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Girls hockey: Irish net first win of Hoekstra era

Rosemount's Bailey Vitek chases the puck in front of the net early in last Tuesday's season-opening 7-4 loss to the Sabers.

A couple of early losses didn't concern first-year Rosemount girls hockey coach Josh Hoekstra - especially after his team bounced back with a victory over previously-unbeaten Apple Valley.

The Irish got in the win column with a 4-2 decision over the 4-0 Eagles in their South Suburban Conference opener Saturday at Apple Valley Sports Arena.

"I was so pleased with the win because we had a total team effort," Hoekstra said. "We had scoring from all three lines and once again our goaltending and defense were incredibly solid. As long as the girls keep working like this they will be successful."

After a scoreless opening 17 minutes, the Irish took control with three goals in the second period. Kristin Reuter finished with two goals and Amanda Comstock and Bailey Vitek each added a score.

Caitlin Dantzscher, who won 20 games in goal for the Irish last season, picked up her first win of the year.

Dantzscher had her hands full last Thursday against Minnetonka.

The defending Class 2A State champions put 40 shots on goal in a 5-2 non-conference win at Rosemount Ice Arena.

The Irish kept the game close over the first 17 minutes. Shania Anderson scored the game's first goal on a pass from Reuter 25 seconds in and Alex Malecha tallied a power play goal with an assist to Knoop to tie the score at 2-2 with 44 seconds left in the first.

Minnetonka responded by out-shooting Rosemount 15-3 in the second period and scoring three goals to take a 5-2 lead.

Dantzscher finished with 35 saves.

"Caitlin Dantzscher was fantastic in goal all night long," Hoekstra said. "She seemed incredibly focused and we will need that from her all year long. Although being outshot, we played very hard and I was so pleased with our effort.... I think we took a big step forward in that game because the girls really seemed to understand how necessary hard work is each and every shift."

The Irish opened the season last Tuesday with a 7-4 loss to Shakopee at Rosemount Community Center.

The Sabers surged to a 3-0 lead in the first period before the home team rallied thanks to second-period goals by Lauren Riley, Reuter and Kendra Goodrich.

The Sabers pulled back ahead 6-3 with a pair of early third-period goals before Anderson capped the scoring with 1:42 to go.

Dantzscher had 24 saves in the loss.

The Irish took on Prior Lake on Tuesday and are back in action Saturday when they host Centennial.