Optimism high for Irondale boys hockey

The Irondale High School boys hockey team has averaged eight victories per season in Adam Schmidt's four years coaching the Knights but had only six over the last two seasons. Schmidt, who is back for his fifth season, isn't making any win-total predictions but he sounds very bullish on his team.

Irondale has a group of seniors that has taken its lumps and is complimented by a sophomore bunch ready to contribute right away. Throw in an experienced goaltender and the Knights might be as well-equipped as any of their recent teams.

"This should be the best team I've had in five years at Irondale," Schmidt said. "I really expect us to be in every game."

Irondale did a decent job of preventing blowouts last season and even went into the third period tied 11 times. The Knights won only two of those games and Schmidt knows his squad needs to learn how to put those types of games away.

"We need to learn to finish games," said Schmidt.

A large part of any success Irondale has this year is senior goaltender David Mulligan. He played about 70 percent the minutes last season.

"In my opinion, he's as good a goalie as there is in the state," Schmidt said. "He's awfully good. He bailed us out a lot last year and weíre very lucky to have him."

In front of Mulligan is a defensive unit led by some of those aforementioned sophomores. Nate Chamberlain played plenty last year as a freshman and is joined by fellow 10th graders Nick Ellingson and Erik Reiff.

"We have some really good sophomores coming in," said Schmidt. "It's a perfect situation, actually. They're not going to have to be thrown into roles they're not ready for."

On offense, the leaders are mostly seniors with Louie Meysembourg the team's top returning scorer. He is joined by Jake Fuhr and Tanner LaMotte and juniors Jack Moore and Victor Mattsson.

Mattsson is not actually a returning player but an exchange student from Sweden who will play with the Knights only this season. He brings size (six foot four, 240 pounds) and skill to table.

"He's really going to help our team," said Schmidt.

Irondale got its season off to a rip-roaring start with a 7-0 pasting of North St. Paul on Nov. 28. The Knights scored early and often as they opened the scoring 2:37 into the game.

Mattsson provided the biggest scoring surge as he recorded a hat trick in his first high school game. Mattsson scored once in each period, including a power-play tally midway through the third, and added an assist for a four-point game.

The Knights also got goals from Tanner Eskro, Ellingson, Ben Crandall and Fuhr. Matt LaPorte and Meysembourg tallied two assists each and adding single assists were Moore, Crandall, Justin Ohnstad, Chamberlain and Fuhr.

Irondale pumped 40 shots on North goaltender Malachy Zamacona and one on Ben Herman. Knights goalie David Mulligan stopped all 25 shots he saw to record the shutout.

The Knights go back at it with a pair of games this week. They open Northwest Suburban Conference play on Tuesday at Anoka and play their home opener on Saturday afternoon against Osseo.

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

2015-16 Irondale High School boys hockey schedule

Nov. 28    at North St. Paul    7:30 p.m.
Dec. 1    at Anoka    7 p.m.
Dec. 5    vs. Osseo    2:45 p.m.
Dec. 10    at Champlin Park    7:30 p.m.
Dec. 12    vs. Armstrong/Cooper    7:30 p.m.
Dec. 15    at Rogers    7 p.m.
Dec. 19    at Totino-Grace    3 p.m.
Dec. 22    at Spring Lake Park    7 p.m.
Dec. 28    at Roseau tournament    TBA
Dec. 29    at Roseau tournament    TBA
Dec. 30    at Roseau tournament    TBA
Jan. 2    at Tartan    3 p.m.
Jan. 7    at Coon Rapids    7:30 p.m.
Jan. 9    at Osseo    7 p.m.
Jan. 14    vs. Champlin Park    7:30 p.m.
Jan. 16    at Armstrong/Cooper    7 p.m.
Jan. 19    vs. Mounds View    7:30 p.m.
Jan. 23    vs. Totino-Grace    2:30 p.m.
Jan. 28    vs. Spring Lake Park    7:30 p.m.
Jan. 30    vs. Coon Rapids    7:30 p.m.
Feb. 4    at Blaine    7:30 p.m.
Feb. 6    Elk River    7:30 p.m.
Feb. 8    at Maple Grove    7 p.m.
Feb. 11    at Andover    7:30 p.m.
Feb. 13    vs. Centennial    7:30 p.m.


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