Tuesday, September 11, 2012

WCHA Instant Impact: Joey Benik (SCSU)

As the dawn of the 2012-13 NCAA men's ice hockey season draws near, Tradition of Excellence will be profiling one incoming player from each WCHA team that fans can expect to have an instant impact on their team and the league. First in the chamber is St. Cloud State incoming freshman Joey Benik.

Joey Benik, F, St. Cloud State
Vitals: 5'10" - 170 lbs - 1/26/1992
Hometown: Andover, MN
Previous Team: Penticton Vees (BCHL)

SCSU heads into the season having lost four of its top six point producing forwards from a year ago, as well as a three-year starter in goal in Mike Lee, who opted to sign with the Phoenix Coyotes. Lee's backup Ryan Faragher and most of the Husky defense returns intact, and boosting optimism in St. Cloud is the return of leading scorer Ben Hanowski and Drew LeBlanc, who used a medical redshirt to gain a fifth season of eligibility. So while SCSU will count on their two high-end forwards and a pair of slick, puck-moving defensemen (Nick Jensen, Andrew Prochno) to lead their offensive attack, scoring depth could be a concern heading into the 2012-13 campaign. Expect incoming freshman Joey Benik to help ease those concerns.

In 2009-10 Joey Benik wrapped up a stellar high school career by leading the state of Minnesota with 53 goals and 90 points before heading to Penticton of the British Columbia Hockey League. In his first season with the Vees (2010-11), he racked up 56 points in 60 games, including a team leading 30 goals. But it was this past season that saw Benik truly blossom into much more than just a goal scoring threat.

In 2011-12, Benik displayed a well-rounded and versatile game that, according to Vee's assistant coach Steve Cawley, was the product of a relentless work ethic and dedication to developing "a fantastic two-way game." Benik recorded a 30 goal, 66 assist campaign while routinely being assigned with shutting down the opposing team's top line. He was also a staple on the Vees' powerplay and penalty kill units. 

He paced the Vees with 96 points (second overall in the BCHL), and he led Penticton to the RBC Cup (Canadian Junior A national championship) by scoring the game winning goal with less than a minute left in the championship game.

Cawley described Benik as a very strong, very quick player with very good vision who should be able to make a swift transition to the college game. His goal scoring ability, offensive instincts, and development into a complete, three-zone hockey player should give St. Cloud State a more than capable scoring threat who can provide offensive depth to the Husky lineup.


  1. Love the idea of this type of post. Keep up the good work, I look forward to the others!

    1. Thanks for the feedback, glad to hear your liking it.

  2. Excellent write up. The Huskies have been anxious for Benik's arrival.

  3. If he is that good why is he going to SCSU?
    Not necessarily the team that screams success. I am surprised he didn't play for the gophers.

    1. Maybe SC was a better fit for him. OR, he wants to finish his college hockey career while playing in the country's premier league. He will get more attention playing against DU, UMD, UND, CC, etc vs penn state and ohio state and the skunk in a popcorn box badgers. Mediocrity, thy name is big 10 hockey.

    2. This is the kind of arrogance that takes away from the game and the luster of our league. It's too bad you have to take away from a great blog write up. Joey likely chose SCSU for a number of reasons. Probably the most important are the proximity to his home town. His parents and community(St. Francis, MN) are a short drive to St. Cloud. He put a town with little hockey history on the map. He chose to stay his SR. year in High School to continue to play with his buddies and brother. I am sure there will be plenty from St.Francis at the games this year.

      Playing for St.Francis in HS, he has had plenty of skeptics. He has been criticized for playing in a soft conference, etc.. This is why he was passed over by UM and the big schools. Motzko and his staff took the time to evaluate Benik and made a commitment to the young man when it seemed no one else would.

      He has excelled at every level he has played. I look forward to seeing that trend continue at SCSU.

    3. Benik was never considered a "can't miss prospect" because he played in a weak league, didn't play much defense, etc.

      No reason for premiere program to take a flyer on a guy like that. SCSU took a shot that he would develop...I guess we'll find out soon enough if the gamble paid off.

  4. 5 goals in the NCAA tournament good enough for you?