GLOUCESTER, Mass. – North Dakota claimed two-thirds of the men’s National Players of the Month honors for March/April, as the Hockey Commissioners Association (HCA) announced the final monthly honors of 2020-21 on Wednesday. UND junior netminder Adam Scheel repeated as HCA National Goaltender of the Month, while freshman forward Riese Gaber garnered National Rookie of the Month accolades for the final month and a half of the season. Scheel and Gaber were named National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Goalie and Rookie of the Month for March/April, respectively, on Tuesday.
Scheel finishes his collegiate career as the back-to-back National Goaltender of the Month after winning the award for February too, while Gaber is the third different NCHC freshman forward to garner National Rookie of the Month this season, joining Denver’s Carter Savoie (December) and St. Cloud State’s Veeti Miettinen (January). Gaber, Savoie and Miettinen were the three forwards on the NCHC All-Rookie Team this year, while Scheel was the NCHC Goaltender of the Year.
HCA NATIONAL GOALTENDER OF THE MONTH
Adam Scheel, North Dakota
Scheel backstopped North Dakota to its first NCHC Frozen Faceoff title, starting all five postseason games for the Fighting Hawks in March, while posting a 4-1-0 record with a 1.55 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage. His GAA ranked third nationally in March/April, while his .937 save percentage led the NCHC among goalies with more than one game played. He totaled 148 saves on 158 shots faced in five starts in the postseason.
Scheel allowed only six goals in three Frozen Faceoff wins from March 12-16 to earn All-Tournament Team honors. He made 26 saves against Miami in the quarterfinals, 17 more in a 2-1 overtime win over Denver in the semifinals and capped his performance with 30 saves in the championship game – a 5-3 win over St. Cloud State.
After compiling 24 saves in a 5-1 win over American International to open the NCAA Tournament on March 26, Scheel played all eight periods of the historic five-overtime NCAA Midwest Regional title game against Minnesota Duluth on March 27. That game saw Scheel play 140:59 in net, stopping a career-high 51 shots before a fifth-overtime goal gave UMD a 3-2 win in the longest NCAA Tournament game ever.
Scheel finishes the season 20-4-1 with four shutouts, while recording a .931 save percentage and a 1.74 GAA in 26 games (25 starts), with his wins, save percentage and GAA all tops in the NCHC. Scheel’s career GAA of 1.95 sets a North Dakota record. Following the season, the First-Team All-NCHC honoree signed a free agent deal with the Dallas Stars organization and already made his pro debut with the AHL’s Texas Stars.
HCA NATIONAL ROOKIE OF THE MONTH
Riese Gaber, North Dakota
Gilbert Plains, Manitoba
Gaber paced all NCHC rookies and tied for third among NCAA freshmen with five points in March on three goals and two assists, while his three goals also tied for the national lead among rookies in March/April. Gaber fired 19 shots on goal, which tied for second nationally among freshmen (behind only teammate Jake Sanderson), and added four blocked shots in six games in March.
Gaber was selected the Most Outstanding Player at the NCHC Frozen Faceoff after scoring three goals and totaling four points in the NCHC Tournament to lead UND to its first Frozen Faceoff title. Gaber first scored a goal in UND’s 6-2 quarterfinal win over Miami on March 12, before potting two goals and adding an assist in the championship game, including scoring the game-winner in the 5-3 victory over St. Cloud State March 16.
Gaber also dished out an assist in UND’s 5-1 win over American International in their opening-round NCAA Tournament game on March 26 in the Midwest Regional. The undrafted forward finishes his freshman campaign with 21 points in 29 games on 11 goals and 10 assists.
Massachusetts junior goaltender Filip Lindberg and UMass junior forward Bobby Trivigno shared National Player of the Month honors for March/April.
2020-21 HCA NATIONAL MONTHLY HONORS IN THE NCHC
December Rookie - Carter Savoie, F, Denver
January Rookie - Veeti Miettinen, F, SCSU
February Goaltender - Adam Scheel, Jr., UND
March/April Rookie - Riese Gaber, F, UND
March/April Goaltender - Adam Scheel, Jr., UND