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Grosse Pointe North girls hockey shooting to finish the season strong

By: Mark Vest | Grosse Pointe Times | Published January 10, 2017

 Grosse Pointe North hockey player Rachel Stander takes part in a practice Jan. 9. Coach Joe Lucchese said North’s program has an “ongoing, upbeat tradition.”

Grosse Pointe North hockey player Rachel Stander takes part in a practice Jan. 9. Coach Joe Lucchese said North’s program has an “ongoing, upbeat tradition.”

Photo by Deb Jacques

Grosse Pointe North girls hockey coach Joe Lucchese said this is a rebuilding year for his young team, but he’s still setting the bar high.

Last season, the Norsemen beat Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett in the playoffs before eventually falling to Grosse Pointe South.

Lucchese, who noted that Liggett was the No. 1 seed and undefeated entering the playoffs, said the playoff win was a good building block for this season, and he would like to make an even longer playoff run in 2017.

“It would show how they’ve grown,” the coach said of his team. “It’s not where you start; it’s how you finish. You can’t get discouraged by losses; can’t get discouraged by bad bounces. … Work to get better every day, and as you do that, come the end of the season, we’re (going to) be better.”

At press time, North was 2-3 in the Michigan Metro Girls High School Hockey League and 2-8 overall.

Lucchese said the girls at North like to represent their school. The Norsemen don’t include names on their jerseys, because from Lucchese’s perspective, it’s about the logo on the front and not the name on the back.

He discussed the tradition that he thinks has been established at North.

“We have an ongoing, upbeat tradition,” Lucchese said. “Teams come to play us, they throw their best at (you). No matter who it is, you can’t take a game off.

“This year, it’s a little different. We’re rebuilding a bit and we’re young, so we’re struggling a little bit. But you overcome all that. … And once you get that confidence, it’s a whole different team.”

The leadership a program gets on a year-to-year basis can be a big part of maintaining a tradition. Seniors Lia DeCoste and Eve Feldman have been selected as this season’s team captains.

“They’re four-year players,” Lucchese said. “Neither one had started playing hockey before high school. They’ve grown tremendously.”

Lucchese said the state of North’s program is in great shape. Aside from having nearly 20 girls currently on the roster, he said more are coming next year.

As for the remainder of this season, Lucchese cited some reasons for his enthusiasm.

“I think we’ve improved quite a bit. … They’re working, and I think the progress will show,” he said.

North plays Livonia Ladywood at 4 p.m. Jan. 12 at the East Side Hockey Foundation, formerly known as Grosse Pointe Community Rink.