OMAHA, Neb. – Riese Gaber struck twice to help lead No. 10/11 North Dakota to a 4-1 victory over Omaha on Friday evening from Baxter Arena in Omaha.
UND (4-3-1, 1-0-0 NCHC) opened up its defense of three straight Penrose Cups with a dominating performance, striking three times in the second period and adding an insurance tally in the third to cruise to the 4-1 victory.
Gaber paced the offensive charge for the Fighting Hawks with a pair of goals, both coming at even strength, while Ethan Frisch added a power play goal and Jackson Kunz also found the back of the net in a game that saw the visitors finish with a 38-22 shot advantage.
Drew DeRidder had to be sharp on those 22 shots he saw, making 21 saves to improve to 3-2-1 on the season. Despite surrendering seven power play opportunities to Omaha (4-4-1, 0-1-0 NCHC), North Dakota held the Mavericks to just two shots on goal during those man advantages.
Following a scoreless first period, UND jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Frisch wired a one-time pass from Chris Jandric for his second goal of the season just 1:52 into the middle stanza. Just 15 seconds later, Jackson Kunz won a race to the puck and potted home his own rebound to quickly double the advantage for the Hawks.
Omaha looked to cut the lead to 2-1 moments later, but DeRidder was ruled to have been interfered with and the goal was disallowed following a successful challenge. NoDak took hold of the momentum and made it 3-0 just past the midway point of the second, with Gaber firing through the legs of Jake Kucharski to make it goals in five of the last six tilts for the junior.
The Mavericks finally got on the board in the final minute of the second, but Gaber struck again in the third period to restore the three-goal cushion following another won battle along the wall, this time by Nick Portz, and his centering pass to the Gilbert Plains, Man., native for the insurance tally.