By Jim den Hollander
The jump from varsity hockey to NCAA Division 3 College is generally considered a big one but Jordan O’Connor couldn’t have made it look much easier.
After helping the Sauk Prairie Eagles varsity hockey team to a 19-4-1 regular season and a berth in the Sectional semis, O’Connor had to wait a while, but collected a shutout in her first game with the UW-River Falls Women’s Hockey team, kicking out all 11 shots she faced in a 13-0 win against the Northland College Lumberjills on February 3, 2021.
O’Connor went on to play in four of the team’s eight regular season contests, posting a 3-1 record and allowing just five goals on 48 shots.
She took her game to a higher level in a short playoff run, playing in four of the team’s five games, leading the team to a two-game sweep of the UW-Steven’s Point Pointers and playing two of three games in a 2-1 edge in the Best of Three Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Championship series.
O’Connor posted another shutout and stopped 64 of 70 shots faced. In all, she played 526 minutes, posting a 1.27 Goals Against Average and a Save Percentage of .919.
Her play was clearly noticed as O’Connor was named to the WIAC all-Conference team.
The only downside to her first season was how compact it was. Due to the pandemic issues, the season was whittled down to a month-long regular season followed by playoffs.
This fall, O’Connor returns for her sophomore season this fall with the first test an exhibition game at Hunt Arena in River Falls against the visiting Augsburg Auggies on Oct. 23. The regular season is scheduled to start Oct. 30 at Lake Forest, Ill. against the Foresters. The first six games will be on the road including the WIAC season opener Nov. 12 at Stevens Point. The first home game will be the following night with the Northland Lumberjills paying a visit.
After making a glorious debut in 2020-21, O’Connor will be trying to lead the Falcons to another Conference title and with NCAA Championship tournaments returning this season, her aim will go even higher.