Growth is key for Irondale/St. Anthony boys hockey

With eight sophomores seeing significant varsity time a year ago, the Irondale/St. Anthony Village boys hockey team took its lumps. The Knights won only three games last season, but head coach Adam Schmidt is expecting that experience work in his team's favor soon.

"We had some growing pains last year, but I think it will pay dividends in the long run," said Schmidt, who is in his fourth year as head coach of the Knights.

Irondale's victories last year came against Winona, St. Paul Johnson and Robbinsdale Cooper and it also tied Mound Westonka and Chaska.

Schmidt likes the nucleus that returns from that team. It includes 11 returning letterwinners. Among them are junior forwards Louie Meysembourg, Tanner LaMotte, Jake Fuhr, Matt LaPorte and Robert Gabler. Other top players for the Knights include senior forward Marty O'Connell, senior defensemen Dominic Mauricio and Will White and goaltenders Aaron Steiner (senior), Drew Schenkenberg (junior) and David Mulligan (junior).

There is only one sophomore on the roster this year and that is Jack Moore.

"Our expectations are to compete each night," Schmidt said. "We need to take a huge step forward from last year."

The goaltending situation could be interesting as Schmidt described Steiner, Schenkenberg and Mulligan as "capable." He expects all three to contend for playing time throughout the season.

The biggest key for Irondale is to apply what it learned last year to the appropriate situations this season.

"All of our young players are a year older, a little bigger, a little stronger and a little quicker," Schmidt said. "They also have much more confidence and are more mature."

The Knights get their first look at what that all means on Saturday when they open the season at North St. Paul. The Polars beat Irondale 10-2 in game three of the season last year so this game could be a good measuring stick.

The schedule really gets going next week as Irondale is in action three times, including at Mounds View on Dec 2. The Knights then open play in their new conference, the Northwest Suburban, on Dec. 4 at home against Anoka. They also play at Osseo on Dec. 6.

"We are in the Northwest Suburban Conference, which is very tough," Schmidt said. "It is a deep conference, so we will have to be prepared every game. It should be a fun challenge for our program."

Elk River is the highest-ranked team from the Northwest Suburban. The Elks began the season ranked fifth in Class AA by Let's Play Hockey. Maple Grove also cracked the top 10 at No. 10, followed by Blaine at 12 and Centennial at 20. Totino-Grace was ranked ninth in Class A.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.


2014-15 Irondale High School boys hockey schedule

  • Nov. 29 at North St. Paul 7:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 2 at Mounds View 7:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 4 vs. Anoka 7:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 6 at Osseo 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 11 vs. Roseville 7:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 13 at Armstrong Cooper 3 p.m.
  • Dec. 20 vs. Totino-Grace 7:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 29 vs. Marshall at Schwan Cup 3 p.m.
  • Dec. 30 vs. TBA at Schwan Cup Time TBA
  • Dec. 31 vs. TBA at Schwan Cup Time TBA
  • Jan. 3 at Spring Lake Park 7:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 8 vs. Coon Rapids 7:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 10 vs. Osseo 7:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 15 at St. Louis Park 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 17 vs. Armstrong/Cooper 7:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 22 vs. Tartan 7:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 24 at Totino-Grace 3 p.m.
  • Jan. 27 vs. Blaine 7:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 29 vs. Spring Lake Park 7:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 31 at Coon Rapids 7:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 3 at Centennial 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 7 at Elk River 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 9 vs. Andover 7:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 12 at Champlin Park 7:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 14 vs. Maple Grove 7:30 p.m.

 

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