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Girls hockey: Irish top Park, Centennial in opening week

When the Rosemount girls hockey team lost a 3-1 third-period lead last week in the first game this season, Irish coach Tracy Cassano was bothered.

Cassano had seen leads slip away in past season, but she thought her team had learned how to handle the late advantages.

At one time, losing leads might have been a symptom of a young team. However, Cassano considers her squad to be experienced this season and beyond the occasional lapses seen by less mature teams. So, last week's letdown was frustrating.

"It was disappointing," Cassano said. "We had a 3-1 lead. We felt pretty good going into the third period and were hoping to walk out with a commanding win. Then all of a sudden we let them back into the game.

"That was disappointing because we've done that before in the past and I had hoped we had learned from those."

Maybe showing more experience than in the past, Rosemount recovered and opened the season with a 4-3 win last week at home against Park. Two nights later, the Irish maybe displayed more growth. With another 3-1 lead entering the third at Centennial, Rosemount stayed strong and ended with a 5-1 win.

"The fact we had back-to-back games with the same scenario and to see them respond the way they did has been good," Cassano said. "It's something when I felt a little more like we were considered a young team; we struggled to put teams away when we had leads. It's nice to see them come out and get the job done. That's what very good teams do."

The Irish didn't just keep the lead against Centennial, they extended it.

Sophomore Amanda Comstock opened the scoring in the second period and ended the night with a power-play goal in the third.

"It was nice to see Amanda Comstock score a couple goals," Cassano said. "She's considered a younger player still being new to a top two line kind of role. It was good to see her get two key goals for us."

Rachael Kelly also had two goals and finished with two assists. Taylor Sampson scored the other goal for the Irish.

Rosemount's Caitlin Dantzscher made 14 saves in goal as the Irish outshot Centennial 34-15.

In the opener against Park, Rosemount trailed just 50 seconds into the game. But the Irish responded in the beginning and the end.

Kendra Goodrich scored two goals. The sophomore scored just over 5 minutes into the first, tying the score 1-1, and then tallied the game-winner at 12:30 of the third after Centennial had tied the score 3-3.

In between, Allison Micheletti added her first goal of the season and ninth-grader Kristen Reuter scored her first varsity goal. Kelly and Sarah Tollefson had assists.

Heading into the contest, Cassano knew her team was ready for the first game of the season. However, conditioning might have played a part in the third-period lapse, at least this time.

"I definitely think so," Cassano said. "You work hard on conditioning in practice, but really until you get into game scenarios there is nothing like that. You can condition all you want, but until you get into game situations you just don't have those game legs. I think it played a factor. And regardless of being a young team or not, you still have those first-game jitters, anxiety, nerves and the anticipation builds up. Emotions are probably high, the nerves and excitement and it takes a toll."