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Grosse Pointe Woods

January 16, 2013

Grosse Pointe North girls hockey shoots for the top

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Grosse Pointe North senior Julia Henderson controls the puck during a game against Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood. North is hoping to make a return trip to the state finals.

As far as Grosse Pointe North girls hockey coach Joe Lucchese is concerned, the goal for this year’s team is a clear one: a state championship.

A state-title game is not unfamiliar territory for the Norsemen, as that is exactly where they found themselves last year, eventually falling to Grosse Pointe South.

Valuable lessons can sometimes come by way of defeat, and Lucchese is hoping his Norsemen can use last season’s loss to their advantage, should they have the opportunity to compete for a state championship again.

Lucchese asked his players what they learned from playing in last season’s title game.

“They said, ‘Because one of our players got hurt in the second or third period, we kind of became unglued.’ And I said, ‘Exactly.’ We have to learn to play through adversity. You got to be able to change with change. They hit the nail right on the head, and that’s what we’re working through this year.”

Although Lucchese said North has won two consecutive Division 1 Michigan Metro Girls High School Hockey League championships, he is more concerned with what it is going to take to be the last team standing, come the end of the season. And as much as he would like to turn that goal into a reality, Lucchese also understands there are teams out there capable of standing in the way.

“There’s some excellent teams,” he said. “Grosse Pointe South is always tough, and until you beat them, they’re still the best. Ann Arbor’s got an excellent team this year. (Bloomfield Hills) Cranbrook’s always tough. Port Huron is very tough. There’s quite a grind.”

If the Norsemen are able to lay claim to a state championship, it would be a program-first. In particular with nine seniors on this year’s squad, Lucchese would like to see his squad take a shot at making some new history for the program.

“I think, for the players, it’s huge,” he said. “Especially (the) nine seniors; they could do something no other team has done and kind of leave a legacy to the school. For me as a coach, it would just be an honor to see these girls accomplish that for their school.”

North sat at 6-1 overall at press time, including a 3-1 win over Cranbrook-Kingswood Jan. 9. The team’s lone loss came to South, which was still undefeated at press time, by a 6-1 margin.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.