Boys hockey: Irish keeping busyIllness and a busy schedule tested the Irish boys hockey team last week and went 1-2 playing three games in three days.
By: Brian Hall, Rosemount Town Pages
During holiday tournaments, Minnesota high school teams will often play games several days in a row.
The Rosemount boys hockey team got the unique opportunity to play games three straight days last week.
And next week is the holiday tournament for the Irish.
It wasn’t even tournament time as Rosemount had perhaps its busiest week of the year. A game against Bloomington Kennedy, postponed on Dec. 11 was rescheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 15, right between games against Tartan and Burnsville.
“It was a busy stretch because of the make-up, but it was the only availability we had to get it in,” Irish coach Scott Macho said. “It was actually a hard week. It was one of the most unbelievable things I’ve seen. We had the highest amount of players I’ve seen on one team out at the same time. It was a tough week.”
Several Rosemount players were struck with illness and missed one or more of the games. It was unfortunate timing for a week with three scheduled games.
The Irish (2-3, 1-2 South Suburban) lost 5-3 at home against Tartan and then won 4-0 at Bloomington Kennedy. The stretch concluded with a 6-0 loss on the road against No. 6 ranked Burnsville.
While the illnesses and busy schedule came at a bad time, Macho hopes Rosemount can benefit from last week’s turn of events.
“I’m actually happy we’re getting through the illness at the beginning of the year,” Macho said. “I’d rather take our lumps at the beginning than be fragile and weak at the end of the year. There were still players we have out (Monday) and we’re hoping can get back into things. It might be a while before they’re all the way back. They’ve been off the ice for a week and their legs aren’t there.
“I think it can be a good thing to get new guys into the lineup in this situation. There’s going to be injuries and illness and it’s nice to see these kids can step in the lineup and pick up the systems.”
The loss at Tartan was especially frustrating for the Irish.
Rosemount played the Titans close, even killing off all six Tartan power-plays.
Joe Kearney had two goals, with Mike Cossalter scoring the other. Andy Gustafson tallied two assists, while Lucas Haase had one assist.
Justin Frank made 31 saves in goal for the Irish.
“Against Tartan, I feel strongly that if we had a full lineup it was a game we could have walked away from with a win,” Macho said. “We got hit with the flu bug and it wiped us out. Everybody tired to start the week out.”
Rosemount recovered with the 4-0 win against Bloomington Kennedy, taking its first conference and road wins of the season.
Haase, Cossalter, Justin Hummelgard and Austin Anderson scored goals against the Eagles. Kearney, Max Fletcher, Josh Winter and Nick Swanson had assists.
Goaltender Hank Fairchild made 27 saves for his first shutout.
“We were still working with a depleted lineup, but we got away with a win,” Macho said. “Thursday it hit hardest and we were playing one of the best teams in the state of Minnesota. The guys never quite gave up. They kept grinding it out. A lot of those kids aren’t normally in the varsity lineup, so it was a good thing to get them the exposure.”
Fairchild made 55 saves against Burnsville.
“He really played well for us,” Macho said. ‘Our two captains (Cossalter and Gustafson) in there really did a good job of keeping the team together and positive. I’ve never seen the flu bug hit a team this hard.”
Macho hopes the team will be nearly out of the woods when they play in a tournament in Duluth next week. The Irish play Buffalo in the first round on Tuesday, Dec. 28 at 2:30 p.m.