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Girls hockey: Irish crack 2A rankings

Lauren Riley goes for the puck during a game against Cottage Grove.

Through three games this season, the Rosemount girls hockey team has handled a variety of situations about as well as it might have hoped.

The Irish opened the season with a close win against a section opponent, pulling out the victory after losing a third-period lead. Rosemount won its second game decisively.

Last week the Irish handled their first South Suburban Conference game of the season with equal success.

"I think that we're playing well in all areas," Rosemount coach Tracy Cassano said. "Offensively, we're putting pucks in the net. We've scored four, five and seven goals, so the offensive production is where we expect it to be, where it should be, with the weapons we have up front and defensemen that add into the offensive play. Defensively, (goaltender Caitlin Dantzscher) has been playing well."

After a 7-1 conference win against Bloomington Jefferson last week, the Irish are 3-0 and are now ranked No. 16 in Class 2A. Of course, Cassano knows it's still early in the season and tougher competition is around the corner.

"We're playing well early in the season, but we still have some areas we can continue to improve on," Cassano said. "This week will be a good test with three games in the week and we'll see some teams that are maybe more of a challenge than we've seen so far."

After a conference game against Prior Lake, Rosemount will play host to Breck tonight. The Irish travel to play Lakeville North on Saturday and will welcome Apple Valley on Tuesday to finish a stretch of four games in eight days.

The offense didn't have trouble in its first conference test.

Rachael Kelly and Amanda Comstock each had two goals and two assists in the win against Bloomington Jefferson.

The Irish led 3-0 after the first period on goals by Kelly, Kendra Goodrich and Comstock.

Allison Micheletti and Sarah Tollefson also scored. Taylor Sampson, Kristen Reuter and Tollefson tallied assists.

Dantzscher had 14 saves in goal.

Rosemount had a tough second period with several penalties, but finished strong in the third.

"It's nice to start with a conference win, no matter who you play," Cassano said. "The way we performed there, we took care of a team that I thought we should have beaten. I would like to have seen more of a consistent game, instead of being up and then a drop down. You like to see that even keel."