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Boys hockey: Cougars halt win streak

Rosemount couldn't complete its goal of a four-game winning streak, but head coach Brad Stepan was still pleased with his team's effort after Saturday's 3-2 loss to Lakeville South at Rosemount Community Center.

"Our kids played pretty hard," Stepan said. "We took an unnecessary penalty in the third period and that cost us a goal, but we're making progress. It was a good four-game stretch for us."

The Irish's three-game winning streak began after a 5-4 loss to Lakeville North on Jan. 5. At that point, Stepan and his team set the short-team goal of winning its next four games. The Irish proceeded to defeat Eastview, Apple Valley and Park of Cottage Grove, and start out with a 1-0 lead in the first period on Saturday.

"We had not had a lead on a good team all year before Lakeville South, so I think that is something that was a benefit to the kids," Stepan said.

Ryan Foley gave the home team that early advantage with a goal at the 8:42 mark. Lukas Gillett provided the assist.

The Cougars answered with a pair of goals during second period where they posted a 15-8 advantage in shots on goal. Tyler Frank tied the game back up at 2-2 with a tally at 15:25, with the assist going to Nick Swanson.

The score remained tied over the next 14-plus minutes of ice time before Lakeville South scored on the power play at 13:18 of the third. The Irish got just four shots on goal in the final period and couldn't retie the score.

Irish goaltender Austin Leslie finished with 24 saves.

The Irish opened the week by scoring a season-high seven goals in a 7-3 rout of Park of Cottage Grove.

The Wolfpack got on the board first 56 seconds into the game, but the home team responded with five unanswered goals over the next 17 minutes.

Luke Meade started the stretch with a short-handed goal 11:39 into the first. Zach Bichler followed with a goal to give the Irish the lead for good. Gillett and Weiand provided assists.

Gillett took over after that, scoring three straight goals in a span of less than four minutes in the second period. Meade, Andrew Glad, Foley and Bichler provided assists as the lead expanded to 5-1.

Gillett tacked on a fourth goal in the third period and Weiand capped off the scoring with a short-handed goal at 15:51.

Leslie got the start in goal and stopped 18 shots.

The Irish began another tough stretch of games Tuesday night at Burnsville. They host Eagan tonight and then take on Prior Lake Tuesday before traveling to Bloomington to face Kennedy next Saturday.

"We've got a four-game stretch where if we could somehow sneak out two wins it would be great, but we'd have to be happy with one,"?Stepan said. "We're missing four or five key guys because of the flu bug, so it's going to be tough for us."