Matt McIlvane and Ben Cooper Share the Playbook to a Championship Season

"We know that there is going to be some turbulence. We got guys ready for that early."

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In episode 218, we welcome two friends to the show: Matt McIlvane, newly named Head Coach of the AHL’s San Diego Gulls, and Ben Cooper, his former Assistant Coach with EC Red Bull Salzburg.

Fresh off a second consecutive win2day ICE Hockey League championship with Red Bull, the two joined to give us a behind the scenes look on their road to a repeat. Like most championship seasons, it featured its fair share of adversity.

After going up 3-1 in the final series against the Bolzano Foxes, Red Bull lost Game 5 in triple overtime, Game 6 by one goal and then found itself down 1-0 with 9 minutes to go in the 3rd of Game 7. Salzburg completed the incredible comeback and scored the winning goal with just a minute and a half left, defeating the Foxes 2-1.

For McIlvane and Cooper, the win boiled down to their team’s ability to stay composed, execute and trust the process.

“We know that there is going to be some turbulence. We got guys ready for that early…all we did was play close games and battle through injuries and short lineups,” said McIlvane. “This was all built in, reinforced, talked about on a weekly basis that we were preparing for Game 7, being down a goal with eight minutes left.”

Listen as they share the incredible story behind their final series comeback victory, why composure was a key element to overcoming adversity, and why championship teams need to get the locker room right.

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