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Boys hockey: Irish face tough road in league

Rosemount boys hockey coach Scott Macho has is fully aware of the conference standings.

Macho knows the reality of playing in one of the toughest conferences in the state in boys hockey. He's been coach long enough to see former Lake Conference teams make their mark in the state tournament. He sees many similarities when he looks at the new South Suburban Conference.

Macho only needs to look at Rosemount's recent schedule to see the Irish's own version of the state tournament.

While section alignment plays a big role, recent Rosemount opponents Lakeville North, Apple Valley, Burnsville, Lakeville South and Eagan all could be playing in the state tournament.

Rosemount lost 7-0 to No. 10 Eagan and 5-2 at home against Eastview last week.

"It's nice in the second half, we've got quite few home games. We're hoping to get a win here," Macho said. "It's tough when you're playing the top teams in the state of Minnesota. It gets tiring for the kids and for everyone involved. You look at the conference and you've got potentially three teams that could be in the state tournament."

Six of Rosemount's final nine games this season were scheduled home games. Yet the competition provides few relaxing moments.

The Irish (5-15, 2-11 South Suburban) host Bloomington Jefferson tonight in the first of five remaining games in the regular season. Four of the five are at the Rosemount Community Center.

"We've got home games and this is what we've been pushing for," Macho said. "In practice this week we've kept repeating it to the kids. We need to get a couple of wins and we're pushing to get a home playoff bid. And I think if we can end the season with a few more wins, we'll get it."

The final push is what makes Saturday's home loss to Eastview tougher.

Rosemount led 1-0 after the first period on a goal from Justin Hummelgard.

The Lightning scored twice to start the second period. Andy Gustafson scored for the Irish in the second, but Eastview ended up with a four-goal period and closed out the win with another in the third.

"We've played some really good teams the last few contests," Macho said. "We were actually kind of bummed about the Eastview game. We thought it was one of those games where we could have come out on top. We started well against them, and then had a few mistakes in the second period and we weren't able to come back in the third there."

Mike Cossalter and Matt Foley had assists for Rosemount.

Irish goaltender Hank Fairchild finished with 31 saves.