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Hoogsteen sisters having a ball

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Dana Hoogsteen is no stranger to pressure situations.

In 2008, Hoogsteen was the backup goalie on the University of Manitoba Bisons women's hockey team during the CIS championship, but was called into duty for the bronze-medal game when starter Stacey Corfield was injured.

"You get ready for it all year, and I hadn't played in awhile (about a month)," said Hoogsteen, 25. "You try to be ready, and at the time, I said 'well, whatever happens, happens.'"

It's that cool attitude that helped Hoogsteen and the Bisons knock off the two-time defending champion Alberta Pandas 4-2, and it will be called upon again as her Manitoba Rage do battle at the 2009 Canadian Ball Hockey Championships currently underway in Winnipeg.

"I'm actually in a very good position for a coach, because I have two No. 1 goalies," said coach Kevin Hughes. "With Dana and my other goalie, Delaney (Brian), it's not even an issue who I put in net."

Hoogsteen stood strong between the pipes in Wednesday's 1-1 tie with B.C., earning honours as Manitoba's player of the game. She said that trying to stop a light, bright orange ball instead of a heavy black puck has its own challenges.

"As a goalie you have to use your feet a lot, you can't slide," said Dana. "The ball moves in the air, so it's harder to be able to see it."

In addition to providing some summer training, the tournament also affords Hoogsteen a special opportunity to play competitively with her sister, Lindsey. It had been 16 years since Dana and her twin, Shannon, had been on a team with their older sister.

"It's been a long time since all three of us were on the same team," said Dana. "We haven't played together since peewee."

"It's kinda neat to be able to play together," added Lindsey, 28. "We all started together.

"They went in different directions with the Bisons and I went to the women's league."

The three Hoogsteens aren't able to put their familial chemistry in action, as Shannon and Lindsey play on separate forward lines. Coach Hughes said that the sisters spend more than enough time together away from the rink, though.

"They hang around, they do everything together," said Hughes.

The Hoogsteens are part of the first women's provincial team to play at the national tournament, though the Rage considered competing in 2008.

"We thought 'we're hosting this year, let's just make our first year be this year,'" said Hughes. "Then we'll see exactly what can happen for Newfoundland next year if we have a good showing and go from there."

Even though the Rage are just rookies in ball hockey, Hughes expects the team to compete for gold.

The men's and women's finals take place Saturday at the MTS Centre, beginning with the women's bronze game at 10:00 a.m.

daniel.falloon@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 13, 2009 D4

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