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Tanner Milliron to continue hockey career at UW-River Falls

Tanner Milliron is shown in action last season with the Wisconsin Wilderness.

Tanner Milliron's hockey travels have taken him to a new home.

Milliron will be joining the UW-River Falls men's hockey team this fall.

UW-River Falls coach Steve Freeman said that Milliron was brought in to serve as the Falcons' second goaltending option for the upcoming season. Freeman said Scott Lewan was the goalie in every game for the Falcons last season and he was badly overworked. Milliron was recruited to lighten Lewan's workload.

"We brought Tanner in because we thought he could play right away," Freeman said. "Tanner is a real quality character kid. He handles the puck so well and that adds another dimension to our attack."

Milliron was named the top goalie in the Superior International Junior Hockey League last winter, playing for the Wisconsin Wilderness. He led all SIJHL goalkeepers in multiple categories, including wins, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts. His average, save mark and shutout numbers were also the best of any goaltender in the entire 133-team Canadian Junior Hockey League. Milliron's standout play in net led the Wilderness to the SIJHL championship. He finished the season with a 30-3 record.

Milliron built a strong resume by playing junior hockey at several locales since graduating from New Richmond High School in 2009.

Milliron will be one of four former Middle Border Conference hockey players on the Falcon roster this fall.

Freeman said that if local players have the ability, he is happy to give them the opportunity.

Former NRHS winger Jake Calleja ranked sixth in scoring for the Falcons last season. That was Calleja's first year with the Falcons after playing two seasons at Bethel.

"Jake made the transition into our program quickly," Freeman said. "He's got great hands. He can make plays and finish around the net."

Somerset grad Jeff Burke is one of the Falcons' top defensemen. Burke has become an excellent two-way defender. At 6-4 and 213 pounds, Burke is one of the biggest Falcon players and he has always been a highly physical player. Freeman said Burke has learned to use his speed and skating ability to become a top offensive defenseman.

"He's really become a dominant force for us on the blue line," Freeman said. "He's really developed into a high-level defenseman."

Ryan Goodmanson, another of the Falcons' leading forwards, is a product of the Amery hockey program. Freeman said Goodmanson plays a highly physical style, despite being one of the smaller forwards on the team.

"He's a tremendous energy player," Freeman said. "He's a very effective team player."