By Jim den Hollander
MacDonald debut delayed
The newest local player to make their NCAA Division 3 debut has found it difficult to get on the ice as COVID restrictions have seen five straight games postponed for Jack MacDonald and his St. Michael’s College Purple Knights hockey team.
A graduate of Baraboo High School and a key player on the Baraboo/Portage Thunderbird squad, class of ‘18, MacDonald moved on to play 129 games over three seasons with the Seahawks Hockey Club in Cape Cod, MA, a member of the Eastern Hockey League, last season wearing the ‘C’ as team captain.
MacDonald collected 31 goals and 71 points with the Seahawks and moved on to St. Michael’s in September.
After an unofficial, exhibition match and a 3-0 loss against the SUNY Plattsburgh Cardinals Oct. 23 in Plattsburgh.
MacDonald hit the stats sheet with a two-minute minor penalty and was 3-of-10 in the faceoff dot in his first NCAA test.
Since that unofficial game, the Purple Knights have had five games postponed due to the COVID protocols: Oct. 29-30 against the SUNY Potsdam Bears, a conference game at Post against the Eagles in Waterbury, CT on Nov. 6 and two more road tests at Long Island University against the host Sharks.
Two more will be added as a pair of home conference tilts against the Assumption College Greyhounds have already been postponed this weekend.
St. Michael’s will now kick off the 2021-22 regular season next Friday at Cairns Arena in South Burlington with a Northeast-10 Conference match against the Franklin Pierce Ravens.
O’Connor nearly flawless in sophomore debut
After a successful run with the UW-River Falls Falcons Women’s hockey team in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) last season, Jordan O’Connor, finds herself a part of a solid tandem in goal this season with the Falcons who enter the regular season as the fourth-ranked team in the NCAA.
The Falcons have played and won four games so far, outscoring Lake Forest Foresters (twice), Augsburg Auggies and St. Mary’s University Huskies by a combined total of 21-5.
O’Connor went to the blue paint for the second game of the season and kicked out all but one of 17 shots faced to lead the Falcons past the Foresters by a 5-1 margin on Halloween.
The Falcons head into Stevens Point Friday for its first WIAC Conference contest against the host Pointers, then head home Saturday for another conference meeting against the Northland Lumberjills.
Tough opposition for Teske and Auggies
Julianna Teske also began her sophomore year in the Twin Cities with the Augsburg University Auggies, playing some tough opposition.
The team has hit the ice twice so far, taking the Falcons to overtime before surrendering a 5-4 decision in its first game, last Thursday (Nov. 4) at Ed Saugestad Rink and falling again to the UW-Eau Claire Blugolds 2-1, again on home ice.
As mentioned earlier, the Falcons enter the season as the fourth-ranked D3 team in the nation and the Blugolds ranked third in the same poll.
Teske has yet to hit the score sheet but did pick up some stats, serving a minor penalty in one of the games.
The Auggies will begin the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC), facing the Hamline Pipers at TRIA Arena Friday night with a rematch at Ed Saugestad Rink on Saturday.
Engel sidelined to start Lumberjills’ campaign
The area’s other Sophomore, Kaylee Engel, an all-WIAC and all-American honors student in her first year at Northland University in Ashland, WI underwent off-season surgery to fix a shoulder injury that had hampered her for some time. She will likely be out of the lineup until at least after Christmas.
The Lumberjills opened the season with back-to-back non-conference losses against the Bethel University Pilots at Blaine, MN Oct. 29-30, then dropped two more on home ice against the St. Norbert College Green Knights, both by 4-0 scores on Nov. 5-6.
On Thursday night (Nov. 11), the Lumberjills received a jolt against the nation’s third ranked NCAA Division 3 team, defeated 10-0 by the UW-Eau Claire Blugolds in its WIAC Conference opener in Eau Claire.
The road will stay rough as the Lumberjills move on to play the UW-River Falls Falcons Saturday in River Falls.