Photo Credit:Ricky Bassman
In a year where Army West Point Head Coach Brian Riley was worried about replacing an All American Goaltender and getting contributions from his defense, Gavin Abric, only a few months removed from his plebe season, came in and made goaltending once again a big strength for Army West Point.
The Heyward, Wisconsin native is a semifinalist for the Richter Award, given to the best goaltender in men’s college hockey at the Division One level every year. While he is happy to get the recognition, he is focused on getting Army Hockey to its first ever NCAA tournament appearance.
As to how he got to Army and the infrastructure of what helps Abric be himself in net. Associate Head Coach Zach McKelvie had some thoughts on the Jersey Hitmen program where Abric earned a Division One offer.
“ The Hitmen have a great staff. Toby Harris and Jim Hunt have created one of the best junior organizations in all of North America, everything they do is first class and professionally done with development of their players as the priority for everything the do. The numbers speak for themselves when you talk about the Hitmen and their ability to develop players. So we give those two a ton of credit for continuing to produce great players but also knowing what our program is all about and who would fit us best.”
Abric credits his coaches at the Hitmen for not forcing him to play a certain way. Their ability to work with him on his strengths without shoe-horning him to play a certain way has helped him thrive as the unique goalie he is. Gavin does well in high volume games where he is able to make saves consistently and keep his team calm and in the game. He has had to do that for this team to win a few games, like his 39 save 1-0 shutout over AIC.
Abric is a calm presence on this team that has been made better by the competition and group he is with. Every day he works with Justin Evenson and Evan Szary often with drills Evenson helps create. The goalie group helps each other out and Abric credited Evenson for keeping the mood light during games.
Abric’s demeanor is well suited for the goaltender position. He just focuses on doing what he needs to to get the job done. Abric praised the team in front of him and notes the strong penalty kill that Army has had as a big reason for his success.
The fact that Abric was nominated for this award shows that those in college hockey see what Abric has done and what he can do. He doesn’t make as many flashy saves as some other goaltenders on the top 10 list do, but he often faces a higher volume of shots per night and makes more saves than a lot of them have to against a conference that is under rated for skilled players.
Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link.