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Gaber lighting it up at UND


Riese Gaber has picked up right where he left off last season.
After leading the United States Hockey League with 34 goals last year, the Gilbert Plains product is off to a great start to his college hockey career.
Gaber is tied for the lead in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) with seven goals through his first 10 games with the University of North Dakota (UND) Fighting Hawks.
The freshman was recently named co-rookie of the week in the NCHC.
“I think just the opportunity that I’ve had. I’m playing with some really elite players and I know I just have to make the most of my opportunity. And, luckily, I’ve been doing that so far,” Gaber said of his early success.
Adjusting to the speed of the college game has been the biggest adjustment, Gaber said.
“The amount of time you have out there, the caliber of players. It’s tough. There’s some games you might not get as many puck touches. There’s not much room out there. But you kind of have to find other ways to be effective,” he said.
Gaber admits to being surprised to have this kind of success early on.
“I know what my job is. I’m supposed to score goals, so I think coming in, it’s a good feeling to have that success. But I knew nothing was going to come easy, so I think I’ve just got to keep working and, hopefully, that keeps coming,” he said.
Gaber’s hot start has helped UND to a 7-2-1 record, good for first place.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NCHC has been playing all its game in Omaha, NE. UND, which is ranked fourth in the nation, has two more games in Omaha and will play another 14 games after Jan. 1.
“We’ll get a decent season out of this,” Gaber said.
While Gaber has adjusted well to college hockey, attending classes again also required a bit of an adjustment.
“It’s been a little different. Obviously, it keeps you pretty busy. It’s a little bit different from junior. But I think just managing that workload of classes and hockey is really important. It’s been a big adjustment, but it’s going pretty well so far,” he said.
Classes, Gaber added, are going well. He finished his semester last week and will now have a few weeks off before returning to the classroom after Christmas.

Doug Zywina