Lots of award news happened today!
First, BSU junior goaltender Michael Bitzer was named a semifinalist for the Mike Richter Award (which is kinda like the Hobey Baker but only for goalies).
It’s hard to talk about Bitzer without recycling stuff I’ve already said, but, obviously: He’s been awesome this season, and one of the main reasons why the Beavers continue to lead the nation in defense (just 1.87 goals allowed per game). Bitzer also leads the nation in goals against (1.65) and also shutouts (6) and minutes played (2,219:13). In addition, he’s also fourth in save percentage (.933).
So, that’s pretty, pretty, pretty good, and certainly worthy of consideration for the award.
A little bit later in the afternoon, the WCHA also announced its all-conference teams.
Unsurprisingly, Bitzer was the first-team All-WCHA selection at goalie.
The former Moorhead Spud was the league’s goaltending champion and finished with an all-time league record of 1.40 GAA average in 27 conference games between the pipes.
The league didn’t announce it’s players, coaches or rookies of the year — they do that next Thursday — but if Bitzer doesn’t at the very least win the defensive player of the year award I think something is very wrong (he could win overall player of the year, too, but I’d say Gerry Mayhew of Ferris State or Marc Michaelis of Minnesota State has a better inside track at that award).
Bitzer wasn’t the only Beaver to get the nod on All-WCHA teams.
He’s the only one to make the first team, but senior forward Phil Marinaccio made the second team, junior forward Gerry Fitzgerald made the third team and freshman defenseman Zach Whitecloud made the all-rookie team.
Look for more on all this in the paper later — just wanted to get a quick update out there.