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Published March 16, 2011, 04:22 PM

Roseau's Ness to Leave Gophers, Sign with Islanders

Aaron Ness says he will skip his senior season to sign a pro contract with the NHL's New York Isladners

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota Gophers defenseman Aaron Ness says he will skip his senior season and sign his pro contract with the New York Islanders.

Gophers coach Don Lucia released a statement on Wednesday saying the Roseau, Minn., native will be missed.

Lucia says Ness "was a terrific leader and you could count on him to be the hardest worker in practice and he competed hard in every game. At 20, he has a bright future."

Ness had two goals and 12 assists in 35 games this season for the Gophers, who were eliminated in the first round of the WCHA tournament.

He was a second-round pick of the Islanders in 2008 after starring in high school at Roseau.