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Girls hockey: Stiff competition

Alex Malecha maneuvers the puck down the ice.

A pair of ranked opponents made for a challenging week for the Rosemount girls hockey team.

The Irish fell 7-3 at home against 13th-ranked (Class 2A) Lakeville North last Tuesday, then saw a 4-1 lead disappear in a 5-4 overtime loss at second-ranked (Class 1A) Breck last Thursday.

"We had two tough games last week," Rosemount coach Josh Hoekstra said. "What impressed me most about Lakeville North was not only their talent, but their work ethic. They just kept coming and coming. They were relentless. That is how it is done."

Breck proved just as relentless two nights later, scoring three third-period goals to rally for its sixth straight victory. The Mustangs' previous three wins came against fourth-ranked South St. Paul (3-2), third-ranked Edina (3-0) and second-ranked Benilde-St. Margaret's (4-3).

"There is a ton of pride within that program and they were not going to go quietly," Hoekstra said. "Hopefully we learned a lesson that two periods of hard work doesn't guarantee you anything. It is imperative that when you have a team down you don't let up for a second."

The Irish (2-4-1) built their lead against Breck thanks to the strong play of the first line of Shania Anderson, Taylor Sampson and Amanda Comstock. Sampson opened the scoring on a pass from Anderson 3:35 into the first, then Anderson scored two goals of her own (assists from Sampson and Kendra Goodrich) to make it 3-0 in favor of the visitors after a period.

Breck got on the board with a power-play goal in the second, but Comstock scored a goal of her own at the 15:38 mark to make it 4-1 Irish.

Lauren Toper filled in for the injured Caitlin Dantzscher in goal and stopped 32 of 37 Breck shots.

Toper kept last Tuesday's game against Lakeville North closer than it should have been by stopping a career-high 48 shots.

The Irish fell behind 3-0 before Anderson scored a power-play goal (assists to Goodrich and Riley) at 4:45 of the second period. Comstock added a power-play goal early in the third and Abbey Knoop capped the scoring with a goal at 14:52.

The Irish were back in action Tuesday night when they hosted Blooming ton Kennedy. The team is back home Saturday at 3 p.m. when it takes on Burnsville.