Three former Steinbach Pistons are headed to the NCAA Division I Hockey Tournament this upcoming weekend.
Forward Riese Gaber of the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks, defenceman Tyler Anderson of the St. Cloud State University Huskies, and defenceman Darby Gula of the Bemidji State University Beavers will all be headed to the first round of the college national championships which are being held in four different cities on March 26-27.
Gaber has had a superb freshman season with UND, who has been named as the #1 seed in this year’s bracket as they’ll face the American International College Yellow Jackets in Fargo on Friday. The Gilbert Plains native netted 11 goals and 20 points in his first year of collegiate hockey, but he stepped up in his conference tournament with 3 goals and an assist to be named the NCHC Frozen Faceoff MOP as a result. They’ll deal with a tricky opponent in AIC, who two years ago were named the #16 seed in the NCAA tournament and knocked off the #1 seed to advance.
That #1 seed was St. Cloud State, and on that team was Tyler Anderson. Anderson, currently in his senior year, will be making his third and final appearance at the NCAA Tournament with the Huskies, who have been named as a #3 seed in their region and #10 seed overall.
The former two-year Pistons d-man played in 11 games this season and was solid all year as his team finished runner-up in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff to UND. He’ll try to get one more crack at a national title when St. Cloud State will take on Boston University on Saturday, March 27th in Albany, New York.
Steinbach native Darby Gula and Bemidji State will be making their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2010. Gula played in 26 games for the Beavers, registering a goal and two assists this season while becoming a regular on the team’s defence corps in his third collegiate season.
BSU posted a consistent regular season but unfortunately lost in the semifinals of the WCHA conference tournament this past weekend. They received a bid into the national championship as the #4 seed in the Bridgeport region and #13 overall, but Gula and company face a tough opponent in top ranked University of Wisconsin Badgers on Friday afternoon.
This is the first time that three Pistons alumni will be playing in the NCAA Division I Hockey championships in the same year. Best of luck to Riese, Tyler, and Darby this weekend!