Is that what you said to the guys after the first period?] You don’t want to know what I said to the guys after the first period. You can’t print any of it.
Stothers, on what Mersch brings to the lineup even without putting up points:
You want to sum up Michael Mersch? OK. First period, big shot block. Second period, we’re killing a penalty, the period’s just winding down, another big shot block. That tells you what kind of a character he is. This guy just got sent down from the Kings and he’s down here blocking shots. Most guys, some guys, I played with guys that would never block a shot because they were worried about getting hurt and missing an opportunity to go back up top. He’s here. He’s all in. And that’s what’s going to make Mike Mersch a special hockey player not only here but up top with the Kings.
Stothers, on what he takes away from the first half of the season:
It was all right. [Reporter: Where do you think you can improve?] We didn’t win every single game so that’s a start right there. You’ve gotta win every game. It was good. Listen, we’ve got a completely different team and I’m OK with where we’re at right now but sometimes I think there’s a misconception here, even amongst you guys. When we don’t win a game you’re like, well what happened? Have you looked at the opponents? Everybody’s good. You think we’re just going to steamroll through everybody in the league and everybody in our division? There’s parity, man, this is unbelievable. You look at Texas, that team is unreal. 158 goals going into the game compared to our 88. You’ve gotta give some credit to our opponents and you’ve gotta give credit to the opposition coaches. This is going to be a tough, tough grind. You say we’re through the first half? Great. Now we’ve got to start the second half. There’s no easy nights and I think that’s the beauty of this game. The American Hockey League, it’s fabulous. Our division, our conference, man, oh, man, it’s going to be a dogfight all the way through.
Stothers, on Dowd’s play lately:
I do think that a lot of this, him winning faceoffs, him now producing some points has a lot to do with the fact that we do not have to play him so much. His minutes are not what they were before and consequently he’s fresher. He’s trying out there all the time. When we were down on bodies and he’s trying to be the bigtime player for us he was out there way too much. I think all these good players, they all want to play a lot but sometimes they’re on too much. You kind of watch that. So I think that might have something to do with it.
Stothers, on the game-winning goal coming from unlikely sources:
You need that. Can’t just rely on the same guys to score all the time. You need guys to chip in. We don’t much care where they’re coming from, we just want to get them. You’ve got to get some production from your back end. A big part of the success we had last year was we had some goals from our back end. Colin Miller had 19 goals, there’s a number for you. And he’s playing for the Boston Bruins, there’s another, you can put that down if you want. It makes a big difference. You’ve got to get it from all sources.
Stothers, on the midway point of the season and Manchester vs. Ontario:
It’s a hockey season. It doesn’t much matter where you are, it’s a hockey season. We take it one game at a time and one day at a time. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Manchester. I’m extremely happy to be here. The only time I’m not is the 15 minutes that we spend together each and every game. But other than that I can tolerate you guys, you’re all right. … It’s not that much different. I do find the travel a little bit different. We were very fortunate in Manchester last year our travel was real, real good. I guess the one thing I did learn is the state of California is a lot bigger than I ever imagined. It’s a pretty good haul from here to San Jose, here to Stockton. I guess that’s part of the learning curve for me. [Reporter: A lot of bus movies] When the guys remember to bring ‘em. [Reporter: Whose job is that?] The young guys and I’m pretty close to 54 so we have nothing in common when it comes to movie collections. You just gut it out. [Reporter: What kind of movies do you like?] Probably a lot of action movies. Probably where a lot of things get blown up. People get hurt. I like that.
Andrew Crescenzi, on his game-winner:
I got thrown out in the last minute on the power play which is nice, Schultzy feathered a nice pass through their d-man and I just tried to spin and jam it in front of the net and luckily it went in. [Reporter: And the emotions after that?] Yeah, it was a close game. I thought both teams played pretty well, especially being both our third game in two and a half days, but it was nice to get the two points. [Reporter: So how many inches did Auger lift you up?] I don’t know, it all happened so fast but I’m glad that we capitalized on that power play and finished the game before overtime.
Crescenzi, on finishing up the three-in-three with a win:
It was good. We set out to try to win all six points but four of six is pretty good. Take positives out of that and look forward to Wednesday against Manitoba. [Reporter: How tired are you feeling?] It’s all mental. We practice hard. Stuttsy skates us hard to prepare us for this so like I said it’s all mental and you just got to get through it.
Nic Dowd, on any fatigue setting in in the third period:
Actually, I think that was the best I felt all weekend, which is just weird, it’s just how it happens. Obviously I thought we had a slow start last night so for whatever reason probably felt … a little better today.
Dowd, on Houser and the tough goal he gave up:
I didn’t even see it. But Housey played unbelievable tonight for his first game in a long time. For however it happened, we knew that we had to score more than one goal to win a game anyways so that didn’t really bother us.
Dowd, on his goal:
Just got in on the forecheck and I think Backs made a good play to stop the rim and got the puck up to the point and I tried to get to the net as quick as I could. Merschy was there, I think he may have gotten a piece of it trying to tip it and it kind of dropped down in front of him and I was just able … corral it and just shot it and happened to find its way in.
Dowd, on if he’s noticed anything different in Mersch’s game:
Nope. I think Mikey’s a consistent player and he does the right things all over the ice. I think he goes up to the Kings and he’s going to do the right things and he comes down here and he’s going to do the right things.
Houser, on the first five minutes and getting back into it:
It was all right. I knew I wasn’t going to be too sharp early just because it’s been so long but I knew it was going to be a bit of a battle in the first period. I was fighting the puck a little bit but I got through that with no goals against which was nice. A couple scrambly plays, which I didn’t feel too great on but that was expected. I figured it wasn’t going to be a smooth game just because of the long layoff.
Houser, on playing a high-powered Texas team:
They fire a lot of pucks to the net. We actually did a good job I thought of limiting them and keeping them outside for the most part. When there were rebounds around I thought we cleared them pretty quickly. They didn’t have a lot on their power play either, which, I was talking to Budes the last time they were zipping around pretty good on their power play so I thought we did a great job tonight.
Houser, on what happened on the Texas goal:
It was a goalie error. It happens. I was trying to throw it up to Les quick. I kind of tried to throw it I guess a little too hard and almost snap-hooked it a little bit right in the middle of the ice. That’s a big no-no, Goalie 101. But, it happens. Move on from it and I just wanted to make sure I made the next save and we got a shot a couple minutes later, controlled the rebound so I was fine after that.
Michael Mersch, on drawing the penalty that resulted in power play to set up game-winner:
I honestly didn’t even realize it until you just said that. It’s great. Cres made a great move on the power play there to score the goal. … Glad to see those ones go in. It’s a huge team victory and we really poured on in the third period and were able to wear them down.
Mersch, on the three-in-three:
It was good to get some games in, play some big minutes and help this team win two out of three. Obviously you’d like to win all three but thought we responded well to yesterday’s loss.
Mersch, on working on breakouts, transitioning as he set out to do after being sent down:
It always helps when you’re able to make those plays and Backs was coming with speed a lot and I was able to hit him on some passes and Dowder too. I thought my speed down the left wing was pretty good today and like you said, drew the penalty at the end there. Just stuff like that and gain momentum up the ice where you’re able to get on the forecheck a little better. Just work on that type of stuff. Get more comfortable with it. And I think it helps out, helps the team out.