POSTGAME: Matt Thomas Quotes (12/5)
Thunder head coach Matt Thomas spoke to media after Wednesday night’s 1-0 win against the Las Vegas Wranglers.
RE: Happy with your decision to stay Reichard again in net?
THOMAS: “He was a difference maker. We didn’t play very well. We did a lot of good things defensively…especially around the net, I thought we cleared out a lot of second and third opportunities that they could have had, but Reichard was the difference. He deserved to be the first star—player of the game in everyone’s minds.
You’re always looking for your goalies to be phenomenal. We all know it takes a phenomenal goaltender to win a game, win championships, to be a first place team. Our goaltenders have been good all year, they’ve given us chances every night. Obviously we needed them to be perfect tonight for us because of the way we played, and he was. It’s always nice when your goaltender ends up being the difference.”
RE: At what point did you know it was going to come down to that he was going to need to throw a shut out?
THOMAS: “The whole second period I started thinking that. I thought we came out and we were a much better team than [Vegas] in the first 18 minutes, and all of a sudden we got a little sloppy. I think the big thing about us is we didn’t play with a ton of urgency tonight, especially offensively. I think defensively we did at times but we were just trying to make too many plays with the puck, especially coming out of our end. We felt like everything needed to be a tape-to-tape pass, everything needed to spring a guy an opportunity. The guys battled. They supported [Reichard] as much as possible. It took one goal to win a hockey game, which you don’t get to see those too often. I thought we were much better in the third period after about the 16 minute mark to the finish. I thought we really picked up our pace and we played with that urgency you need to win.”
RE: Reichard has put on a show for you the past two games. Has this earned him more starts?
THOMAS: “I think he realized he wasn’t taking advantages of the opportunities he’s had at some points earlier. This was an opportunity for him to come in when we were looking for a goalie to step up—Reichs did last night and tonight he followed it up with an even better performance. Going forward, we’re a team. It’s not about one goalie, it’s about both those guys. I’m not going to sit here and say I won’t go back with Cody Reichard because he certainly deserves the opportunity, but it’s really important for us to be a good team…it’s about our team, and we’ll make decisions on what benefits the team and gives them a chance to win, but also gives us the chance to be a better team each and every night we go out. It’s definitely a tough decision for me because I want to give [Tyler Bunz] the opportunity to go in and do what Cody Reichard did. I think he’s more than capable of doing it, but it’s tough not to reward somebody that plays as well as Reichs.”