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John Hackworth on finishing the regular season strong

By LouCity, 10/13/18, 11:30PM EDT

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On ending the season with a win: 
“That’s what we wanted to do. We wanted to end the season on a positive note. Continue to try to keep a little bit of the momentum going. And honestly, we wanted to improve on our last performance. A little bit of a strange game but I’m happy with the team and the results and the way we try to play. A little bit of an odd game but can’t complain about three points. The crowd tonight was fantastic so looking forward to next game.” 

On his thoughts on the game’s aggression from both sides: 
“Yeah, but it’s a rivalry too so these games end up being a little more chippy, a little more physical. And credit to the players. I don’t think the players lost their head. There were some interesting decisions that went both ways or both teams. Really hard though, for players and coaches, to try to figure out what is going to happen next. I’m being a little cagey and I’ll leave it at that.” 

On Brian Ownby and if coach needed to see his performance before the playoffs: 
“It’s not that I needed to see it, but I wanted to get him to a position where he was one hundred percent, where he is comfortable, where he is dangerous. So I think from a fitness standpoint, he is there one hundred percent. I guess when he scores the first goal in the playoffs or when he gets that first assist, then we can say he’s back all the way. But really happy for him.” 

On if the whole performance was what he wanted to see: 
“Yeah, absolutely. We get a shutout. We get a victory. We certainly created a ton of chances and felt like we should’ve scored a couple more to be fair. But, it was a great performance and any time you can play a rival like that – and they’re a very good team – keep them off the scoreboard and do what you have to do to get a victory. It’s what we needed.” 

On not knowing at the moment who the club will host in the first round of the playoffs: 
“I don’t think so. This is now a win or go home. So we’re just trying to win every game. It’s not about style, it’s not about how we play. It’s strictly to just win. And those guys in the locker room know that better than anybody in this league. They’re defending champions and they’re playing like it. So hopefully any team coming here will have to understand that and deal with us.” 

On if having a healthy roster gives the club momentum heading into the playoffs: 
“Yeah, it makes my job hard a little bit. Our staff has some tough decisions to make going forward because we have literally everybody healthy and ready. I hope Speedy [Devon Williams] and Frano [Shaun Francis] come back from international duty and are ready to go. But in that locker room right now, everyone is one hundred percent healthy.” 

On getting Magnus Rasmussen back in the lineup: 
“Yeah, it’s so important. Like Brian [Ownby], I don’t think he’s likely at his best but just getting him minutes was so important before we go into that critical phase of the playoffs. And hopefully we can get him stronger and more prepared and if we call upon him, he’s ready to do it. I was joking with him all week that I’d never seen him play live. And probably not true because I did see him play live when I was just a fan a couple years ago. The reality is I’d seen him in training a lot and looking forward to seeing him on the field and in that purple.” 

On the reaction to Magnus Rasmussen nearly scoring: 
“Our whole bench was pretty excited when that happened so I think it would’ve erupted if that had gone in.” 

On the last time he had coached a team and was one hundred percent healthy heading into the playoffs: 
“To get to the end of the season, I would credit our medical staff and our staff in general. We’ve managed guys that were hurt and brought them back at the appropriate pace. Guys have stayed healthy through a tough stretch – a really tough stretch. So full credit to the medical staff. They’ve done a wonderful job and now we have the privilege of having 23 guys ready to go.”