EDINA, Minn. – Bemidji State University goaltender Michael Bitzer has been selected as the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Goaltender of the Week for his role in Beavers’ series victory over the University of Alaska, Feb. 15-16.
Bitzer assured he and his fellow Bemidji State seniors would have more games at the Sanford Center, backstopping the Beavers to a five-point league series that clinched home ice in the quarterfinal round of the 2018 WCHA Playoffs. The senior from Moorhead, Minn. played all 125 minutes in net against visiting Alaska, stopping 43-of-46 shots faced for a .935 save percentage and a 1.44 goals-against average. Bitzer made 19 saves in Thursday’s 2-2 tie, then stood tall in net as BSU scored in the 3-on-3 overtime for the extra league point. Friday, he pitched a shutout for 58:38, finishing with 24 saves in a 2-1 victory. In addition, he led a BSU penalty-kill unit that held the Nanooks scoreless on nine opportunities.
This marks the sixth WCHA award of Bitzer’s 2017-18 campaign. Also selected goaltender of the week Oct. 16, Oct. 30, Dec. 18, Jan. 8 and Jan. 22, he also follows last week’s rookie of the week Ethan Somoza; Charlie Combs, the Nov. 27 Rookie of the Week; Gerry Fitzgerald, who was picked for the league’s Offensive Player of the Week Nov. 6; the Dec. 18 WCHA Offensive Player of the Week, Jay Dickman; and Kyle Bauman, the league’s Jan. 8 Offensive Player of the Week.
In addition to Bitzer, Minnesota State University, Mankato senior Brad McClure won the league’s Offensive Player of the Week award, Michigan Tech senior Mark Auk was selected as the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week and Minnesota State freshman Reggie Lutz was tabbed as the league’s Rookie of the Week.
BSU, now 16-11-3 overall and 13-8-5-3 in WCHA play, hits the road for the final series of the 2017-18 regular season, Feb. 23-24, traveling to Mankato, Minn. for a two-game set versus Minnesota State University, Mankato. The series will get underway at 7:07 p.m. each night at the Verizon 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.