EDINA, Minn. – Bemidji State University men’s hockey senior goaltender Michael Bitzer has been selected to the All-Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s Second Team, highlighting the announcement of the WCHA’s 2017-18 postseason awards. In addition, 18 Bemidji State student-athletes earned a spot on the league’s all-academic squad.
Bitzer finished the regular season as the WCHA’s leader in games (28), minutes (1,674) and shutouts (4) in league play. He also finished second in wins (13), third in saves (580), fourth in goals allowed (58) and goals against average (2.09), while he was sixth in save percentage (.909) among WCHA goaltenders with at least 1,000 minutes played.
Making an appearance in 37 of 38 games as a senior, Bitzer posted a record of 16-13-8 with a 2.24 goals against average and a .909 save percentage. The senior piled up 819 saves, which included a career-best 45 stops in a shutout tie and shootout victory at then-No. 9 University of Minnesota Duluth, Oct. 14. He backstopped a penalty kill unit that was consistently among the nation’s leaders, finishing the 2017-18 season sixth in the country at .865 (115/133), while it paced the WCHA at .888 (87/96).
In 138 collegiate appearances, Bitzer established himself as one of the greatest to ever wear the green and white. The 2016-17 AHCA All-America First Team West selection and Mike Richter Award and Hobey Baker Award finalist left BSU atop its all-time saves list (3,165), as the program’s leader in career save percentage (.921), goals against average (1.98) and minutes played (6,031), while he was second in victories (65). In addition, he holds the BSU and WCHA record and ranks second on the NCAA career shutouts list with 21.
A three-time WCHA Scholar-Athlete honoree and member of the WCHA All-Academic Team, Bitzer was the 2016-17 WCHA Player of the Year, an All-WCHA First Team pick and won the league’s goaltending championship. He was also selected as the WCHA Rookie of the Year and placed on the WCHA All-Rookie Team to cap the 2014-15 campaign, while he was a 16-time WCHA weekly award winner during his Bemidji State career.
Bitzer is also one of 18 BSU student-athletes named to the 2017-18 WCHA All-Academic Team. The group includes: Justin Baudry, Kyle Bauman, Dan Billett, Michael Bitzer, Adam Brady, Jack Burgart, Dillon Eichstadt, Gerry Fitzgerald, Leo Fitzgerald, Myles Fitzgerald, Jordan Heller, Ian Janco, Dylan McCrory, Tommy Muck, T.J. Roo, Mike Soucier, Hampus Sjödahl and Zach Whitecloud.
A total of 151 student-athletes, representing all 10 WCHA-member institutions, earned the distinction as members of the men's 2017-18 All-WCHA Academic Team.
To be recognized as a member of the All-WCHA Academic Team, member team student-athletes must meet the following criteria: 1) have completed one year of residency at present institution, prior to the current academic year; and 2) have a grade point average of at least 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) for the previous two semesters or three quarters.
Voting for WCHA awards and all-league teams is done by member team head coaches.
The Beavers finished the 2017-18 campaign with an overall record of 16-14-8 overall and recorded a 13-9-6-4 record in WCHA play, to earn fourth place in the WCHA standings and the right to host the first round of the WCHA Playoffs for the third time in four years.
For more information on the Bemidji State men’s hockey program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUBeavers @BSUBeaversmhky), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BSUBeavers) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Multimedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.
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 (NSIC).