Girls Hockey: Playing well at the end
When the Rosemount girls hockey team was in the midst of a four-game losing streak, Irish coach Tracy Engstrom implored her team to bring a better, more consistent effort.
Engstrom knew the season was winding down, and the saying "playing your best at the end of the season" certainly didn't apply to the Irish at the time.
Then something clicked.
Rosemount beat Lakeville North, 4-3. It followed with a 3-1 win against Eden Prairie, the first time in several seasons the Irish had topped the Eagles. In the regular-season finale, Rosemount lost 4-3 at Burnsville, but Engstrom felt her squad played another solid game.
"We actually finished on a pretty good hot streak," Engstrom said. "The girls came out and decided to put forth the effort for the entire game."
With the strong finish, the Irish earned the No. 4 seed in the section playoffs and a home playoff game against fifth-seed Woodbury.
On Wednesday night, Rosemount kept the good feelings going with a 3-1 victory to advance to the second round.
"Just to have the game at home, I think it was a good milestone for this program and for these girls to get a home playoff game and come out and win it," Engstrom said. "They persevered through some rough patches. I told them, 'Congratulations, good teams need to do that. When you are struggling here and there, dig deep, grind it out and find a way to win.' They did that."
Sarah Tollefson opened the scoring in the first on assists from Allison Micheletti and Lauren Riley.
Rosemount made it a 2-0 game on a power-play goal from Micheletti.
After Woodbury made it a 2-1 game in the third, the Irish ended the scoring on an empty-net goal from Rachael Kelly. Desiree Goret earned the win in goal for Rosemount.
Against Eden Prairie, Rosemount trailed, 1-0, but the Irish scored three times in the third to pull away.
Allison Warweg tied the game on the power play. Micheletti scored the game winner, and Kelly added another empty-netter.
"That was pretty sweet," Engstrom said. "It was fun for everybody. We just stayed with them. Desiree made some great saves at key times to keep us in the game. It was a milestone marker for our program."
The Irish have had a few of those in the past couple of weeks.