By Jim den Hollander
Two area hockey players will make their official NCAA D3 hockey debut tonight when the Northland Lumberjills make the trip to River Falls to play UW-River Falls Falcons.
Kaylee Engel, a freshman at Northlands is a product of Reedsburg Polars and Badger Lightning hockey programs locally and is the first area player in several years to play at the college level.
After a long delay, the Lumberjills along with the other four Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Conference (WIAC) teams begin their respective eight-game regular seasons tonight. There was one tune-up match played last week at UW-Superior last weekend, a 5-1 win for the Yellowjackets.
The Lumberjills will play home and away games against each of its four conference rivals and all five teams are slated to qualify for post season action.
Meanwhile, Jordan O’Connor who won 21 games in goal with the Sauk Prairie varsity Eagles last season could be in goal for the Falcons tonight. She is one of two freshman keepers on the team and there is also a junior goaltender. Who will be in goal is likely a game time decision.
Locals interested in watching the match can view it on this link — https://uwrfsports.com/watch/?Live=388&type=Live
Puck drop tonight is at 7:05 p.m. at Hunt Arena in River Falls.
The other WIAC opener tonight will see UW-Eau Claire Blugolds playing host to the Stevens Point Pointers at 7 p.m.
The Lumberjills and Falcons will return to Ashland for the return match on Friday, starting at 7 p.m. at Bay Area Civic Center.