Andy Welinski

On the difference between college and pro hockey
It’s definitely a big step. The amount of games, the repetitive schedule, you’re going multiple times a week. It’s definitely different, but it’s good because you’re resetting and every day is different, and it’s a challenge. It’s different but it’s fun.

On the San Jose series
They had a good game plan. They came in and they were on top of us, limited our speed which is something we’ve had great success with all year. I think that they were able to slow us down a little bit. I think that was a big step. We did well, we battled, but unfortunate couldn’t get a whole ton of offense there. That’s important this time of year.

On himself, Brian Cooper and Keaton Thompson’s increase in ice time
That’s pro hockey. Guys going up and down, and injuries, you got to be ready at all times. I think everybody played their own role, and obviously towards the end we got in a groove. The three of us played some pretty important minutes for the team and I think we handled it as a group well. To have a role like that as a young guy is obviously a big step. I think we did good and we enjoyed it.

On the lessons learned throughout the season
I think the footwork and speed of the game is important. It’s becoming a faster and faster game all the time and the NHL is the next step, obviously, from the American League. There is obviously room to improve and I think skating is a good way to make the game easier, so I think skating is an important part to work on.

On being proud of the team
Extremely proud. We touched on the young guys we had in the lineup and the only AHL/NHL combo left (in the playoffs) is important. So many guys that have been on this team have been in the National League and it was huge for us. We did well with the guys that we had and we competed every night to win.

On former Gulls succeeding in Anaheim
That’s fun to see. Like I said, it’s pro hockey. There are injuries and guys going up and down, so hopefully right place, right time. Those guys have had the opportunity and they’ve done really well up at the next level so it’s good to see so many of those guys move up like that.