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Boys hockey: Irish nearly pull off upset

The Rosemount boys hockey team gave top-seeded Cretin-Derham Hall all it could handle in last Thursday’s Section 3AA quarterfinals.

The Irish carried a 2-1 lead into the third period, but couldn’t hold off the Raiders in a season-ending 5-3 setback at Highland Arena in St. Paul.

“We took it to them for almost two periods. I couldn’t be more proud of this group of kids,” Rosemount coach Brad Stepan said. “They gave this coaching staff all they had for 51 minutes.”

Rosemount (8-17-2) got outshot 15-9 in the first period, but came away with a 2-0 lead courtesy of goals by Justin Crowell and Nick Peterson.

“We got the puck behind their defensemen and took advantage. Neither were great goals, but we wanted the kids to get to the net and make things happen and they did that,” Stepan said.

The Raiders (17-7-3) got on the board a minute into the second period, and then tied the score at 2-2 5:29 into the third period. Two minutes later, they capitalized on a man advantage and netted the only power-play goal of the game to take a 3-2 lead.

“We told our kids not to go into a shell, but make sure we were taking care of things in our own end. We did a good job of not giving up too many good chances in the first two periods,” Stepan said. “Then we got into some penalty trouble and they capitalized.”

Stepan pulled Tom Fraune out of the goal in the closing minutes and the Raiders ended up scoring two empty-netters. Nick Peterson’s goal on assists from Andy Glad and Tyler Frank briefly pulled the Irish back within a goal with 23 seconds to go, but Cretin-Derham Hall scored again seven seconds later.

The Raiders went on to fall to Eagan two nights later in the semifinals.

The loss ended the prep careers of eight Rosemount seniors — Peterson, Crowell, Glad, Fraune, Torin Anderson, Tyler Frank, Zach Bichler and Luke Hedtke.

“We were really young this year. We dressed nine sophomores at times. Our senior leadership was awesome all year and they did a great job of passing the torch to the juniors and sophomores,” Stepan said. “I think it was a good learning experience for a young team and something we can build on for next year.”