POSTGAME: Matt Thomas Quotes (11/18)
Stockton Thunder head coach Matt Thomas spoke with the media after Sunday’s 4-3 Thunder victory over the Idaho Steelheads at Stockton Arena:
RE: How close should the game have been?
THOMAS: “I thought we carried the play. I thought we played a really good game as a group. Obviously you can read into shot totals, sometimes that tells a story not all the time, but I felt it was indicative of who carried the play. I like the way we continued to battle, so a win’s a win.”
RE: Did you work a little harder than you needed to?
THOMAS: “I think we did but the plan was to work for 60 minutes anyways. I don’t know if we needed to go up 5-1 then put it in cruise control, that’s not the way we want to play. I want to make sure we’re competing a full 60 minutes. We’re going to have to win a lot of one goal games, so that’s another one goal game that we got to win. That’s good to learn how to win those.”
RE: On Toni Rajala getting close to a hat trick
THOMAS: “I said, ‘was it in’ and he said, ‘I don’t know I shoot the puck too hard, I couldn’t tell.’ He had a little fun with that on the bench with the guys. It’s amazing how the guys are trying to back up on him and then they just fall. He’s one of those guys he doesn’t miss too often so I guess the goalie’s best friend helped him out on that one. ”
RE: What are you doing right in terms of shots on goal?
THOMAS: “We’re competing hard defensively. I think we’re back-checking even harder. Everyone is going to spend time in their own end, it’s just the way the game is played, so you have to be good in your own end. [Idaho] is a really good team off the rush and if we were a little lazy tonight in our back-check there’s probably a good chance they would have scored a bunch of goals as a result.”
“We made a mistake off the opening face-off. A defenseman made the wrong call and it’s one of those system things. We battled back as a group from it and then obviously we made a mistake on their second goal. We cleared a puck up the middle of the ice which you never do. They managed to capitalize on both of those. I thought off the rush we really limited them and that, in turn, kept the shots down because we didn’t give them a lot of time and space to operate off of their rush. When you do that there’s going to be less time in your own end.”
RE: How important is it to play as well as you are at home?
THOMAS: “Super important. You need to be able to win games at home. It’s such an important factor, especially when you start talking playoffs. You’ve got to be a team … where teams feel it’s tough to go in there and win. It’s equally important to win on the road, but there’s a little more emphasis on making sure it’s a tough building to come in to play. I like the way we’re competing now and the level of speed we’re playing at.”
“You need to create chemistry. This year the chemistry fell into place quickly and guys are offensively really clicking. I don’t know if you can read into it anything more than that; it’s guys finding a little bit of a rhythm within lines and individually. Right now we have that and as a result it’s piling up the wins for us, especially at home. You want to be able to get off to that type of start, you need to, especially on your home ice. I’m happy that the guys are competing as hard as they are.”