BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) -- Michael Bitzer stopped 17 shots en rout to backstopping the Bemidji State University men's hockey team to a 4-0 victory over the University of Alaska Anchorage and becoming the Beaver Hockey program's all-time shutouts leader with 13.
The victory also allowed the Beavers to remain perfect in Western Collegiate Hockey Association play at 6-0-0 and stay atop the league standings.
Heading into the final 20 minutes of play clinging to a 1-0 lead, Bemidji State got the spark it needed at the 2:31 mark when freshman Dylan McCrory crashed the net to corral a Jay Dickman rebound and jam his first collegiate goal past the UAA goaltender Olivier Mantha. The goal opened the floodgates as Kyle Bauman added a power-play goal with 5:40 gone in the period and T.J. Roo collected his first goal as a Beaver at the 16:03 mark to complete the 4-0 victory.
Despite out shooting the Seawolves 9-2 during the first 20 minutes of play, the Beavers were unable to find the back of the net and the teams opened the second period locked in a scoreless tie.
The Beavers took the first lead of the game at the 6:57 mark of the second aided by a trio of Seawolves’ penalties. With a pair of UAA players in the penalty box, Gerry Fitzterald scored his second goal of the season, a 5-on-3 power-play marker. Zach Whitecloud and Brendan Harms were credited with assists on the scoring play and gave the Beavers a 1-0 lead heading into the third period.
The goal also marked the eighth time this season that the Beavers have been the first to score.
Special teams proved to be significant for BSU tonight. The Beavers' power-play unit netted two goals on six man advantage opportunities, while its penalty-kill squad snuffed out all four of the Seawolves power-play chances to improve to 35-of-37 (.946) overall and a perfect 29-of-29 in WCHA play.
Dickman led all players in scoring picking up a pair of assists—the first two of his 26-game BSU career.
Bitzer improved to 6-2-0 on the season with the win and moves into the lead among all NCAA Division I goaltenders with three shutouts through the first eight games of 2016-17.
Prior to Bitzer, Matt Clime, who recorded 12 shutouts for BSU between 2004-08, held BSU's career shutouts mark with 12.
Bemidji State, now 6-2-0 overall and 6-0-0 in WCHA, now heads to the land of the midnight sun for a two-game series at the University of Alaska, Nov. 4-5. The teams will face off each night at 10:07 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.