Boys hockey: Irish hang with conference elite during three lossesCoach Macho pleased team never quit late in games
By: Brian Hall, Rosemount Town Pages
While the Rosemount boys hockey team was in the midst of losing each of its three games last week, Irish coach Scott Macho was reassured there is something different about his hockey team this season.
Rosemount lost 5-2 at Hopkins, 3-0 at Eastview and 6-2 at Bloomington Jefferson, but Macho witnessed more signs of the Irish’s change in attitude.
Games that might have turned into blowouts in the past are being more tightly-contested against the better teams on Rosemount’s conference schedule.
“We talked about how it was the first real hiccup of the season,” Macho said after the three losses. “What’s good about this group of kids is they really do recognize and know when they didn’t put forth the effort they can. I think in the past, and nothing against some of those teams in the past, but I think we’d get to a certain point of no return and then we’d go through the motions.
“These guys never quit, which is something we are very, very proud of. They don’t quit. They are competing every single game. We just have to help them focus and prepare for every single period. There are times we start off hot and decide to take a break in the second period. Then we come back and compete in the third. Consistency is what we are looking for and reminding the kids of.”
Another aspect of the closer games against quality teams is a strong defense.
The Irish (4-8, 1-4 South Suburban) returned several key defenders this season and have rotated goaltenders Hank Fairchild and Justin Frank, rolling with the keeper with the most momentum.
“It’s exactly what we were looking for this season, healthy competition between the two goaltenders,” Macho said. “Hank started it off and has done well for us. He kept us in games, kept us around. And now Frank’s had a shot and is keeping us around in games. They are doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Up front, we need guys to get us a few more points.”
Frank had the goaltending duties against Bloomington Jefferson last week, making 45 saves. But the Irish were outshot 51-9.
Rosemount capitalized on its limited opportunities as Ryan Anderson and Trevor Kolden found the back of the net for goals. Anderson, Andy Gustafson, Joe Kearney, and Matt Foley had assists.
“The kids know they didn’t play as well as what they can,” Macho said. “We had little hiccups in the games. The Bloomington game, they did most of their scoring in about six minutes at the start of the game. Then we decided to play hard and compete as a group and it was a 2-2 hockey game after that. Take away the first six minutes and its 2-2- and I thought we played really hard and really well. It took a little while to get going.”
Frank made 37 saves against Eastview, but again the Irish were outshot by a sizeable mark. The Lightning outshot Rosemount 40-13.
Fairchild had his chance in net against Hopkins and made 28 saves.
Anderson and Josh Winter scored for the Irish. Gustafson, Justin Hummelgard, Connor Langfield and Nick Swanson had assists.