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WHAT THEY ARE SAYING… About the 2011 Frozen Four

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
Predators prospect Ben Ryan and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish beat the Merrimack Warriors in overtime in their opening game of the NCAA Tournament on March 26, then topped the University of New Hampshire on night later to advance to this weekend’s Frozen Four, being held at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul Minnesota. It is the school’s second Frozen Four appearance, both of which have come during Ryan’s collegiate career (2011 and 2009). talked to Coach Mitch Korn -- a long-time NCAA coach at Miami University -- and collegiate products Colin Wilson and Blake Geoffrion about the Frozen Four and how it helped their development. Wilson advanced to, and won, the NCAA Championships in 2009, while Geoffrion played in last year’s National Championship game.

Colin Wilson
“Really exciting! That was college hockey at its best. The games were really close; well played, competitive. To win it all made the memory more special for me. That was definitely the most exciting time of my college career.”

“Everyone was playing so hard; it was a different level of hockey intensity in those Frozen Four games. To play against guys at that level forced me to elevate my game higher; it taught me how to adjust to play in those games.”

“The Frozen Four is our (NCAA players’) Memorial Cup. It’s that type of pressure and intensity. In the NCAA’s, lose one game and you go home.”

Blake Geoffrion
“I think the biggest thing is you have to get good goaltending and play defense first. You learn to manage the puck well, especially late in games. A mistake is so critical and can mean a goal and in a one-game elimination tournament that can be the difference between winning or going home.”

“It was exciting. When we went they played the games in Ford Field, the football stadium there in Detroit, so it kind of felt a lot like an outdoor game. To win the semifinal and get to the Championship Game, that was really exciting. Then, we had the Hobey Baker presentation the next day and had to quickly turn around the day after for the Championship Game. A little hollow that we didn’t win the title, but a great experience to go through that type of attention. It’s probably helped me quite a bit for this year.”

Mitch Korn
“At the end of the day, the more high-pressure situations a prospect gets to play in when there’s high level of intensity, high level of pressure, whether its Frozen Four, Memorial Cup, World Juniors, all of those tournaments are key to teaching young players how to manage their emotions and rise to the occasion.”

“It’s the Championship. A championship in any league, in any form is great for the players who play in it. Not too many get a chance to over the course of their career. The Frozen Four is exactly the equivalent of the Memorial Cup. The thing about the Memorial Cup is they will play more games during that period of time, so the peak will be at the end of it, where as the Frozen Four it’s one and out, so there’s a peak for all the games.”

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