EDINA, Minn. – Bemidji State University goaltender Michael Bitzer has been selected as the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Goaltender of the Month for his outstanding play during the first month of the Beavers’2017-18 season.
The 2016-17 WCHA Player of the Year, Hobey Baker Memorial Award top-10 finalist and Mike Richter Award top-five finalist picked up where he left off, as Bitzer led the WCHA during the season’s opening month with a .941 save percentage and a 1.56 goals-against average. The senior from Moorhead, Minn. also tied for the national lead with two shutouts. Bitzer, the NCAA’s active leader, is now the all-time WCHA record holder with 18 career clean sheets.
Bemidji State’s netminder was a two-time WCHA Goaltender of the Week during October. He opened the season with 72 saves during a win and tie against then-No. 5 Minnesota Duluth, including a career-best 45 stops in a 65:00 scoreless tie Oct. 14 in Duluth. That effort was the WCHA record-breaker for Bitzer, as he surpassed the previous league mark of 16 career shutouts accumulated by Colorado College’s Jeff Sanger (1998-2002) and Wisconsin’s Brian Elliott (2003-07). He then earned a second weekly honor after helping the Beavers open defense of their MacNaughton Cup title with a five-point weekend against Ferris State (Oct. 27-28).
Bitzer finished October with a 3-1-2 record and 144 saves in six starts (345:28 in net).
Bemidji State, 3-1-2; 1-0-1-1 WCHA) now sets its sights on Alaska as the Beavers travel to Fairbanks for a WCHA match up with the University of Alaska, Nov. 3-4. Each game is set for a 10:07 p.m. (CST) opening face off.
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.
(Portions courtesy of WCHA.com)