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Boys hockey: Irish lose, but show signs of improvement

The final results didn't show it, but Rosemount head coach Scott Macho thinks his team began to make some progress last week.

The Irish started the week by letting a late lead slip away, thanks in part to an own goal that tied the game in the third period of a 4-3 overtime loss to Bloomington Jefferson Thursday at Rosemount Community Center. Back on the home ice less than 48 hours later, penalties proved costly as Prior Lake used a pair of power-play goals to pull away late in a 5-2 decision. Macho figures mistakes like defensive breakdowns and penalties are things his team can control and improve upon in the second half of the season.

"We are really playing better. We have to learn to be more disciplined with penalties and not make so many glaring mistakes.... We're happy with how the kids are jelling. It's baby steps to the end of the year," he said. "The big problem against Prior Lake was we had 19 minutes worth of penalties. I don't care who you're playing, whether it's a good team like Prior Lake or another team that's struggling. You're not going to win many games doing that."

Macho was especially pleased with the progress his team is making offensively. The Irish have scored 13 goals in their last four games after managing just four goals in the previous six games, all losses. Prior Lake jumped out to 2-0 lead with a power play early in the second on Saturday, but the Irish responded with goals by Austin Gunderson (assist to Austin Anderson) and Trevor Kolden (assists to Ryan Gould and Schyler Storer) to get back within 3-2 late in the second.

The Lakers finished with a 46-24 advantage in shots on goal. Irish goaltender kept the game in hand by stopping 41 shots.

Jefferson had a decided 50-26 edge in shots on Thursday, but the Irish kept pace thanks to early power play goals from Ryan Anderson (assists to Anthony Winters and Ted Schultz) and Winters. Andy Gustafson found the back of the net (assists to Ryan Anderson and Schultz) to give the Irish a 3-2 lead through two periods, but an own goal slipped past Fraune to even the score in the third.

Fraune finished with 46 saves in the loss.

The Irish (3-9) are back in action tonight when they travel to Lakeville North for a South Suburban Conference game. They return home to face Apple Valley Saturday night.