St. Cloud State received a Christmas present of their own and are ready to put it to use right away.
Joey Benik, who has missed the first half of the season with a broken leg, will make his collegiate debut for the WCHA-leading Huskies tonight. St. Cloud State (11-7-0, 9-5-0 WCHA) faces RPI (4-6-4, 1-5-2 ECAC) in two non-conference games tonight and Friday at the National Hockey Center.
The freshman forward was second in the BCHL last season with 96 points (36G-66A) in 60 regular season games for Penticton but broke his leg in October during St. Cloud State's first practice of the season. Since then he has been rehabbing and while it was rumored Benik would make his debut against Colorado College two weeks ago, he was held out until now.
For what it's worth, Benik has continued to be a part of the team off the ice; telling Mick Hatten of the St. Cloud Times:
"It's been fun to watch and see how well these guys are doing this year, but I want to be a part of it," said Benik, who set the single season state record for goals in a season when he played for St. Francis High School. "I'm looking forward to getting back in there.
"I was (at the rink) for all the practices. If I wasn't watching it, I was in the weight room doing whatever I could with my cast on or doing physical therapy. I taped my leg to a bike sometimes and watched practice. Anything I could do to keep me moving forward."
His addition is a boon to a team that has seen success from their freshmen. Kalle Kosilla leads St. Cloud State with 10 goals and fellow freshman Johnny Brodzinksi is third on the team with 7. The Huskies lead Denver and North Dakota by one point in the WCHA standings (although UND has two games in hand) but face both teams in January.
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