EDINA, Minn. – Bemidji State University goaltender Michael Bitzer has been selected as the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Defensive Player of the Week after posting 60 saves versus top-ranked University of Minnesota Duluth, Dec. 16-17.
Bitzer had a season-high 35 stops over 65 minutes Friday in Duluth, allowing the Beavers to earn a 1-1 tie on the road despite being outshot by a 36-21 margin. Bitzer then turned aside 25 shots Saturday in a 2-1 setback, finishing the series with a .952 save percentage and 1.45 goals-against average. Entering the holiday break, Bitzer ranks in the top-15 nationally for: wins (tied 1st – 13), games (1st – 21), starts (1st – 21), minutes (1st – 1270:24), goals-against average (2nd – 1.46), shutouts (tied 2nd – 3), save percentage (3rd - .940), saves (4th – 483) and winning percentage (11th - .690).
In addition to Bitzer, Bowling Green State University forward Mitchell McLain was named offensive player of the week and Minnesota State University, Mankato goalie Marc Michaelis earned the league's rookie of the week honor.
This is Bitzer's fourth WCHA weekly award of the season and his 11th career honor and the Beavers’ seventh league award of the 2016-17 season. In addition to Bitzer’s four weekly awards, Brendan Harms earned the Nov. 21 honor, freshman Zack Whitecloud was named rookie of the week Oct. 7-8, and Phillip Marinaccio, who was the Nov. 7 WCHA Offensive Player of the Week.
The Beavers, 13-6-3 overall and 13-1-2-2 in league play, now breaks for the holidays. The team returns to action when it travels to Anchorage, Alaska Dec. 30 and 31 for a WCHA series versus the University of Alaska Anchorage.
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.