Girls hockey: Irish in the thick of section race12th-ranked Rosemount now stands at 9-1-1 overall
By the time the Rosemount girls hockey team plays Hastings this week in the Farmington tournament, the Irish will have received a good look at most of their section opponents.
The only two teams Rosemount will not have faced yet are Woodbury and Eastview. Woodbury is not on the Irish’s schedule, while South Suburban Conference games against the Lightning remain.
So, how does the competition shape up halfway through the season?
“Honestly, there are so many teams right there,” Rosemount coach Tracy Cassano said. “It’s kind of what it’s been in the past. You’ve got Eagan, Burnsville, Eastview, us, Hastings, Park all in the mix. The competition’s so good that I’ve been telling the kids all year, ‘You have to show up and compete against every team.’ Any team can beat anybody. As always, our focus is on us. We have to make sure we come to work every day in games and practices. We feel confident in our ability and we have to be ready to go.”
At the midpoint of the season, the Irish have done their part to stay in mix for conference titles and strong section seeding. Now ranked No. 12 in Class 2A, Rosemount beat Eagan, 4-3, and Bloomington Kennedy, 6-0, last week to improve to 9-1-1 overall and 6-1-1 in the South Suburban Conference.
Lakeville South leads the conference with a 7-1-1 mark. Lakeville North was 5-1 beginning the week and Eastview was 6-2.
Cassano is pleased with the Irish’s performance so far this season, and the team’s reaction in practice gives her optimism for the future.
“I think we’ve done really well up to this point,” she said. “This is the best record we’ve had at this point since I’ve been coach. So, record-wise we’ve been very strong. We still know what’s in us.
“What’s encouraging is the kids are playing well, but they know we can do even better. That’s the veteran, mature experience we have. They know they need to continue to work to improve. The Christmas break came at a good time. Every team gets to that point where you’re ready for a little break. It’s a long season and a couple days off is a good thing. Now we have to get our legs back under us and I’m confident they will.”
The line of Rachael Kelly, Taylor Sampson and Amanda Comstock might not have wanted to see the short holiday break.
The trio accounted for each of the Irish’s six goals against the Eagles.
Kelly had four goals and two assists. Sampson had two goals and three assists and Comstock assisted on two goals.
“They have been sharp,” Cassano said of the Kelly, Sampson and Comstock line. “That line has gotten on track and continued it on. Against Eagan they had a couple of pretty goals. They continue to work well together. They’re cycling it well and seeing each other out there.”
Goaltender Caitlin Dantzscher finished off her second shutout of the season with 12 saves against Bloomington Kennedy.
Rosemount outshot the Eagles 45-12.
Sampson, Kelly, Allison Micheletti and Sarah Tollefson tallied goals in the win against Eagan.
Micheletti and Sampson each had two assists. Hannah Esselman, Alison Warweg and Kendra Goodrich had assists and Dantzscher made 17 saves.
“Eagan is a good team and they always seem to work hard and find ways to win,” Cassano said. “They’re always at the top of the conference, so we felt it was a positive win.”