Boys hockey: Spartans top rival Rockets, control destiny for home playoff game
Lorne Grosso has made plenty of trips out of town during his 48 seasons as Rochester Mayo boys hockey coach. So, if the Spartans don't have to hit the road for a Section 1AA quarterfinal game in two weeks, he'll be just fine.
Lorne Grosso has made plenty of trips out of town during his 48 seasons as Rochester Mayo boys hockey coach.
So, if the Spartans don't have to hit the road for a Section 1AA quarterfinal game in two weeks, he'll be just fine.
"I'm tired of taking bus rides," Grosso said with a laugh Thursday night, just minutes after Mayo beat rival Rochester John Marshall for a 10th consecutive time, 5-1 at Graham Arena I.
The victory puts Mayo in the, ahem, driver's seat for the fourth seed in the section playoffs and a first-round home game. The semifinals and championship are all played at the Rochester Recreation Center, so Mayo may not have to leave town the rest of the season.
The Spartans (11-4-0, 15-7-1) close their regular season with home games against Faribault next Thursday and Rochester Century on Feb. 14.
The matchup with Century is the key; if Mayo wins that game, it's a lock for the fourth seed. But Century played the Spartans to a one-goal game in their first meeting — a 4-3 Mayo victory on Jan. 6 — and could still put a wrinkle in Mayo's home-ice plans.
"We still have two tough games left," Grosso said. "Yeah, it's great to be home (for the playoffs), but we still have to play two tough teams."
The loss means JM (8-5-0, 11-11-0) will almost certainly be on the road for the opening round of the section playoffs, which begin Feb. 19. The Rockets close their regular season with conference games against Northfield on Tuesday and at Red Wing on Feb. 14.
"We have some things to work on," JM coach Jay Ness said. "We need to work on special teams. Those are critical in the playoffs. We have another level of intensity we need to get to."