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Girls hockey: One and done

If you believe sports clichés, beating a team three times in one season is a tough thing to do.

Beating a team four times in one season, then, must be even more difficult. That's the challenge the Rosemount girls hockey team faced in the opening round of the Section 3AA tournament. Playing an Apple Valley team they had already swept in South Suburban Conference play and knocked from the winner's bracket in the Louis Schmitz Holiday Classic, the Irish came out on the short end of a back-and-forth 4-3 final last Wednesday at Apple Valley Sports Arena.

The Eagles, who trailed twice before scoring three unanswered goals from 4:55 of the second to 2:59 of the third, outshot the Irish, 42-28.

"The difference was the fact that they capitalized on their opportunities," Rosemount coach Josh Hoekstra said. "As all the other games were close, this game was no exception. In section hockey it usually comes down to bounces.... This was an incredibly tight game that could have gone either way."

The Irish (8-14-4) grabbed their first lead when Shaniah Anderson scored unassisted 1:14 into the game. Apple Valley responded less than three minutes later and the first period ended in a 1-1 deadlock.

The visitors went ahead for the final time thanks to Kristen Rueter's power-play goal (assists to Anderson and Kendra Goodrich) early in the second. The Eagles once again tied the score less than a minute later, and netted a power-play goal of their own to make it 3-2 heading into the third.

It was 4-2 by the time Rueter scored her second goal (assist to Anderson and Goodrich) with less than two minutes remaining.

Rosemount goaltender Caitlin Dantzscher stopped 38 shots in the loss. Dantzscher, Lauren Riley, Taylor Sampson and Bailey Vitek were the four seniors who played their final games for the Irish. The group helped the program reach the state tournament for the first time ever last season.

"I am proud of our senior class," Hoekstra said. "They were great to work with on the hockey rink and more importantly they are great people. We will miss them dearly."