The Rosemount Irish boys' hockey team continues to win and win often. After going on a 12-game winning streak from the start of December to the middle of August (which, while unconfirmed, sounds like the longest in team history), the Irish have won three of their last five. The two losses in that span are nothing to sneeze at, as one came at Eastview, who is tied with Rosemount atop the South Suburban Conference, and the second on the road at Lakeville South who is just a point behind Rosemount and Eastview in the standings. Rosemount is 16-4 overall and 11-3 in the SSC.
An incredible season so far
The Irish have been clicking in all facets of the game, but especially on defense.
"Our goaltending has been superb with Ben Garrity, I think our defensemen and forwards have all been playing well," head coach Ricky Saintey said. "We've had some lapses as well, which has been tough, but we're playing well and continue to do the right things."
They are allowing under two goals per game while scoring over three per game. Garrity is top-10 among goalkeepers in the state of Minnesota for wins (15), goals against average (1.59) and save percentage, of which he is second in the state, at just over 94 percent. He is also tied for second in shutouts on the season, of which he has five.
Meanwhile, the Irish have maintained a well-balanced offense with a variety of young skaters. They have two players (sophomore Connor Kenefick and junior Tyler Linnerooth) with over 10 goals apiece and four with over 20 points (Kenefick, Linnerooth, junior Jackson Sabo and senior Grant Horsager). Twelve total Irish have scored a goal so far this season for a team that will lose only seven seniors after this year.
Rosemount's success was catapulted by a 12-game winning streak that started in the middle of nonconference play and into the meat of the conference schedule. Saintey said that the record-break winning streak means a lot to the team and community.
"It means a great deal for the school, the community, the RAHA (Rosemount Area Hockey Association)," he said. "It's something pretty cool that these kids deserve, that they worked hard for. I give all the credit to these kids, they do exactly what they're asked, they're very coachable and they should continue to strive for more."
Looking ahead to sections
Saintey said that as the Irish head into the final few weeks before sections, his team needs to continue to do what they have been all season.
"I know we talk about our goaltending being very good, and if we're going to continue to be that good, we need to support it with some good defensive zone and continue to strive to be better there," he said. "And then obviously continue to find some goal scoring. We need to continue to find more and more every night we come to the rink. If we do those two things I think we'll be just fine."
Rosemount has just five games left before the end of the regular season. Looking ahead to sections, the Irish are in section 3AA with a mix of SSC and non-SSC opponents; Apple Valley, Bloomington Jefferson, Burnsville, Eagan, East Ridge, Eastview, Park and St. Thomas Academy.
St. Thomas Academy is currently ranked second in class AA and are the presumptive top-seed in the section as of right now. According to Minnesota-Scores.com's QRF rankings, Eastview and Rosemount are separated by just two spots, though the Irish are about seven points behind the Lightning. Those two teams seem to be vying for the second and third seeds on their own as the next closest is Eagan, who is almost 20 points behind Rosemount. However, the Irish have lost twice to the Lightning so far this season.
Rosemount traveled to Apple Valley on Thursday, Feb. 8, and then is on the road at Eagan on Saturday, Feb. 10.