EDINA, Minn. – Bemidji State University forward Ethan Somoza has been selected as the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Rookie of the Week for his role in Beavers’ series at Michigan Tech, Feb. 9-10.
Somoza tied for the WCHA rookie scoring lead with two points, while his only shot of the weekend resulted in his first career goal – the game-winner in Bemidji State’s 4-2 win Friday at Michigan Tech. Playing in his 27th collegiate game, the freshman from Simi Valley, Calif. buried an even-strength goal to give the Beavers a 3-1 lead at 12:05 of the second period. He also assisted on BSU’s first goal of the game. Somoza finished the series with a plus-2 rating (tied for second among WCHA rookies), helping the Beavers leave Houghton with a two-point lead in the race for the fourth and final home ice slot in the WCHA quarterfinals. This is Somoza’s first WCHA weekly award of his freshman season.
This marks the first WCHA award of Somoza’s collegiate career. He follows Michael Bitzer, a five-time Goaltender of the Week selection Oct. 16, Oct. 30, Dec. 18, Jan. 8 and Jan. 22, Charlie Combs, the Nov. 27 Rookie of the Week, Gerry Fitzgerald, who was picked for the league’s Offensive Player of the Week Nov. 6, the Dec. 18 WCHA Offensive Player of the Week, Jay Dickman and Kyle Bauman, the league’s Jan. 8 Offensive Player of the Week.
In addition to Somoza, Lake Superior State University junior Anthony Nellis won the league’s Offensive Player of the Week award, Northern Michigan University sophomore Philip Beaulieu was selected as the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week and Michigan Tech senior Devin Kero was tabbed as the league’s Goaltender of the Week.
BSU, now 15-11-2 overall and 12-8-4-2 in WCHA play, returns to Sanford Center and Bemidji, Minn. where it will host the University of Alaska Feb. 15-16. The rare Thursday/Friday series will get underway at 7:07 p.m. Thursday, while Friday’s senior day festivities will begin at 7:07 p.m. Tickets are still available for the series and begin at $12 for Log Jam General Admission seating.
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.