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Bauer NCHC Players of the Week: Oct. 4-10, 2021

By NCHC, 10/11/21, 4:30PM EDT


WMU’s Frank, UND’s Sanderson and Schmaltz, SCSU’s Hrenák and DU’s Rizzo honored for Week 2

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – After a strong showing last weekend among NCHC teams, there were several deserving nominees, but four different schools are represented among the five Bauer National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Players of the Week for the week of Oct. 4-10, 2021. Earning Bauer NCHC week 2 honors are Western Michigan graduate student Ethen Frank for Forward of the Week, North Dakota sophomore Jake Sanderson for Defenseman of the Week, and St. Cloud State grad student Dávid Hrenák for Goaltender of the Week, while Denver forward Massimo Rizzo and UND forward Jake Schmaltz shared Co-Rookie of the Week honors.

Forward of the Week

Ethen Frank, Western Michigan
Graduate Student Forward
Papillion, Neb.

Frank started the regular season strong, racking up five points to lead Western Michigan to a home-and-home sweep of in-state rival Ferris State last weekend. In Friday’s 4-0 win in Kalamazoo, the assistant captain had a hand in WMU’s final three goals. His first goal of the game put the Broncos up 2-0 in the second period, while he set up the third goal and his second goal of the night capped off the scoring on the power play. In Saturday’s 4-3, come-for-behind road win, Frank assisted on WMU’s first goal of the night that cut FSU’s lead in half. He then tied the game up at 2-2 with his third goal of the weekend.

Frank finished the series with three goals and two assists, while firing seven shots on goal and posting a +4 plus/minus. This is Frank’s third career NCHC Forward of the Week honor after twice earning it last season, and his fourth career NCHC weekly award.

Defenseman of the Week

Jake Sanderson, North Dakota
Sophomore Defenseman
Whitefish, Mont.

Sanderson was a force at both ends of the ice to power North Dakota to a regular-season-opening sweep of Niagara. He chipped in four points offensively with a goal and an assist each night, while helping limit the Purple Eagles to only two goals all weekend. In Friday’s opener, Sanderson recorded an assist on UND’s third goal, before potting the Fighting Hawks’ fifth goal late in the second period of an eventual 6-2 victory. A night later, the Ottawa Senators first round draft pick scored a highlight-reel goal to make it 3-0 and added the primary assist on UND’s next and final goal, which came on the power play. Sanderson anchored a defensive corps that shut out Niagara on Saturday, as well.

Sanderson finished the weekend with two goals and two assists, while posting a +3 plus/minus. His four points tie for the NCHC lead in defensemen scoring. He also blocked a shot and fired seven shots on goal in the series. This is Sanderson’s first career NCHC weekly honor.


Dávid Hrenák, St. Cloud State
Graduate Student Goaltender
Povazska Bystrica, Slovakia

Hrenák was rock-solid in net for St. Cloud State against top-ranked Minnesota State, allowing only one goal each night to backstop the Huskies to a key, road series split. In Friday’s series opener in Mankato, Minn., the L.A. Kings prospect compiled 28 saves on 29 shots, with MSU’s lone goal coming late in the second period, while the Huskies were shut out. A night later, Hrenák made 22 stops in a 3-1 victory over the Mavericks, with MSU’s lone goal coming late in the third period. He also helped SCSU’s penalty kill finish a perfect 6-for-6 on the weekend.

For the series, Hrenák went 1-1-0 with a .962 save percentage and a 1.01 goals-against average, as he allowed only two goals while totaling 50 saves. On the season, Hrenák is now 3-1-0 with NCHC-bests of a .961 save percentage and a 0.84 GAA. His 0.84 GAA is also tops nationally.

This is Hrenák’s sixth career NCHC Goaltender of the Week nod and ninth career NCHC weekly honor.

Co-Rookie of the Week

Massimo Rizzo, Denver
Freshman Forward
Burnaby, B.C.

Rizzo had a stellar start to his collegiate career, compiling four points to help lead Denver to a sweep of Arizona State last weekend. In his NCAA debut Friday, he tallied his first career goal and assist, setting up DU’s second goal to break a 1-1 tie, while he potted his first collegiate goal in the third period on the power play to cap Denver’s eight-goal outburst in the 8-3 win. A night later, the Carolina Hurricanes prospect notched his first multi-goal game as he scored the Pioneers’ first two goals of the game. His first goal opened the scoring, while his second tied the game at 2-2 as DU rallied for a 4-3 victory.

Rizzo finished his first official weekend as a Pioneer with three goals, an assist, six shots on goal (four Saturday) and a +3 plus/minus. He also went 6-5 in the faceoff circle. His three goals are tied for the NCHC lead, while his fourth points tie for third in the NCHC and tie for tops among rookies with Schmaltz.

Co-Rookie of the Week

Jake Schmaltz, North Dakota
Freshman Forward
McFarland, Wis.

Like Rizzo, Schmaltz wasted no time making an impact, as he racked up three goals and four points in his first two NCAA games to power North Dakota to a sweep of Niagara. The Boston Bruins draft pick scored his first collegiate goal in the opener Friday night to make it a 2-0 game in the first period. He then notched his first assist, the secondary assist, on UND’s sixth goal of the night in a 6-2 win. On Saturday, Schmaltz recorded his first career multi-goal game, tallying UND’s first two goals of the night, including the game-winner only 1:09 into the contest as North Dakota rolled, 4-0. His second goal Saturday came on the man advantage.

Schmaltz becomes the first UND freshman to score in his first two games of his career since Drew Stafford in 2003-04. Schmaltz ended the series with three goals, including a game-winner, an assist, four shots on goal and a +3 plus/minus. He also won eight faceoffs on the weekend. His three goals are tied for the NCHC lead, while his fourth points tie for third in the NCHC and tie for tops among rookies with Rizzo.


Forward of the Week
Cameron Berg, Fr., Omaha
Blake Biondi, So., UMD
Riese Gaber, So., UND
Massimo Rizzo, Fr., Denver
Nolan Walker, Sr., SCSU

Defenseman of the Week
Mike Benning, So., Denver
Chase Foley, So., CC
Connor Kelley, So., UMD
Nick Perbix, Sr., SCSU
Kirby Proctor, Jr., Omaha

Goaltender of the Week
Dominic Basse, So., CC
Brandon Bussi, Jr., WMU
Magnus Chrona, Jr., Denver
Zach Driscoll, Sr., UND
Isaiah Saville, Jr., Omaha

Rookie of the Week
Cameron Berg, F, Omaha
Jack Devine, F, Denver
Owen Gallatin, D, UMD
Mason Salquist, F, SCSU