COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Leading each of their teams to a sweep over the weekend, five student-athletes representing three schools earned Bauer National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Players of the Week honors for the week of Nov. 15-21, 2021. Western Michigan graduate student Ethen Frank was named NCHC Forward of the Week for week 8, while WMU senior Michael Joyaux and Denver sophomore Mike Benning shared co-Defenseman of the Week honors. Western Michigan junior Brandon Bussi gloved NCHC Goaltender of the Week, while Omaha forward Cameron Berg garnered Rookie of the Week.
These are Frank’s and Joyaux’s second NCHC weekly honors this season, while Benning, Bussi and Berg each collected their first NCHC award this year. It’s the first career honor for Benning and Berg.
Ethen Frank, Western Michigan
Grad Student Forward
Frank had a five-point weekend to power WMU to a sweep of then-No. 2 St. Cloud State. The assistant captain tallied all of his points in Friday’s 6-2 victory, as he had a hand in five of the goals for a career-high five points. Frank tallied four of the goals, becoming the first Bronco to score four goals in a game since 2006 and only the fourth NCHC player ever to tally four goals in a conference game, tying a record. He assisted on the game’s first goal Friday, then scored a natural hat trick for the Broncos to make it 4-0 in the third period, before sealing the win with an empty-net goal.
Although he was held pointless in Saturday’s 4-0 shutout of the Huskies, Frank fired three shots on goal and hit the post. He finished the series with four goals, an assist, eight shots on goal and a + 1 plus/minus. His second goal Friday turned out to be the game-winner, while his third goal came on the power play.
On the season, Frank is tied for first in the NCAA with 12 goals, while his 1.00 goals per game average is tops nationally by himself. He also has seven assists for 19 points, with his 1.58 points per game tied for first in the NCAA, as well.
This is Frank’s fourth career NCHC Forward of the Week award and second this season, while it’s his fifth career NCHC weekly honor.
Mike Benning, Denver
St. Albert, Alta.
Benning played a big role in Denver’s sweep of Miami, as he totaled four points in the series while anchoring a defense that allowed only two goals all weekend. In Friday’s 4-1 win, the Florida Panthers draft pick had the primary assist on the game-winning goal to break a 1-1 tie in the second period. The next night, Benning tied a career high with three points, dishing out two assists and scoring DU’s fifth goal of the game in a 7-1 rout.
Along with his offense, Benning played on a penalty kill unit that finished 7-for-8 against Miami, including 5-for-5 with two short-handed goals on Saturday. He finished the series with a goal, three assists, three shots on goal and a +3 plus/minus. On the season, Benning has 11 points on five goals and six assists in 12 games.
This is Benning’s first career NCHC weekly award.
Michael Joyaux, Western Michigan
Joyaux chipped in four points from the blue line in WMU’s sweep of then-No. 2 St. Cloud State, while also limiting the Huskies to only two goals all weekend after they entered averaging 3.75 goals per game. On Friday, he dished out a season-high three assists, including on the opening goal of the game on the power play, in a 6-2 victory. He also blocked three shots Friday and was +2. A night later, Joyaux scored WMU’s second goal while helping keep SCSU off the scoreboard in a 4-0 shutout.
Joyaux finished the series with three assists, a goal, three blocked shots and a +3 plus/minus. He also helped WMU’s penalty kill go 6-for-7 on the weekend, including 3-for-3 Saturday, against the nation's second-best power play. On the season, Joyaux has 14 points, which ties for fifth in the NCAA among defensemen, including 11 assists in 12 games.
This is Joyaux’s fourth career NCHC Defenseman of the Week honor and second this season.
Brandon Bussi, Western Michigan
Sound Beach, N.Y.
Bussi was nearly perfect on the weekend, surrendering only two goals while backstopping WMU to a sweep of then-No. 2 St. Cloud State. The junior made 28 saves in Friday's 6-2 win, while missing eight minutes of game action to receive stitches for a facial laceration, and allowed only one even-strength goal and a power play goal in the opener. The next night, Bussi recorded his second career shutout, both this season, with a 36-save effort in a 4-0 victory. He helped hold the nation's second-ranked power play to just one power play goal in seven opportunities.
Bussi ended the series with a 2-0-0 record and a 1.07 goals-against average. He stopped 64 of the 66 shots he faced for a .970 save percentage, which led all NCHC netminders on the weekend. On the season, Bussi is 8-4-0 with a .910 save percentage, a 2.70 GAA and two whitewashes.
This is Bussi’s second career NCHC Goaltender of the Week nod, first earning it as a freshman.
Cameron Berg, Omaha
White Bear Lake, Minn.
Berg had a breakout weekend to help Omaha finish off a series and regular-season sweep of Alaska. The New York Islanders draft pick notched the first two multi-point games of his career in Fairbanks and doubled his season goal total over the weekend. On Friday, Berg scored two goals for his first collegiate multi-goal game in a 5-2 victory. He tied the game at 2-2 early in the third period, then sealed the win with an empty-netter. The next night, Berg scored the game’s first goal, then set up the game-winning goal minutes later to make it 3-0 in an eventual 4-2 win.
Berg ended the trip to Alaska with three goals, an assist, nine shots on goal, including five on Friday, and a +2 plus/minus. Two of his goals came on the power play. On the season, Berg now has nine points on six goals and three assists in 13 games.
This is Berg’s first career NCHC weekly award.
Forward of the Week
Brendan Budy, Jr., UND
Massimo Rizzo, Fr., Denver
Defenseman of the Week
Ethan Frisch, Jr., UND
Goaltender of the Week
Magnus Chrona, Jr., Denver
Zach Driscoll, Sr., UND
Rookie of the Week
Carter Mazur, F, Denver
Massimo Rizzo, F, Denver