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Girls hockey: Upset bid falls short against Eagan

Rosemount gave 15th-ranked Eagan a serious scare in the Section 3AA tournament quarterfinals last Wednesday at Eagan Civic Arena.

The Irish, seeded eighth in the nine-team section after an 8-17-1 regular season, had to beat Woodbury 5-4 in the section play-in game just to get another crack at an Eagan team they fell to 6-4 less than two weeks earlier.

The rematch with the Wildcats proved just as competitive. The Irish used three goals from their talented first line to build a 3-0 lead over the first 19 minutes, and still carried a 4-3 advantage as the clock ticked away on the final minutes of the third period. Eagan finally took the wind out of Rosemount's sails with a goal at 15:55, and needed just 35 seconds of overtime to end the upset bid and take its first lead in a 5-4 victory.

"I couldn't be more proud of their effort. They bought into our system and did all the little things we needed to do to win. They did it all for 99 percent of the game," Rosemount coach Josh Hoekstra said. "We got it down to a minute and they fired the puck at the net, we didn't get it out, they got a rebound and knocked it down.... They were a No. 1 team about to get knocked off and they came after us with everything they had. We were a little fatigued by that point, but mostly it was just a talented Eagan team with a lot of desperation."

The close game was no surprise to Hoekstra. Since scoring four straight goals late in the loss to Eagan Jan. 26, the Irish had defeated Prior Lake, Bloomington Kennedy and Woodbury for its first three-game winning streak of the season.

"The last two weeks of the season you had a group that was finally starting to jell. We had some ups and downs, but we were starting to come together at the right time," he said. "The unfortunate part was that we ended up having to play the No. 1 seed in a quarterfinal game, but we'd played them tough a week and a half earlier, so there wasn't a fear factor going in."

Senior Kristen Reuter started the scoring with a goal 12:13 into the first. Kendra Goodrich and Amanda Comstock assisted.

Less than a minute later, Reuter scored again on a feed from Goodrich to make it 2-0.

The Irish used a pair of power-play goals to keep the lead through the second. Alexandra Malecha scored on the advantage to make it 3-0, and then after a pair of Eagan goals made it a one-goal game, Reuter completed her hat trick with a power-play score at 10:01.

"We put Goodrich, Comstock and Reuter together the last two weeks and they have been on fire. They have been playing as well as any line in the state," Hoekstra said. "They can move the puck, finish and shoot hard. They capitalized on their chances and put us in position to win the game."

Lauren Topor played all 51:35 in goal for the Irish and stopped 29 Eagan shots.

Seniors Goodrich, Comstock, Hannah Esselman and Abbey Knoop all played their final games for the Irish.