UNO Hockey Coach Mike Gabinet, senior forward Ryan Galt, and freshman defenseman John Schuldt answered media questions as part of the “Omaha Athletics Weekly Media Availability” on Feb. 5, 2019.
Gabinet & Co. fielded questions regarding the UNO Hockey team’s series against Western Michigan on Feb. 1-2, and the upcoming series at Miami (OH) on Feb. 8-9 in Oxford, OH. They are excerpted below.
If you would like to watch the entire hockey news conference (starting at the 12:15 mark), you can do so here.
LOOKING BACK AT THE WESTERN MICHIGAN SERIES...
GABINET: “Friday night was a good effort by us, I thought. Right in the mix there; come back to tie it up 3-3. Obviously, unfortunate events there for them to get a power play at the end there and come away with a win.”
GABINET: “Reflecting on it, we can’t give them that third goal with under a second left, and that’s something we have to continue to improve on.”
GABINET: “When you’re playing against league competition, you have to learn from your mistakes and you’ve got to continue to evolve, because there’s just no room for error at this level.”
GABINET: “Meeting with the players on Saturday and talking about that, I was very frustrated after the second period with the group.”
GABINET: “The exciting thing is you can see the level of care from the players, when you talk to the players about making mistakes and learning. They’re almost emotional about it how bad they feel about their mistakes and letting the team down. It’s heartbreaking to see them like that. But it’s really reinforcing how much they care, and how much they’re buying into what needs to be done to be successful.”
GABINET: “But in the same breath, this is the NCHC. It’s extremely high-level hockey and you can’t make those mistakes.”
GABINET: “Nice to see better effort from guys on Saturday with some of those details that are important being successful in the game.”
GABINET: “To come back Saturday after getting beat was very positive.”
ON THE BENEFIT OF CLOSE-FOUGHT WEEKENDS LIKE THE WMU SERIES...
GABINET: “Like boxing, we’ve been knocked down to the canvas a bunch of times this season, but we keep getting back up.”
GABINET: “Eventually it’s going to get harder to knock us down. That speaks to the level of resilience and grit the team is developing. That’s going to serve them well in hockey — and in life — to have that mentality.”
GABINET: “We can’t sugarcoat some of the mistakes we’re making, either. We have to make some quick corrections with that.”
GABINET: “I’m just really proud of the group. I just feel like the guys care. The guys are working hard. Against good teams like [WMU], there’s going to be mistakes.”
ON TAYLOR WARD AND THE “MOW” LINE...
GABINET: “It’s been exciting, and you need that. They’ve probably been our most potent scoring line. When those guys are producing, we have a chance to be successful.”
GABINET: “I think Taylor is fortunate to be playing with those two players. They’ve really put a lot of work in over their careers.”
GABINET: “Seeing how they work, and the level they compete at, is helping rub off on him, too.”
GABINET: “His stick is getting better and it’s been fun to watch.”
ON THE MIAMI SERIES AND THE DRAMA SURROUNDING THE DEPARTURE OF ASSISTANT PETER MANNINO TO THE REDHAWKS...
GABINET: “You’re going to prepare the best you can to be successful. It doesn’t change every week for us. It’s the same approach.”
GABINET: “With the standings and the urgency of the situation we have, it’s a very important weekend for us — just like it was against Western.”
GABINET: “For our players, I don’t know if they know the full extent of what’s going on. Like I said before, it’s like having a fight in front of your kids, I don’t think you need to do that. It’s best we just worry about ourselves.”
GABINET: “Just like the officiating, we need all the energy we can. Let’s not let a team score in the last minute of the period. Let’s focus on that first, rather than worrying about anything else.”
ON THE TEAM’S ROAD RECORD...
GABINET: “We’re not walking into a 50th-ranked team for an easy road weekend.”
GABINET: “It’s tough, but we have to find a way to do it. I think, maybe early on, it would be about switching up our routine, or doing something different, and we’ve tried that, and things like that. Now, it is what it is. We’ve got to be ready to go. We’ve got to find a way to win some hockey games here.”
GABINET: “It’s been some head-scratching times, I think, at times this season with the consistency level.”
GABINET: “We’ve got a great league and a great commissioner and all that stuff. So I’m sure they’re going to take the appropriate actions to make sure they’re doing the best they can.”
GABINET: “Just like us, those guys are getting better and improving. I’ve got full trust in the league that they’re going to do everything they can and [making] sure the consistency level is one of the best in the country.”
ON DEFENSEMAN RYAN JONES...
GABINET: “I think just our D-corps in general has gotten better from the start of the season. Not only Jones, but a lot of guys are taking small steps in the right direction.”
GABINET: “He’s a guy that we’ve challenged to continue to elevate his game.”
GABINET: “He needs to play at a certain intensity level — when he’s at his best game, but not over-the-edge where he’s taking penalties. So he’s worked really hard about keeping that intensity level high with having emotional control.”
PLAYER REACTIONS TO THE WESTERN MICHIGAN SERIES...
GALT: “The past month, month-and-a-half, we’ve played some really good hockey against these teams.”
GALT: “These are really good teams. Especially Western. They’re probably the hottest team in the second half so far.”
SCHULDT: “A lot of the guys aren’t happy with where we are in the standings. And that’s a good thing. But, I’d say we’re happy at where we’re going, and how much we’re improving week-to-week. We just need to figure out how to be consistently good.”
SCHULDT: “At the beginning of the year, I thought this season had the potential to be a nightmare. The older guys just kept calming us down: This isn’t how it’s going to be this year. It’s going to get better. There’s just been a lot of perseverance through the adversity.”
SCHULDT: “Through the second half now, we’re a completely different team, with a completely different mindset. It’s been a lot more fun through the second half.”
ON FIGHTING THROUGH ADVERSITY AND THE GREATER SCHEME OF THINGS...
GALT: “We’ve developed a lot as a team over this year.”
GALT: “We say that every year. We’re gonna go far, or we’re gonna do this and that. But I truly believe that this team is almost there — on the cusp of a really good playoff run.”
GALT: “We’ve been playing really, really well against these top-tier teams.”
GALT: “Just like every other year that I’ve been here, it’s do or die in the first round of the playoffs. But I think it’ll be a lot of fun. It’ll be a challenge. But we’ve gone through so many challenges this year.”
ON THE DEPARTURE OF ASSISTANT COACH MANNINO TO MIAMI AFTER ONE SEASON AT UNO AND HOW THAT MIGHT IMPACT THE SERIES AT MIAMI...
GALT: “With the off-ice stuff, and Mannino and all of that, it’s a huge weekend for us. They’re behind us in the standings. So we want to kind of break ourselves away from that.”
SCHULDT: “That first series was a very important series, but this one is even more important for the standings race right now where it’s at. If one team would get six points, that would be a huge benefit for that team.”
ON THE COACHES NOT SHAKING HANDS IN THE NOVEMBER SERIES AGAINST MIAMI... AND THE AWKWARD RELATIONSHIP THE COACHING STAFF HAS WITH FORMER ASSISTANT MANNINO...
GALT: “It’s just sports, I guess. I mean, you see it a lot in football. It’s just not very common in hockey. We don’t know all the information or anything like that, but it was interesting, I guess. It’s not a massive deal to us what happened on the ice.”
SCHULDT: “He [Mannino] recruited me. I never had a problem with him. That’s all I’ll say.”
SCHULDT’S FEELINGS ON WORKING WITH ASSISTANT PAUL JERRARD THIS SEASON... AND THE BENEFITS JERRARD HAS BROUGHT THE TEAM...
SCHULDT: “He’ll pull all the D together at the end of practice — even after the practices where we can barely skate anymore — and we’ll be doing an extra 15-20 minutes of foot work and the real meat-and-potatoes stuff that I’d say we weren’t all quite up to par with at the beginning of the year. And I think that’s really paid off for a lot of us, which has made our D-corps a lot stronger in the second half.”
FEELINGS ON THE DO-OR-DIE NATURE OF SATURDAY’S GAME AGAINST WMU AFTER THE HEARTBREAKING FRIDAY LOSS...
GALT: “The win was massive for our team. Especially against that hot of a team. I think it was a massive weekend overall. It just shows how much adversity that we’ve overcome this year.”
GALT: “It just proves that we are a really good team. We can beat any team. We just have to play the right way consistently for 60 minutes.”
SCHULDT: “I think it’s been cool seeing how, at the beginning of the year, people would get really rattled or affected by losses easily.”
SCHULDT: “The first couple of weekends, we’d let frustration on Friday night carry over to Saturday. But at this point in the season, we’ve seen so much adversity that when it’s done, it’s done. And a lot of the guys will just forget about it, move on, and do their best Saturday night.”
ON OFFICIATING... AND THE INCONSISTENCY OF CALLS...
GALT: “It’s very hard. The last three years before this year, there were a lot more hits and things like that that haven’t been called, that were just part of the game. You can’t really make hockey into a non-contact sport. It’s honestly very hard to figure out, ‘Oh, can I hit this guy or not?’ And In a game you have 1.5 seconds to figure out, ‘Okay, is this going to be a 5? Am I going to play tomorrow? Okay, I’ll hit him and then whatever happens, happens.”
GALT: “It’s tough to not have consistency, but that’s just the way this season has gone for us. We’ve just got to continue to battle through that adversity.”