EDINA, Minn. – Bemidji State University goaltender Michael Bitzer has been selected for Western Collegiate Hockey Association Defensive Player of the Week honors following play versus No. 2/3 University of Minnesota Duluth.
Bitzer, the 2014-15 WCHA Rookie of the Year, opened his sophomore campaign in fine fashion by backstopping Bemidji State to a 3-2 upset win over No. 2/3 Minnesota Duluth. The Moorhead, Minn. native stopped 28-of-30 shots, while making a dozen saves during a first period in which the Beavers were outshot 12-5 and another 11 during the decisive third frame. Deadlocked at 2-2 late in the game, Bemidji State won 3-2 on Charlie O’Connor’s goal with 22 seconds remaining in regulation. In addition, he backstopped a penalty-kill unit that held UMD scoreless on four power-play opportunities.
The award marks the six weekly honor for Bitzer. Last year he was named WCHA Defensive Player of the Week three times (Jan. 12, Jan. 26 and March 2) and Rookie of the Week twice (Feb. 3 and Dec. 15).
The Beavers, now 1-0-0 on the season, continue nonconference play at 7:37 p.m. Friday as BSU hosts No. 1 University of North Dakota at Sanford Center for the first half of a home-and-home series. The teams travel west for a 7:07 p.m. match up at Ralph Engelstad Arena Saturday to complete the two-game set.
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).