BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Jan. 8, 2018 – Four players, including a pair of teammates, who all helped their teams to league road sweeps highlight the men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Players of the Week for games of Jan. 5-7, 2018. The honorees are: Bemidji State senior Kyle Bauman (Offensive), Minnesota State junior Daniel Brickley (Defensive), Bemidji State senior Michael Bitzer (Goaltender) and Bowling Green freshman forward Connor Ford (Rookie).
Kyle Bauman, Sr.
Bemidji State (Apopka, Fla.)
Bauman led Bemidji State to a WCHA sweep at Lake Superior State, scoring twice and assisting on two other goals for a four-point weekend. After an assist on the game-winning goal in a 3-0 shutout Friday, the senior scored twice, including the game-winner, and added a helper in a 6-3, comeback win Saturday. Both of Bauman's goals Saturday were shorthanded and game in the Beavers' five-goal second period. In fact, he tied the all-time WCHA record for most shorthanded goals in a period, becoming the 14th player to accomplish the feat (and first since Derek Stepan on March 7, 2009). The Apopka, Fla. native finished the weekend with a plus-3 rating, tied for tops in the WCHA. This is Bauman's first WCHA weekly award of the 2017-18 season and his fourth career honor, including a pair of Rookie of the Week accolades.
Honorable Mention: Austin Beaulieu, So., Alabama Huntsville (led the Chargers to a split at Alaska with an assist and two goals, including the game-winner in a 3-1 victory Saturday); Mitch McLain, Sr., Bowling Green (tallied three points on two goals, including the game-winner Sunday, and an assist, along with tying for tops in the WCHA with a plus-3 rating, as the now-No. 14 Falcons swept host Ferris State); Marc Michaelis, So., Minnesota State (registered a goal and four assists, tying for the WCHA lead with five points, as the now-No. 8/6 Mavericks swept host Alaska Anchorage); Dylan Steman, Sr., Michigan Tech (had four points at the Ice Vegas Invitational, including a goal and an assist in the Huskies' 4-3, semifinal-round win over then-No. 13/14 Boston College).
Daniel Brickley, Jr.
Minnesota State (Sandy, Utah)
Brickley had a goal and three assists as now-No 8/6 Minnesota State earned a WCHA road sweep at Alaska Anchorage. The junior from Sandy, Utah led all WCHA defensemen in points, goals (tied), assists (tied), game-winning goals (tied, with one) and shots on goal (10). Additionally, his plus-3 rating was tied for the best among all league skaters last weekend. A prolific special-teams player, all four of Brickley's points came on the power play. He had two assists in the Mavericks' 5-2, series-opening win, before adding a helper and scoring the game-winning goal (snapping a 1-1, second-period tie) in Saturday's 4-1 triumph. This is Brickley's fourth WCHA weekly award of the 2017-18 season and the sixth of his career.
Honorable Mention: Philip Beaulieu, So., Northern Michigan (assisted on all three goals as the Wildcats rallied to tie then-No. 13/14 Boston College, before eventually winning the shootout to finish third at the Ice Vegas Invitational); Alec Rauhauser, So., Bowling Green (extended his career-long point streak to six games with two assists in the now-No. 14 Falcons' road sweep at Ferris State, while tying for the WCHA lead with a plus-3 rating); Mitch Reinke, So., Michigan Tech (had a pair of assists in the Huskies' victory over then-No. 13/14 Boston College in the Ice Vegas Invitational semifinals); Zach Whitecloud, So., Bemidji State (recorded one goal, one assists, four blocked shots and a plus-1 rating in the Beavers' road sweep at Lake Superior State).
Michael Bitzer, Sr.
Bemidji State (Moorhead, Minn.)
Bitzer backstopped Bemidji State to a league road sweep at Lake Superior State, in the process moving into a tie for second in NCAA men's hockey history with his 20th career shutout – an ongoing BSU and WCHA record. The senior from Moorehead, Minn. turned aside all 21 shots he faced Friday night in a 3-0 win, drawing even with Vermont's Joe Fallon (2005-08), six back of Michigan State legend, National Hockey League All-Star and 2010 Team USA Olympic hero Ryan Miller (26 between 1999-2002). Despite surrendering three goals Saturday, Bitzer earned another win as the Beavers ran their winning streak to six-straight – the program's longest since a six-gamer during its 2008-09 NCAA Frozen Four season. Among WCHA goaltenders with two starts last weekend, Bitzer was tops with a 1.50 goals-against average and second with a .923 save percentage. This is Bitzer's fourth WCHA weekly award of the 2017-18 season and his 15th career honor, including a pair of Rookie accolades and nine Defensive awards.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Bednard, So., Bowling Green (led the now-No. 14 Falcons to a 3-0, sweep-clinching win Sunday at Ferris State, making 27 saves for his second career shutout); Darren Smith, Jr., Ferris State (stopped 24-of-26 shots for a .923 save percentage Sunday against now-No. 14 Bowling Green); Jordan Uhleski, Sr., Alabama Huntsville (was excellent in his lone game, making 35 saves in the Chargers' 3-1 victory Saturday at Alaska).
Connor Ford, Fr., F
Bowling Green (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Ford paced Bowling Green and led all WCHA rookies with four points, tallying one goal and three assists as the now-No. 14 Falcons earned a league road sweep at Ferris State. In a career-high three-point performance in Saturday's 6-3 win, the freshman scored a first-period goal then added a pair of assists as BGSU scored four times in the third period. Sunday afternoon, the Pittsburgh, Pa. native extended his points streak to a career-best four-straight games with an assist on Lukas Craggs' power-play goal in a 3-0 triumph. Ford finished the weekend with a plus-2 rating, tied for the best by a WCHA freshman. This is Ford's first WCHA weekly award of his freshman season.
Honorable Mention: Charlie Combs, Fr., F, Bemidji State (scored in both games of the Beavers' road sweep at Lake Superior State, while firing eight shots on goal and tallying a plus-1 rating); Jake Jaremko, Fr., F, Minnesota State (scored twice, both on the power play, to help the now-No. 8/6 Mavericks to a road sweep at Alaska Anchorage); Coale Norris, Fr., F, Ferris State (led the Bulldogs with two assists and two points, while adding four blocked shots against now-No. 14 Bowling Green).