MICHAEL BITZER Hobey Baker Memorial Award, Mike Richter Award and All-American Candidate

Bemidji State University goaltender Michael Bitzer has put together one of the finest seasons in Beaver Hockey history. He has established single-season program records and climbed the career lists, led the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in most statistical categories and ranks among the nation's best, making him a prime candidate for college hockey's premier awards.

Historical Perspective

  • His league-low 1.40 goals against in WCHA play is the lowest since the league's inception in 1951.
  • His five (5) shutouts in 2016-17 league play tied him for second all time.
  • Bitzer's .940 save percentage in 27 league games ranks second all time.
  • His 20 victories in WCHA play led the league, while no other goaltender had more than 14 wins. His season tied him for seventh on the WCHA's all-time, single-season wins list.
  • His 1.71 save percentage over 39 games ranks atop BSU's single-season list.
  • Bitzer's .932 save percentage in 2016-17 ranks fifth in BSU's single-season record book.
22 - Victories


Bitzer's 22 (22-14-3) victories place him in a tie for seventh in the nation, while he became the first BSU goaltender to record 20 victories in a single season since 1994-95.

1.71 - Goals Against Average

Goals Against Average

Bitzer finished the regular season allowing one (1) or fewer goals in 20 of his 39 starts. He completed the regular season with a 1.71 goals against average in 2016-17, leading the nation from nearly wire to wire. No other NCAA Division I goalie was under 1.78.

6 - Shutouts


With six (6) shutouts in 2016-17, which included a shutout streak of 191:01 of scoreless play, Bitzer leads the nation. During his first three seasons of his collegiate career he has a BSU all-time record 16 shutouts.

.932 - Save percentage

Save Percentage

Making 912 stops this season, Bitzer ranks third among all NCAA Division I goaltenders with a .932 save percentage. His .925 career save percentage is tops in Beaver hockey history.

1.93 - Goals allowed per game

Scoring Defense

Bitzer has backstopped a Bemidji State team that was second the nation allowing just 1.93 goals per game in 2016-17. The Beavers have surrendered more than two (2) goals in a game just ten (10) times this season.

.880 - Penalty Kill

Penalty Kill

Backstopped by Bitzer, the Beavers snuffed out 139-of-158 (.880) opponent power-play opportunities overall to rank second in the country and 98-of-107 (.916) in league play to lead the WCHA.

2016-17 WCHA Goaltending Champ

2016-17 WCHA Goaltending Champion

Bitzer led the WCHA in minutes played (1,625:40), goals allowed average (1.40), save percentage (.940), wins (20), winning percentage (.778) and shutouts (5).

Career Awards


  • 2016-17 WCHA Player of the Year
  • 2016-17 All-WCHA First Team
  • 2016-17 WCHA Goaltending Champion
  • Two-Time WCHA Scholar-Athlete Award (2015-16, 2016-17)
  • Two-Time WCHA All-Academic Team (2015-16, 2016-17)
  • Nine-Time WCHA Defensive Player of the Week (2016-17 - Oct. 17, Oct. 31, Nov. 14, Dec. 21; 2015-16 - Oct. 12, Jan. 4; 2014-15 - Jan. 12, Jan. 26, March 1)
  • Two-Time NCAA Three Stars of the Week (Jan. 18, 2016, Oct. 17, 2016)
  • Two-Time WCHA Rookie of the Week (Dec. 15, 2014, Feb. 2, 2015)
  • 2014-15 WCHA Rookie of the Year
  • 2014-15 WCHA All-Rookie Team
  • Two-Time Mike Richter Award Nominee (2014-15, 2016-17)
Michael Bitzer

Biographical Information

2016-17 / Junior: Started 39 of the Beavers' 41 games as a junior... At 22-14-3, he helped guide BSU to the WCHA Regular Season Title... The first BSU goalie with a 20 win season since 1994-95... Led the nation in Goals Against Average (1.71) and tied for the lead with six (6) shutouts... Led the nation in minutes played (2,355:22), games played (39) and fourth in save percentage (.932)... Is already atop the BSU career shutouts list with 16... His 2,346 saves puts him in fifth place on BSU's all-time list... Opened the season with four straight wins, which included back-to-back shutouts at Northern Michigan (Oct. 14-15)... Was selected as one of the NCAA's Three Stars for his performance at NMU... Posted a season-high 35 saves in a 1-1 tie with then-No. 1 Minnesota Duluth before backstopping the Beavers to a win in a shootout (Dec. 16)... 2016-17 Mike Richter Award Nominee... Honored four times as WCHA Defensive Player of the Week... Named a 2016-17 WCHA Scholar-Athlete... 2016-17 WCHA Goaltending Champion... Selected All-WCHA First Team... Was named WCHA Player of the Year.

2015-16 / Sophomore: Appeared and started in 34 games during his sophomore campaign... Finished with a record of 13-16-5 with a 2.16 goals against average and a .915 save percentage... Had six shutouts inclduing back-to-back shutouts versus Arizona State (Jan. 15-16), earning NCAA Third Star of the Week honors... Honored twice as WCHA Defensive Player of the Week... Posted his first career assist at Alaska Anchorage (1/9/16)... WCHA Scholar Athlete... WCHA All-Academic Team.

2014-15 / Freshman: Posted a 14-11-3 record in 28 games played for the Beavers... Had a 1.80 goals against average and a .929 save percentage... Recorded four shutouts... Season-high 41 saves 2x, Last vs. Ferris State (3/14/15)... Won his first collegiate start at North Dakota (10/10/14)... Was named WCHA Rookie of the Week twice (Dec. 12-13), (Jan. 30-31), and WCHA Defensive Player of the Week three times (Jan. 9-10), (Jan. 23-24), (Feb. 27-28)... 2014-15 Mike Richter Award Nominee... WCHA Rookie of the Year... WCHA All-Rookie Team.

Prior to BSU: Bitzer played two seasons for the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League (USHL). After going 22-11-1 with a shutout and a 2.70 goals against average in 2012-13, Bitzer opted to defer enrollment to Bemidji State and return to the Stars again in 2013-14. As the team’s top goaltender, Bitzer recorded a 3.17 goals against average and .903 save percentage.

In 30 games for Moorhead High School in 2011-12, Bitzer collected a record of 22-8-0 and a 2.30 goals against average, en route to leading the Spuds to an appearance in the state tournament and winning all-state honors and the Frank Brimsek Award for Minnesota’s best senior goaltender. Following the season, the Lincoln Stars selected him in the second round of the USHL entry draft.

Personal: Chance Michael Bitzer was born to Shane and Stacy Bitzer on Oct. 23, 1993... Michael is majoring in physical education with an emphasis in medical fitness.

Career Highs: Minutes: 106:40, vs. Ferris State (March 14, 2015); Goals Allowed: 5, 3x, Last vs. St. Cloud State (Nov. 28, 2014); Shutouts: 16, Last vs Northern Michigan (3/3/17); Saves: 41, 2x, Last vs. Ferris State (March 14, 2015); Shots Faced: 44, vs. Ferris State (March 14, 2015); Assists: 1, at Alaska Anchorage (Jan. 9, 2016).

Created By
Brad Folkestad


BSU Photo Services, Lakeland Public Television, Michigan Tech

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