This past week, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference announced its All-Rookie Team. Amongst the names listed were two players from the University of North Dakota. Of those two players was one Riese Gaber of Gilbert Plains, Manitoba.
The 21-year-old former MJHL star with the Dauphin Kings and Steinbach Pistons joined an elite freshman crew from the NCHC to see their performances earn All-Rookie honours. Alongside fellow Fighting Hawks teammate Jake Sanderson were two other forwards, one more defenceman and a goaltender from St. Cloud State, Denver, Minnesota-Duluth and Miami.
“It’s definitely nice to be acknowledged for my season,” Gaber told Game On shortly after receiving the accolade. “But right now there are a lot bigger things I need to focus on, as we are in the most important time of our season.”
Finishing third among NCHC rookies in goals (eight) and points (16), Gaber helped lead UND’s offensive drive that saw the team take home the Penrose Cup as NCHC champions, in advance of the NCAA Tournament. He helped the Fighting Hawks to a 7-2-1 start through the team’s first 10 games within the Omaha, Nebraska ‘pod’, while picking up seven goals in the process.
“I think staying dialed in and really baring down and leaving it all on the ice every night is very important,” Gaber said. “After this weekend it becomes single-elimination, so we have no room for error and need to bring our best every game.”
Gaber and his University of North Dakota teammates will now host Oxford, Ohio’s Miami University in the Frozen Face-off Quarterfinal on Friday, March 12. The game is set for a 7:30 PM central puck drop at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks.
2020-21 NCHC All-Rookie Team
F – Veeti Miettinen, St. Cloud State – 45 points (15 first-team votes) unanimous
F – Carter Savoie, Denver – 45 (15) unanimous
F – Riese Gaber, North Dakota – 37 (11)
D – Jake Sanderson, North Dakota – 38 (12)
D – Wyatt Kaiser, Minnesota Duluth – 32 (9)
G – Ludvig Persson, Miami – 45 (15) unanimous
*Voting was conducted by the eight head coaches at each institution and eight media members, one covering each member school. Coaches and media voted for six forwards, four defensemen and two goaltenders, awarding first-team votes for six players (three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender) and second-team votes for the other six selections. Three points were awarded for a first-team vote while one point was awarded for a second-team vote, with the most points at each position earning the honors. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players, making 15 first-place votes the maximum a player can receive.