By Jim den Hollander
Prairie du Sac native and former Sauk Prairie Eagles goaltender Jordan O’Connor has been nothing less than stellar this season with the River Falls Falcons Womens hockey team.
But on the Falcons, currently ranked fourth in the USCHO Division 3 Womens Hockey poll, that just makes her one-third of an awesome goaltending machine.
The Falcons mixed Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Conference (WIAC) conference and non-conference games in the past two weekends collecting four wins and one tough defeat against #3 ranked Eau Claire Blugolds.
O’Connor and the team’s other two goaltenders, senior Sami Miller, from Blaine, MN and sophomore Pistol Cowden from Amherst, WI and a former goaltender for the Wisconsin Valley Union WIAA team have all played a part in four shutouts in those five games, including three in a row.
The first WIAC match saw the Falcons hitting the road and collecting a 7-0 win against the host Stevens Point Pointers. Cowden stopped all 17 shots she faced to collect the goose egg on Nov. 12.
Callie Hoff, a senior from Hermantown, MN and Kora Torkelson, a senior from Thief River Falls, MN both fired a pair of goals for the Falcons with others added by Kiana Gilbraith, a senior from Fargo, ND; Maddie McCollins, a Maple Grove, MN junior and Alisen Carothers, a freshman from Buffalo, MN.
The following night, the Falcons returned home to Hunt Arena and O’Connor collected a nine-save shutout in an 8-0 win against the Northland Lumberjills.
Torkelson scored another pair along with Alex Hantge, a sophomore from Hutchinson, MN and Brooke Walters, a junior from Sartell, MN. Hoff and McCollins scored the other Falcons goals.
Miller played the next two games, collecting a 14-save shutout in a 6-0 non-conference win on home ice against the St. Scholastica Saints on Nov. 16, then facing the toughest test so far against the Blugolds.
Miller matched Stephanie Martin in the Eau Claire goal shot for shot until late in the second period when Emma Peterson scored her first of a pair for the home team.
In the non-conference win, Bailey Olson, a freshman from Willmar, MN scored twice with others for Hoff, McCollins, Hantge and Ellie Brice, a Freshman from St. Croix Falls, WI
The Falcons got back on track on Tuesday (Nov. 23) as Cowden returned for a second consecutive shutout in a 3-0 non-Conference win against the St. Olaf Oles.
Erin Olson, a senior from Lakeville, MN; Sophia Leong, a senior from Apple Valley, MN and Alyson Niebur, a senior from Isanti, MN fired the Falcons goals.
In all, the Falcons goaltenders have combined for six shutouts in eight games and an unreal three goals against in eight games so far this season.
The Falcons will play a set of five non-conference contests, all against MIAC opponents beginning Dec. 8 at St. Peter MN against Gustavus Adolphus.