Boys hockey: Close ones slip away
Last week’s offensive struggles have Rosemount boys hockey coach Brad Stepan contemplating making some adjustments heading into the final week of the regular season.
The Irish played three competitive games last week, but came away with losses in all three as they produced just six goals. Add a shutout loss to Eagan two weeks ago and the team has just six goals over the course of its four-game losing streak.
“The kids are working hard, we’re just not scoring enough goals right now to win any games. We’re going to try to switch up the lines a little bit and make some changes here,” Stepan said. “We need to create more chances and our offense is not doing that right now.”
In Saturday’s home game against Bloomington Kennedy, Rosemount put just 15 shots on net over the final two periods and overtime after putting up 10 in the first. Kennedy scored the game-winner at the 7:02 mark of overtime to earn the 3-2 victory.
“We just had a really bad turnover at the end and it ended up costing us the game,” Stepan said.
Ryan Foley got the Irish on the board in the first period, scoring on assists from Jake Simonet and Luke Hedtke. Kennedy scored on the power play in the second period to take a 2-1 lead into the third, but Charlie Monn found the net at the 12:40 mark to tie the score. Luke Gillett and Zach Bichler assisted.
Rosemount goaltender Tom Fraune stopped a barrage of 15 Kennedy shots in the third period to force overtime and finished with 35 saves.
“Defensively we’ve been playing pretty well and the goaltending has been pretty solid,” Stepan said. “Offense has been the issue right now. We’re not getting it done there.”
Last Thursday the Irish skated with a Hudson (Wis.) team that entered with a 15-1-2 record and a No. 2 ranking in the state of Wisconsin, but once again ended up on the wrong side of a tightly-contested 4-3 final.
“We played a really good game against Hudson,” Stepan said. “It was good for our kids to be involved in a physical game like that. They scored late and we just couldn’t bury one at the end.”
The Irish managed just one shot on goal in the first period and Hudson took advantage, jumping out to a 2-0 lead. A man advantage finally got the offense going in the second as Foley netted a power-play goal to cut the deficit in half. Gillett and Andy Glad provided assists.
Monn added another power-play goal in the third and Tyler Frank scored, but Hudson added two goals of its own on its only two shots of the period. Foley assisted on both of Rosemount’s third-period scores.
The Irish (7-13-1) close out the regular season with three straight road games. They travel to Apple Valley to take on Eastview Saturday, and then go to Woodbury and Bloomington Jefferson next week.
“We’ve got to finish hard here and work like heck to win two out of three and put ourselves in good position to be seeded where we want to be in the section,” Stepan said.