Boys hockey: Macho says team is 'turning the corner'
Rosemount boys hockey coach Scott Macho doesn't hide the fact this season felt quite a bit different from past seasons.
The end results in regard to victories didn't change much for the Irish, but there was a distinct change in the atmosphere around the Rosemount program.
It was a transformation Macho hopes and expects will continue.
"I think it was a good season," Macho said. "I think it was the start of the program turning the corner. The kids did a good job of representing the school. They really kind of changed the feeling of the program from the previous couple of years. They never quit. They kept working hard. That was our thing all year long."
Rosemount finished the season with a 6-20 mark overall and finished 3-15 in the South Suburban Conference. But this season was about more than just wins and losses. An attitude change from the Irish was a welcome adjustment for Macho. It's got the returning players already talking about next season.
Juniors Ryan Anderson, Andy Gustafson and Trevor Kolden were named captains for next season.
"They saw how the program has progressed and want to keep it moving forward," Macho said. "They are already talking about how they are excited for the spring, summer and the start of next season already."
Anderson won the team's rookie of the year award after leading the team in scoring. The forward finished with eight goals and seven assists. Gustafson had two goals and a team-high 12 assists. Kolden had four goals and three assists, coming on later in the season.
"They were some of our top point-getters," Macho said. "It's nice to have all of those kids returning. The old adage is you win not because of your underclassmen, but because your upperclassmen are carrying you. It's nice to have a quality group like that returning."
The Irish featured 10 seniors this season including leading goal-scorer Mike Cossalter.
Cossalter finished with 10 goals, was named the team's most valuable player. He also won the Irish pride award and was the team's Hobey Baker representative.
"He was one of the best leaders on our team, for sure," Macho said. "He's one of the more mature captains I've had."
Senior Matt Foley was the team's most-improved award winner. Senior Lucas Haase was the outstanding academic award winner.
Senior Connor Langfield also finished with double-digit points, scoring three goals and passing out eight assists. Goaltenders Hank Fairchild and Justin Frank were seniors as well. Frank had an 88.6 percent save percentage. Fairchild saved 87.4 percent of the shots he faced.
"At our end of the year meeting, we talked with the goaltenders and told them it's a completely wide-open opportunity," Macho said. "With the kids currently in our program returning and our new kids coming in, we're going to have a healthy competition for a starting spot."
With only 10 seniors moving on, it means a large group of experienced players should be returning for the Irish. The key, as in recent seasons, will be finding scorers.
"We just haven't always had that natural, gifted scorer," Macho said. "We've had guys that can score, for sure. There is always one or two guys on teams in our conference that are naturally gifted scorers. I think as we keep moving forward we'll be gaining some of those kids in the future. Our returners will be that much stronger and wiser from the competition in our conference."
With a renewed outlook, Rosemount is putting its past behind it and is focused on the future.