Girls hockey: A new experience for Irish
Making the school's first state tournament appearance, the Rosemount girls hockey team was prepped and excited for its initial game last week against No. 2 Edina.
So was the rest of the community.
"The whole school came out to support us," senior Allison Micheletti said. "We had a lot of fan support. Waking up this morning a lot of the girls had messages on their phone from people saying, "Good luck,' and "Get a win.' We really had good support."
Of course, some inexperience might have shown in the Irish's 6-0 loss to Edina in the first round. Rosemount lost 3-2 against No. 3 seed and No. 4 ranked Lakeville South a day later in the consolation round.
Rosemount's first trip to St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center for the Class 2A state hockey tournament ended after just one game.
Edina made it to the finals, losing in the final minute to champion Minnetonka. The two first-round opponents offered a stark contrast in experience, something Irish coach Tracy Cassano certainly believes played a part in her team's short run at the "X."
"I definitely think that played a factor somewhat, as far as this is the first time our school's been here in its history," Cassano said. "They've been here, what is it, the third year in a row. I do think that played a factor. But even still, I think our kids were playing good hockey. It was 10-3 in shots at one time. We just couldn't get that puck to go in. Unfortunately, that's just the way it goes. It's hockey."
Shorthanded on experience, Rosemount also got the short-side of the bounces against Edina.
The excitement of their first state tournament game might have helped the Irish, who came out strong and pressured the second-ranked Hornets from the beginning. But the bounces went Edina's way with two goals in the first period.
The Irish outshot Edina 11-8 in the first, but Hornets goaltender Maddie Dahl made a few important saves and Rosemount had a couple of shots ring off the goal post.
"I do think that made a difference in the game," Cassano said of the missed scoring chances. "I put that as the moment that the game definitely changed for us. Not that the kids were down or anything, but I do think that had we buried those opportunities the game takes on a whole new look and we had lots of energy.
"We had a great crowd today and they would be fired up and into the game. It definitely was a game-changing moment for her to make those couple of saves or for us to get a couple of lucky bounces."
The Irish held a 20-15 advantage in shots through two periods. However, Edina capitalized when it counted for a 3-0 lead after two periods. And Rosemount's momentum seemed to fade early after not capitalizing on the scoring chances.
"Again, we just didn't get the breaks of scoring," Cassano said. "(Dahl) made some big saves and I really think that was the difference. I felt like after the first period, it was almost game over."
Rosemount goaltender Caitlin Dantzscher finished with 24 saves.
Micheletti also believes experience played a role.
"They've been here before and have experience," Micheletti said. "We have a lot of younger girls. We've never been here or been in this situation before. We might have been a little star struck by just the big ice, all the people out there."
After the letdown, it might have been tough to be ready to play Lakeville South in the consolation bracket.
The two teams met up twice during the regular season in South Suburban Conference play. The teams tied 4-4 in the first game and the Cougars won 2-1 in the second matchup.
Lakeville South scored the first two goals before Rosemount rallied.
Amanda Comstock scored a power-play goal in the first period and Micheletti added another power-play goal with 2:43 remaining in the second to tie the game at 2-2.
Rosemount had several other chances as well, but came up short and the Cougars scored the game-winner on a shorthanded goal late in the third.
Kelly and Kendra Goodrich each had two assists and Dantzscher made 32 saves.