The Rosemount Irish boys' hockey team had their section run cut short on Saturday, Feb. 23, when they lost at home 4-2 to the No. 3-seed in Section 3AA Eagan Wildcats. The No. 2 Irish beat No. 7 Park in the first round of sections 8-2 on Thursday while the Wildcats moved past No. 6 Bloomington Jefferson 6-2 in the first round. It was thanks to a four-goal second period that Eagan took the advantage against Rosemount, who was unable to mount a comeback despite almost doubling the Wildcats shots for the game. The two teams had split their previous two matchups during the regular season. With the loss, Eagan advanced to the section championship game on Thursday, Feb. 28, against top-seeded St. Thomas Academy.
The Irish end their season with an overall record of 23-4 including the playoffs. They went 22-3 during the regular season and 16-2 in the South Suburban Conference on their way to the program's first SSC championship. Rosemount graduates just seven seniors this spring-Max Carter, Noah Berg, Patrick Hayes, Josh Klopp, Jackson Sabo, Tyler Linnerooth and Reid Nelson-and they return a young core that features five of this year's top six offensive producers from the regular season.
Bounced by rival Eagan
The second period was what sunk the Irish as the Wildcats scored four unanswered goals in the period, the last three coming in a one-minute span at the end of the period. Rosemount led 1-0 after the first period thanks to a goal from junior Connor Kenefick, assisted by sophomores Adam King and Luke Levandowski with less than three minutes left in the period.
Rosemont trailed 4-1 after the second period but were unable to mount any sort of comeback until the final minute of the game when Kenefick scored his second goal of the game with help from Jackson Sabo and Carter. The Irish outshot the Wildcats 41-22 but were 0-for-6 on the power play, which had been a strength of theirs during the regular season with a 22.8 power-play percentage.
The Irish beat the Wolfpack 8-2 after leading 5-1 through two periods. Sophomore Luke Levandowski and junior Connor Kenefick both had hat tricks for Rosemount. The Irish got out to a 2-0 lead after the first period with goals from Klopp-assisted by sophomore Broten Sabo and junior Garrett Horsager-and Levandowski with help from Kenefick and junior Mason Wheeler. Levandowski scored again toward the start of the second period, assisted by sophomore Adam King, before Park was able to get on the board. The Irish added two more goals from Levandowski (from junior Mason Campbell for the hat trick) and Kenefick (from Jackson Sabo) and led 5-1 after two periods.
After the Wolfpack scored two minutes into the third period, Rosemount rattled off three more goals to complete the 8-2 rout. Kenefick scored the first two with help from Levandowski, King and Wheeler to complete his hat trick and the third came from sophomore Jake Ratzlaff (assisted by sophomore Joel Carlson and junior Brady Weismiller).
Twelve different Irish players recorded a point during the game and junior goalie William Tollefson played a majority of the contest and racked up 19 saves on 21 Wolfpack shots. Senior goalie Reid Nelson came in during the last period to finish off the game.