After the emotions of ‘Senior Night’ the previous week, Kaylee Engal and the five other
Badger Lightning varsity seniors seemed able to relax and enjoy their final home game Tuesday at the Poppy Waterman Ice Arena.
It was nice for them to wrap up the home schedule with a win – their fifth of the season. For Engal its not the end, just the end of a chapter as her hockey career will continue in the fall when she attends Northland College in Ashland.
The move to college hockey helps Engal accomplish a goal she set for herself as a youngster, playing youth hockey with the Reedsburg Polars.
“Yeah, I started with the Polars,” said Engel. “That’s kind of when I really wanted to play (at college), because I watched the Badgers all the time, so I wanted to play college hockey when I was super young. I played Polars, played with the boys as much as I could. The boys I think pushed me the most to be the player I could be because I was the only female on the team a lot of years.
“Then I played with the girls, my eighth grade year (bantam) and continued on with them.”
Engel said she found some extra curricular hockey in the off season to help her raise her game a bit too.
“I played Wisconsin Junior Stars last year on a AAA team, so I went to a lot of Showcases and stuff. I started touring colleges and Northland was the one that stuck out the most.” Engel said she liked the small size of the Ashland school and the fact it offered the majors she was looking for as she hopes to one day to return to school as a physical education instructor.
The Northland Jills moved conferences this season, playing in the WIAC which means local friends and family won’t have too far to travel to see Engel in action.
With the college stuff behind her, Engel can now focus on wrapping up her final varsity season. The close-knit squad knows their chances are slim after a five-win season, but Engel said they will give it all they have.
“Coming off a big win and another game Friday that we should win, we’ll really have some good momentum going into the playoffs.”
An article on the post season matchups for all of the area varsity teams will be coming shortly on this website.