WCHA Press Releases



WCHA Goaltender of the Week Lauren Bench of Minnesota
Winning Teams Take Home Weekly Honors
Minnesota's Bench, Zumwinkle Joined by Bemidji State's Hunt and Minnesota State's Kondas for Weekly Award Honors

sterlingBLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Dec. 6, 2021 – In a weekend with all eight teams in action, four student-athletes stood out as WCHA Players of the Week, presented by Sterling Trophy.

WCHA Forward of the Week

player Reece Hunt, Jr., Bemidji State (Nelson, British Columbia)

In helping Bemidji State extend to a four-game win streak behind a sweep of St. Cloud State, Reece Hunt tallied three goals off of 10 shots on goal on the weekend. After scoring once on Friday, Hunt scored both goals, including the game-winning overtime goal in Saturday's 2-1 (OT) victory. Her 10 shots on goal were a team-high, while she skated to a plus-2 rating on the ice.

The weekly honor is the second in Hunt's career, after she was named WCHA Rookie of the Week on March 3, 2020.

Others Receiving Votes: Gabbie Hughes (Minnesota Duluth), Brittyn Fleming (Minnesota State), Jenna Buglioni (Ohio State), Casey O'Brien (Wisconsin).

WCHA Defender of the Week

player Jessica Kondas, Sr., Minnesota State (Calgary, Alberta)

In her efforts to help Minnesota State earn a weekend sweep of St. Thomas, Jessica Kondas recorded three assists for the Mavericks. The mark tied for the team lead in point-scoring over the weekend, while notching six blocked shots over the series. Owning a plus-1 rating on the ice, Kondas added three shots on goal across the two games.

The award marks the first WCHA Defender of the Week honor in Kondas' career and the fourth for a Minnesota State player this season.

Others Receiving Votes: Emily Brown (Minnesota), Ella Anick (Bemidji State), Sophie Jaques (Ohio State).

WCHA Goaltender of the Week

player Lauren Bench, Grad., Minnesota (Eagan, Minn.)

Graduate goaltender Lauren Bench started both games for Minnesota this weekend and became the first goaltender to defeat No. 1 Wisconsin this season. Over the course of the weekend, Bench made a career-high of 68 total saves in the series to help the Gophers claim 5-of-6 points against Wisconsin for the first time since 2014. She held the Badgers to their fewest goals (4) in a home series since Jan. 2021 and stopped seven of nine Badgers in Saturday's shootout.

Behind her .944 save percentage and 1.92 goals against average, Bench extends her undefeated streak that dates back to Oct. 9. This WCHA Goaltender of the Week award is the first of the season for Bench, fourth in her time with Minnesota, and 10th overall in her collegiate career.

Others Receiving Votes: Hannah Hogenson (Bemidji State), Calla Frank (Minnesota State), Amanda Thiele (Ohio State).

WCHA Rookie of the Week

player Emily Zumwinkle, D, Minnesota (Excelsior, Minn.)

While skating for the top defensive pairing for the Gophers, Emily Zumwinkle scored her second career goal in the third period to give Minnesota the lead over No. 1 Wisconsin on Saturday. She went on to score the shootout winning goal on her first career shootout attempt to help Minnesota secure 5-of-6 points on the weekend against the top team in the nation. Adding to her offense, Zumwinkle blocked three shots and skated to a plus-2 rating on the ice.

The WCHA Rookie of the Week award is the first league honor for Zumwinkle in her career.

Others Receiving Votes: Alyssa Watkins (Bemidji State), Alexis Paddington (Minnesota State).

About Sterling Trophy

Sterling Trophy has grown into a leader in the award and recognition industry in the Twin Cities since its founding in 1999. A family business that started in the basement of the home of founders David Steinbring and Payy Steinbring, Sterling Trophy has built a proud tradition of quality service and unique products. For more information, visit sterlingtrophy.net