EDINA, Minn. – Jan. 25, 2016 – A pair of high-scoring sophomore forwards, a junior goaltender with an excellent weekend in his return to the ice and a hot freshman netminder highlight the men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week for Jan. 18-24, 2016. The winners are: Minnesota State sophomore forward C.J. Franklin and Bowling Green sophomore forward Brandon Hawkins (co-Offensive Players of the Week), Minnesota State junior goaltender Cole Huggins (Defensive Player of the Week) and Ferris State freshman goaltender Darren Smith (Rookie of the Week).
C.J. Franklin, So., F
Minnesota State (Forest Lake, Minnesota)
Franklin matched this week's co-winner, Bowling Green's Brandon Hawkins, for the WCHA lead with three goals and five points. The sophomore from Forest Lake, Minn. helped No. 19 Minnesota State to a two-game home sweep over Lake Superior State, scoring his three goals on just six shots and finishing the weekend with a +3 rating. Franklin tallied a point in all three stanzas of the Mavericks' 8-0 victory Friday, assisting on first- and third-period goals and scoring his own marker in the second. The Winnipeg Jets draftee then scored twice in a 5-1 triumph Saturday, including the game-winning goal and a power-play marker. This is Franklin's first career WCHA weekly award.
Brandon Hawkins, So., F
Bowling Green (Macomb, Michigan)
Hawkins matched this week's co-winner, Minnesota State's C.J. Franklin, for the WCHA lead with three goals and five points. The sophomore from Macomb, Mich. paced Bowling Green to its highest-scoring weekend in 11 years, helping the 18th-ranked Falcons to a home sweep of Alaska Anchorage. Hawkins assisted on BGSU's first goal to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead after the first period Thursday, and then spurred a five-goal, second-period flurry with a goal and assist en route to a 6-2 victory. During Friday's win by an identical 6-2 score, Hawkins logged his first multi-goal game of the season. He finished the weekend with a +3 rating and a team-high 11 shots. This is Hawkins' first career WCHA weekly award.
Also nominated: Mitch Maloney, So., F, Ferris State (scored OT game-winner Friday at Bemidji State).
Cole Huggins, Jr., G
Minnesota State (Centennial, Colorado)
Huggins, making his first appearances since Nov. 13, went 2-0-0 with a 0.50 goals-against average, .975 save percentage and one shutout as No. 19 Minnesota State earned a home sweep of Lake Superior State. The junior from Centennial, Colorado turned aside 39-of-40 shots in the two wins, making 17 saves in an 8-0 shutout Friday and 22 stops in a 5-1 victory Saturday. He now ranks second in school history with eight career shutouts and ninth with 30 victories in a Mavericks uniform. This is Huggins' first WCHA weekly honor of the 2015-16 season and his third career accolade (including one Rookie of the Week award).
Darren Smith, Fr., G
Ferris State (Barrie, Ontario)
Smith repeated as Rookie of the Week after backstopping Ferris State to its second-straight undefeated weekend – a four-game stretch that has lifted the Bulldogs into a tie for third place in the WCHA standings. The freshman from Barrie, Ontario was even better this week, finishing FSU's two road games at Bemidji State – both overtime contests – with 63 saves, a .955 save percentage and a 1.44 goals-against average. He tallied 28 stops in Friday's 3-2, overtime victory, and then turned aside 35-of-36 shots to help Ferris State earn a 1-1 tie Saturday. This is Smith's second career (and consecutive) WCHA weekly award.
Also nominated: Max Coatta, Fr., F, Minnesota State (contributed two goals, one assist and a +4 rating in No. 19 MSU's sweep); Adam Smith, Fr., D, Bowling Green (scored his first career goal in just his eighth collegiate game, part of a three-point weekend with a team-best +5 rating in No. 18 BGSU's sweep).