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Woodbury boys hockey: Royals edge Irish in regular-season finale, to face Park in playoffs

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Woodbury boys hockey: Royals edge Irish in regular-season finale, to face Park in playoffs
Woodbury Minnesota 8420 City Centre Drive 55125

The Woodbury Royals boys hockey team won 3-2 at home to Rosemount on Thursday, Feb. 13 at the Bielenberg Ice Arena for senior night.

“It was the first time in a couple years that the kids won on senior night,” Woodbury head coach Wes Bolin said. “The kids played really well in the second and third period.”

The Irish drew first blood with a goal in the opening period. The Royals (8-17, 4-14 Suburban East Conference) responded with two goals in the second, but Rosemount (7-16-2; 2-12-2 South Suburban) kept it close in the third with another goal.

Jared Markeson put the Royals on the board first with a power play goal at 8:39 on assists from Ian James and Sasha Choporov. Nick Sheak put the Royals ahead 2-1 only seconds later with a goal. Blake Swanson and Ryne Triemert assisted on the goal at 8:53.

“It was really a great comeback,” Bolin said.

The Royals extended their lead in the third period to 3-1 with a goal by Jack Glaeser on a power play with assists from Triemert and Mark Dornfeld at 2:15 into the final frame. The Irish scored late with 4:40 remaining, but the Royals held them off.

“They hung on well down the stretch, so I’m very proud of them,” Bolin said

The Royals out-shot the Irish 36-20. Austen Malcus earned the win in goal with 34 saves and a save percentage of .944. He finished the regular season with an overall record of 6-12 and a 3.34 goals against average along with .908 save percentage.

With the win, the Royals bounced back from a disappointing loss at Mounds View. The Royals had beaten the Mustangs 3-0 earlier in the season, but three goals would come far short a second time around on Monday, Feb. 10 at the Shoreview Ice Arena.

A four-goal second period by the Mustangs (9-14-2; 7-8-2 SEC) ruined a potential season sweep by the Royals. Choporov and Sheak had put the Royals in good position early with goals during the first period in the first 8:16 of the game. Ian James, Markeson and Triemert all assisted on the goals.

“We played well in the first period and then not so well in the second and the third,” Bolin said.

Mustang goal-scoring floodgates opened in the second period as the Mustangs put four even-strength goals in the net. A quick goal in the first 40 seconds of the period set the tone. Two late ones in the final 2:35 put the Royals behind 4-2 through the second. Bolin saw losing face-offs as key issue in their defensive let down.

“When our team doesn’t compete on face-offs, we don’t seem to do very well,” Bolin said. “It’s kind of a reflection on how we’re doing.”

Four goals turned into six unanswered total for the Mustangs during the third period as the Royals ended up in a 6-2 hole. Alec Wonsomos scored a goal at 15:38 for the Royals, assisted by Choporov and Markeson. Nonetheless, evaporated goal-scoring and giving up goals sunk the Royals’ chance of getting at least one sweep with a Suburban East Conference team this season.

Royals goalie Parker Balfany and Malcus split time in goal. Balfany had 12 saves, giving up 2 goals and save percentage of .857. Malcus had 15 saves and gave up four goals.

The Royals opens Section 3AA tournament play at home on Tuesday with rival Park (3-21-1, 1-17 SEC). The longtime foes split their regular season series.

—Matthew Davis