Having fulfilled her promise of superstar status, Loren Gabel is poised to rewrite Clarkson’s record books. A key contributor towards the program capturing its second straight NCAA Frozen Four title, the first in ECAC Conference history to do so, Gable has helped elevate Clarkson’s status into that of a revered dynasty.
Enjoying three Frozen Four championships in five seasons, the Golden Knights legacy has also involved a remarkable collection of superlative talent, propelling them into hockey legend. While the heroics of Erica Howe, Cayley Mercer and Jamie Lee Rattray will earn a permanent place in the hearts and minds of Golden Knights supporters, Gabel has helped bridge two generations of champions.
Recognized as the 2018 ECAC Player of the Year, including the honor of placing on the All-America team, Gabel’s efforts included a well-earned spot on the Frozen Four tournament team, which also complemented the second national championship of her career. Having also experienced the milestone of being named a Top-3 Finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award, it marked a unique instance for both Golden Knights history and the history of the Award.
Last season, Mercer gained a spot among the Top 3 Finalists. With Gabel attaining the same status in 2018, it marked the first time in Golden Knights history that it had a player in the Top 3 for two consecutive years. Worth noting, this year’s Top 3 involved an All-Canadian affair as Gabel was joined by Victoria Bach from Boston University and eventual winner Daryl Watts of Boston College. All three finalists were raised in the province of Ontario, each honing their skills in the PWHL, with Gabel starring for Bradi Cochrane’s Oakville Jr. Hornets.
“To be named a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier award was definitely an amazing honor. I never thought that one day I would be amongst one of the best players in the nation up to win such a prestigious award.
Playing against such amazing athletes has definitely pushed me to become a better well-rounded athlete overall. I couldn't have gotten to this point without my teammates and coaching staff, they are the ones that have pushed me and stuck by my side day in and day out to help me become the best player and athlete I could possibly be, and for that I am very thankful.”
Since joining the Golden Knights, the product of Kitchener, Ontario has made an immediate impact. Recognized as the team’s Rookie of the Year in 2016, Gabel’s season was highlighted by a hat trick in a 7-0 blanking of the Brown Bears on February 19, 2016, scoring all three goals against Monica Elvin, becoming the first freshman to achieve the feat since Juana Baribeau in 2008. The contest also featured a pair of goals by program luminaries Olivia Howe, Mercer, and Renata Fast, who competed for Canada in the 2018 Winter Games.
Progressing in her sophomore season, where she played on a line with Genevieve Bannon and Mercer, Gabel ranked third on the Golden Knights in scoring. During an eventful postseason which culminated with a victory over Wisconsin in the NCAA Frozen Four title game, one of her highlights included a spot on the ECAC All-Tournament Team, which saw her score a hat trick versus Cornell in the conference quarterfinals.
Amassing a respectable 69 points in her first two seasons with the Golden Knights, her junior year would result in masterfully eclipsing that total with a series of scintillating performances.
As the 2017-18 campaign resulted in the accumulation of a sizzling 75 points, Gabel got off to a hot start with 22 points in her first 12 games, highlighted by back-to-back three point performances (October 28 vs Cornell and November 3 vs Yale). During the holiday break, Gabel’s scoring proficiency placed her on Hockey Canada’s radar, as she gained a spot with Canada’s U22/Development Team that competed at the Nations Cup in Fussen, Germany.
In addition, there were four games where Gabel recorded at last four points, indicative of her breakthrough season. Headlined by a superlative six-point outburst in the first round of the ECAC playoffs against Yale on February 23, Gabel scored the first three goals of the game, resulting in a natural hat trick. She also logged assists on goals scored by Elizabeth Giguere and Michaela Pejzlova in the second period, along with a third period helper on Pejzlova's second goal of the game. Ella Shelton also scored twice as the Golden Knights prevailed in a 10-1 whitewash.
While Gabel’s 36 goals and 39 assists represented the peak of perfection for the eventual national champions, she displayed brilliance in key situations, scoring seven sensational power play goals, while contributing mightily with eight game winning tallies.
Such an explosive season saw Gabel place second in the NCAA’s scoring race, while pacing all competitors nationally with a phenomenal plus/minus rating of +58. Adding to her haul of hockey hardware, Gabel earned ECAC Player of the Month honors three times (October, December, January), plus the NCAA’s First Star of the Week Award (awarded on January 23, 2018).
Off the ice, Gabel has also managed some impressive accolades. Majoring in Communications, she was bestowed the honor of Clarkson’s Communication and Media Award in 2017. Admirably giving her time to groups such as Potsdam Elementary School, Community Outreach clean-up, and the Lil' Knights Club, among others, it exemplifies how she has grown into a stronger leadership role.
In addition, Gabel garnered the program’s Ron Frazer Award for 2018. Recognizing a player that has elevated their game in key situations, while making significant contributions to the Golden Knights success, it was testament to her superstar status.
Undoubtedly, Gabel made a significant contribution when it counted most. With the Golden Knights qualifying for the 2018 NCAA Frozen Four, their opponents were the very ambitious Ohio State Buckeyes, making their first appearance. As the Buckeyes boasted All-America backstop Kassidy Sauvé, plus USA Hockey alum Jincy Dunne on the defense, the match emerged as a defensive stalemate, tensions running high for both teams as three periods resulted in scoreless play.
Receiving a pass in the overtime frame from linemate Elizabeth Giguere, whose father, Jean-Sebastien, was an NHL goaltender, most notably with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, reaching the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals, Gabel broke the deadlock at the 16:12 mark, slipping the puck past Sauvé to punch their ticket to their second straight Frozen Four. Coincidentally, Gabel also scored in the 2017 Frozen Four semifinals, as the Golden Knights usurped the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Worth noting, Gabel also has her own NHL lineage. Legendary NHL blueliner Dick Duff is her second uncle, whose distinguished career included six Stanley Cup championships; two as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs and four with the Montreal Canadiens.
“It was very special to score that game-winner against Ohio State. The game could've went either way, but I got an amazing pass by my linemate Elizabeth Giguere and I put the puck in the back of the net. Knowing that we were going to the National Championship game was an amazing feeling, especially having all of our family and friends by our side cheering us on along the way.”
Serendipitously, it was Giguere who scored the game-winning goal for Clarkson in the Frozen Four title game, defeating the Colgate Raiders, which was a tournament first, as both programs are from the ECAC Conference. Fittingly, Giguere and Gabel would gain spots on the Frozen Four All-Tournament Team, where they were joined by Savannah Harmon, while goaltender Shea Tiley earned the Most Outstanding Player nod.
Adding to the sense of kismet was the fact that one of Gabel’s first linemates when she joined Clarkson was Shannon MacAulay, who recorded the game-winning tally against Minnesota when the program garnered its first national title back in 2014.
“It means a lot to win another National Championship. Our team has worked extremely hard both on and off the ice, in season and off season to come out strong in the end and bring the trophy back home to Potsdam. Never did I think that I would be a National Champion, but to do it back to back and play alongside amazing teammates and staff is truly amazing and something that I will cherish forever. As per the Top Forward honors, I could not have done that without my teammates and coaching staff.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credits: Zachary Gordon
Other images obtained from: https://www.pattykaz.com/news_article/show/877315