Early on in the UND hockey team’s 2023-24 season, there has been a recurring theme. A certain player’s name keeps popping up. Captain Riese Gaber. Yes, the season is young; however, the senior has made an impact on the ice as well as off the ice. At first look, you can see that Gaber worked hard in the offseason, and it shows.
“Gained some weight this summer — that was big for my confidence to be harder and stronger and more physical,” Gaber said.
Gaber Approaches the 100-Point Club?
Gaber is closing in on an impressive milestone. For his collegiate career, Gaber is approaching 100 career points; in 104 games, he’s scored (48g-50a—98pts), and he’s also a plus-15. There is a good possibility that he could break 100 points this weekend. According to the Grand Forks Herald, only one player has reached the 100-point mark in the last seven seasons, Jordan Kawaguchi 2017-21, who scored (40g-86a—126) in 136 games.
Last weekend, the Gilbert Plains, Manitoba native, got off to a quick start, scoring (2g-1a–3pts) on four shots. On Saturday night, at the 6:31 mark of the second period, UND was clinging to a 1-0 lead. Gaber took a pass from Cameron Berg deep in the Wisconsin end and roofed the puck behind Badgers goalie Kyle McClellan to give the UND hockey team a two-goal lead. It was a highlight-reel goal worthy of a spot on ESPN’s Sports Center. Maybe not; however, Gaber’s goal was a beautiful dipsy-doodle Sega-style backhand top-shelf goal. That was all UND would need as they shut out the Badgers 2-0.
— North Dakota Hockey (@UNDmhockey) October 15, 2023
Gaber has been a leader on and off the ice this season and seems to be delivering in his role as team captain. Talking with a few new players during the hockey media day, he was one of the first to greet many of his new teammates when they arrived at UND. This didn’t go unnoticed.
“Yeah, it would have been Riese Gaber. He was on the turf (in the weight room) stretching, and he came up and introduced himself,” senior defenseman Garrett Pyke said. “To me, that went a long way. That shows the kind of leader he is. He is the leader of this team for a reason.”
“When I came here, it was Riese Gaber; we live together, too,” UND goalie Ludvig Persson said. “He took care of me when I got here. I live with him and (Jake) schmaltz, great roommates, great guys.”
“He was always a good leader, head coach Brad Berry said. “He was talking on the bench when things were going a little bit sideways, and (Wisconsin) got some opportunities. He calmed the bench down. He was talking to the guys and even to me, too. He’s starting to talk like a coach a little bit. That’s something that keeps coming and growing. He’s become a good leader.”
The Fighting Hawks early results seem to point to a good team culture and better attitude in the UND locker room. From the outside looking in, everyone appears to like each other. That could be attributed to the guy wearing the “C.”
“We’ve been here all summer together, and we have a really tight group,” Gaber said. “It has been awesome. In the locker room after a win — at practice every day, guys love each other. It’s such a great bond. I think we’ve all gelled really well together. It’s been fun to be a part of.”