Wisconsin Badgers intense power forward Ryan MacMurchy (STL) has been a key contributor to the team’s success this season with 25 points in 40 games. As one of the senior leaders on the team, he realizes that reaching the Frozen Four is only one step towards the ultimate goal of winning the national championship title.
Hockey’s Future spoke with MacMurchy after practice on Wednesday at the Bradley Center.
HF: Well you guys are here at the Frozen Four. How does it feel?
RM: It’s awesome, especially for us seniors because this is our last and only chance to play in it.
HF: You’ve been at Wisconsin since Coach Eaves has been here. Do you think that with the gradual growth and progress of the team each year under Mike Eaves’ tenure that you’re just two steps away from reaching the top of the so-called ‘mountain’?
RM: We view the process as climbing a mountain. We have two more games to win and we’re going up against some very good teams. They’re all here because they deserve to be here. We’ve all bought into Coach Eaves system. We lost some key seniors after last season but we stuck with our system. We bring a lot of competitiveness to the table and we’re a hard-working team. Those are things that Coach Eaves stresses to us.
HF: With you guys hosting the Frozen Four being and the fact that it’s practically in your backyard, not to mention the scores of Badger fans that are expected to be there, how does that make you guys feel?
RM: It’s awesome. We have the greatest fans. They come out and support us no matter what. They’re always there for us and we feed off of them. I think we have a bit of an advantage there but we also know that we have to go out there and play our game.
HF: Do you feel that there is also some added pressure to go along with that as well?
RM: Yeah, but none of us on the team have been here before so we’re really excited to be here. We play with lots of energy and we’re confident in ourselves.
HF: The team went through some adversity when Brian Elliott went down with an injury earlier in the year. Do you feel that that has made the team stronger and better?
RM: Yes. We knew that there were times in the year that we weren’t playing well. When Cons (Shane Connelly) came in, we weren’t playing our best. We started to play better in front of him and he filled in really well for Brian. Knowing that, I think it added to our confidence. After the game against Mankato State we had a team meeting and we decided that we wanted to get back to playing the way we did before Christmas. With Brian being the backbone of our team, we felt that we could do that.
HF: You ended up getting tossed out early in the game versus Bemidji State in the Midwest Regional semi-final. How did you feel after being tossed out so early? Were you nervous?
RM: Yeah, I was so nervous. I was biting my nails. I was angry but I was so glad that the guys won the game. The guys did such a great job of stepping up, playing well and winning the game.
HF: You guys had the marathon match against Cornell that you guys won. You obviously were really elated about the win but were you also relieved that it was finally over as well?
RM: Yeah. We were in the locker room between overtimes and we were pretty relaxed. We talked about what we needed to do and what we had to do. We had a lot of confidence in Brian (Elliott). We knew that he had our back and we stuck to our game plan. We needed to find a way to get one by David McKee because he was unbelievable. The win was huge for the team and the program.
HF: One of the things that I notice about you is that you play with a lot of intensity rooted in passion. Would you say that that’s a pretty good description of the way you play?
RM: Yeah. I’m a very intense and very passionate person. I think I’ve gotten that from Coach Eaves and the way he is as a coach. I play that way and that’s what I bring to each and every game that I play. I love to hit and drive hard to the net and everything that I do, I do with that intensity and passion.
HF: When you leave Wisconsin, what is the one thing that you want to be remembered for?
RM: I’d like to be remembered as a guy who worked hard, added some offensive touch and that Badgers fans can say they were glad to have on their team.
Copyright 2006 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.