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Boys hockey: Irish close week with split

Senior forward Nick Peterson brings the puck up the ice during a recent home game at the Rosemount Community Center.

The Rosemount boys hockey team’s struggles against the top half of the South Suburban Conference continued on Saturday.

Eagan came to Rosemount Community Center and shut out the Irish for the second time this season, skating away with a 5-0 victory. The loss dropped the Irish to 7-11-1 overall, with eight of those losses coming to the top five teams in the South Suburban — No. 3 Lakeville North, No. 5 Burnsville, Eastview, Prior Lake and Eagan.

Saturday’s game was scoreless after a period, but Eagan netted its first goal 29 seconds into the second and quickly scored again to go up 2-0. The Wildcats pulled away with two more goals in the first part of the third period.

“We didn’t show up. It was a disappointing effort,” Rosemount coach Brad Stepan said. “There was zero intensity and the kids were not ready to play. When that happens a good team is going to take advantage of it.”

The Irish generated just 20 shots on goal, and ended up being shut out for the second time this season. Rosemount goaltender Tom Fraune stopped 29 of Eagan’s 34 shots.

“We didn’t generate enough offense to beat a good team,” Stepan said. “They controlled play all night.”

It was a different story two days earlier at Graham Arena in Rochester. The Irish put 35 shots on Rochester Lourdes’ goaltender and rolled to a 4-1 road win.

“We played really well. They didn’t give Lourdes a chance and they went out and took care of business,” Stepan said. “The defense was very good and didn’t give up much of anything all night.”

That made for an easy night for goaltender Torin Anderson, who earned 16 saves in the win. He was given a lead to work at the 5:33 mark of the first period when Luke Gillett scored the game’s first goal (assists from Luke Hedtke and Ryan Foley).

The Irish added to their lead with three goals on 10 shots in the second period. Charlie Monn scored a pair, one at even strength and one on the power play, and Chad Hinkle found the net, as well. Gillett assisted on all three goals.

“Gillett had a very good night. We needed that,” Stepan said.

The Irish traveled to Prior Lake on Tuesday and are back home tonight against Hudson (Wis.). They close out the regular season with games against Kennedy, Eastview, Woodbury and Bloomington Jefferson. Stepan figures his team could wind up anywhere from the fifth to the seventh or eighth seed in the section tournament, depending how it performs over the next two weeks.

“Right now we’re probably looking No. 6 in the face, but if we play well we could get the No. 5 seed, which would be huge for this group,” he said. “This is a huge week for us.”