Kris Bennett

Jake Olson, Sports Reporter

Although they’ll most likely miss the playoffs, the Iowa Heartlanders have had a successful debut season in the ECHL. The first-year organization has proven itself in the league, taking down top teams like the Toledo Walleye and Fort Wayne Komets.

Much of that success has happened because of first-year ECHL player Kris Bennett.

The prospect out of Ontario, Canada, has been on a tear this ECHL season. Bennett has gone back and forth from the Heartlanders to AHL affiliate Iowa Wild in Des Moines, but still leads the team with 34 goals in just 41 games. He is also third on the Heartlanders’ roster with 31 assists.

The Heartlanders’ first captain in franchise history has now won back-to-back ECHL Rookie of the Month awards in February and March — the first player to do so since Jason Bast for Idaho in the 2014-15 season.

The rookie leads the league with 34 goals. Bennett is also leading all rookies in the ECHL with 65 total points. Bennett even notched one goal in his 12-game stint with the Iowa Wild.

A lot of the Heartlanders’ success has been linked to great team hockey — executing power plays, stiff defense, and crisp offensive possessions. But the standout player for this season has to be their first captain, Kris Bennett.