EDINA, Minn. – Dec. 19, 2016 – Two of the league's top scorers and one of its standout goaltenders highlight the final men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week before the holiday break. The honorees for games of Dec. 16-17, 2016 are: Bowling Green junior forward Mitchell McLain (Offensive Player of the Week), Bemidji State junior goaltender Michael Bitzer (Defensive Player of the Week) and Minnesota State freshman forward Marc Michaelis (Rookie of the Week).
Mitchell McLain, Jr., F
Bowling Green (Baxter, Minn.)
McLain was once again in the middle of a Bowling Green victory, capping a two-point weekend with what stood as the game-winning goal in the Falcons' 6-3 triumph Saturday at Alaska. The junior from Baxter, Minn. factored into the winning goal for the fourth time this season, scoring just 1:07 into the third period to give BGSU a 4-2 lead and igniting a three-goal outburst over the final stanza. He also picked up an assist Friday night, while he finished the series with a WCHA-best 26 face-off wins. Bowling Green is now 5-1-1 this season when McLain scores a goal and 8-4-1 when he tallies a point, while the forward enters the holiday break second in the WCHA with a career-high 22 points overall (11g-11a). This is McLain's third WCHA weekly award of the season (all in the last four weeks) and his fifth career honor (including one Rookie of the Week accolade).
Honorable Mention: Marcus Basara, Sr., F, Alaska (lone WCHA skater with two goals last weekend, as he gave the Nanooks a 1-0 lead en route to a 3-2 win Friday over Bowling Green before tying Saturday's contest at 1-1).
Michael Bitzer, Jr., G
Bemidji State (Moorhead, Minn.)
Bitzer turned in a 60-save weekend against the nation's top-ranked team, helping No. 15 Bemidji State earn a tie before dropping a one-goal decision to No. 1 Minnesota Duluth. The junior from Moorhead, Minn. had a season-high 35 stops over 65 minutes Friday in Duluth, allowing the Beavers to earn a 1-1 tie on the road despite being outshot by a 36-21 margin. Bitzer then turned aside 25 shots Saturday in a 2-1 setback, finishing the series with a .952 save percentage and 1.45 goals-against average. Entering the holiday break, Bitzer ranks in the top-15 nationally for: wins (tied 1st – 13), games (1st – 21), starts (1st – 21), minutes (1st – 1270:24), goals-against average (2nd – 1.46), shutouts (tied 2nd – 3), save percentage (3rd - .940), saves (4th – 483) and winning percentage (11th - .690). This is Bitzer's fourth WCHA weekly award of the 2016-17 season and his 11th career honor, including a pair of Rookie of the Week accolades.
Marc Michaelis, Fr., F
Minnesota State (Mannheim, Germany)
Michaelis led all WCHA skaters and tied for second nationally with four points, tallying a goal and three assists as No. 19 Minnesota State spit a nonconference road series at Princeton. After picking up an assist in Friday's loss, Michaelis had a three-point effort as the Mavericks halted the Tigers' five-game winning streak with a 5-4 triumph Saturday. The freshman from Mannheim, Germany scored his 10th goal of the season to give Minnesota State a 2-0, first-period lead, then assisted on a pair of second-period tallies (including one power-play goal) as the Mavericks extended their advantage to 4-2. Michaelis enters the holiday break leading the WCHA overall scoring race with 26 points (10g-16a), good for ninth in the NCAA (second amongst freshmen). This is Michaelis' second WCHA weekly award of his rookie campaign.
Honorable Mention: Jacob Dalton, Fr., D, Bowling Green (had his first career multi-point game, including his first collegiate goal, in the Falcons' 6-3 win Saturday at Alaska); Colton Leiter, Fr., F, Alaska (scored the game-winning goal in the Nanooks' 3-2 victory Friday over Bowling Green, before adding an assist in Saturday's contest).