EDINA, Minn. – Bemidji State University defenseman Zach Whitecloud has been selected as the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Rookie of the Week for his role in Beavers’ road series split and 2016-17 WCHA regular season clinching win at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, Feb. 10-11.
One of six league rookies with multi-point weekends, Whitecloud had a key assist in a 3-2 victory Friday night as BSU clinched the regular season title. With the Beavers clinging to a 1-0 lead 1:15 into the third period, Whitecloud picked up a helper on Gerry Fitzgerald’s power-play goal. BSU built a 3-0 lead and held on to hoist the MacNaughton Cup for the first time in the program’s seven WCHA seasons. The freshman from Brandon, Manitoba then added another power-play assist during Saturday’s loss, helping the Beavers finish the weekend 3-for-10 on the man advantage. He finished the weekend with a pair of blocked shots and four shots on goal.
In addition to Whitecloud, Northern Michigan University forward Robbie Payne earned the league's offensive player of the week honor and goaltender Atte Tolvanen was the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week.
This week’s awards mark the 10th of the 2016-17 season for BSU. In addition to this week’s award, Whitecloud was named rookie of the week Oct. 8, goaltender Michael Bitzer’s is a four-time defensive player of the week recipient (Oct. 17 and 31, Nov. 14 and Dec. 21), Kyle Bauman (Feb. 6), Brendan Harms (Nov. 21) and Phillip Marinaccio (Nov. 8) have earned the WCHA Offensive Player of the Week award and Tommy Muck was the league’s rookie of the week, Feb. 6.
The Beavers (19-11-3; 19-4-2-2 WCHA) have a weekend free from competition, Feb. 17-18, before returning to Sanford Center to host Minnesota State University, Mankato, Feb. 24-25. The opening face-off for each game is set for 7:07 p.m.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.