Bitzer and Dickman earn WCHA honors

Bitzer and Dickman earn WCHA honors
Monday, December 18, 2017
Bitzer and Dickman earn WCHA honors

EDINA, Minn. – Bemidji State University goaltender Michael Bitzer and forward Jay Dickman have been selected as the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Goaltender and Offensive Player of the Week, respectively, for their roles in Beavers’ series sweep over University of Alaska Anchorage, Dec. 15-16.

Dickman became the second NCAA Division I men’s skater this season with multiple hat tricks, tied for the WCHA lead with five points and tied for the national lead with four goals – all while helping Bemidji State to a league sweep of Alaska Anchorage. The junior from Shoreview, Minn. opened the weekend with a career-best four-point night, including the hat trick and the game-winner in a 5-1 Beavers’ victory. Saturday night, he added another goal, a power-play strike 3:48 into the third period that gave BSU a 2-0 lead en route to a 4-0 triumph. Dickman, who scored his four goals on just six shots (a .667 percentage), finished the weekend with a plus-5 rating. He is the first BSU player with multiple hat tricks in a season since Brendan Cook during the 2003-04 campaign, while his 10 goals are a career high.

Bitzer backstopped Bemidji State to a WCHA sweep, in the process moved into second place on the school’s all-time saves list (2,740) and into a tie for third place on the all-time NCAA Division I men’s hockey shutout list (19). The senior from Moorhead, Minn. surpassed former BSU great Grady Hunt (who had 2,717 saves between 2000-04) with a 21-stop effort in Friday’s 5-1 victory. Saturday, Bitzer posted a 20-save shutout in a 3-0 triumph, extending his own school and WCHA record, while matching Quinnipiac’s Michael Garteig (2013-16) and Cornell’s Ben Scrivens (2007-10) for third in NCAA men’s history. Bitzer finished the weekend with a 0.50 goals-against average and .976 save percentage (41-for-42), both tops among all NCAA goaltenders that made two starts. He also helped BSU’s penalty-kill unit go a perfect 5-for-5 against the Seawolves.

This marks first career WCHA weekly award for Dickman and the third of the season for Bitzer, who was also the Oct. 16 and 30 Goaltender of the Week selection. The fifth and sixth selections of 2017-18 for the Beavers, they follow Charlie Combs, the Nov. 27 Rookie of the Week and Gerry Fitzgerald, who was picked for the league’s Offensive Player of the Week Nov. 6.

In addition to BSU duo, Northern Michigan University senior Jordan Klimek won the league’s Defensive Player of the Week award and Michigan Tech freshman Robbie Beydoun was tabbed as the league’s Freshman of the Week.

The Beavers, now 7-6-5 overall and 4-4-4-2 in WCHA play, break for the holidays and return to action Dec. 29 and 30 when they host long-time rival University of Alabama-Huntsville for a two-game league contest. Opening face off is set for 7:07 p.m. each night at Sanford Center.

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.