Bitzer Signs in Net for Rush
(RAPID CITY, SD) - The Rapid City Rush announced today that rookie goaltender Michael Bitzer has signed with the Rush for the upcoming 2018-19 season. Bitzer is the second goaltender announced this offseason, joining third-year pro Adam Carlson in between the pipes.
Bitzer comes to the Rush after his first stint in professional hockey with the Idaho Steelheads last season following the conclusion of his NCAA career. The 5'11", 192-pound net-minder played in 3 games for the Rush's Mountain Division rival and went 2-1-0 with a 2.30 GAA and and .887 SV%. Bitzer's first win as a professional came against the Kansas City Mavericks on March 9th at home, allowing 2 goals on 19 shots in an overtime victory.
"I signed with the Rush because it seemed like a great opportunity for me to not only play, but also grow as a person and a professional. I've heard many great things about the fans and the city, and understand that Rapid City is a great place to be for hockey. In my talks with the coaches, the team is headed in the right direction, and I can't wait to be a part of it," Bitzer said on signing with the Rush. "First and foremost, I'm a competitor. I might not be the biggest goaltender, but I compete every night and take a ton of pride in that. As far as this upcoming season is concerned, I don't have many expectations other than I want to make sure I'm doing right things so I can grow as a pro and as a teammate every day, and ultimately give the team the opportunity to win game in and game out."
Before turning professional in Idaho last season, Bitzer, a native of Moorhead, Minnesota, completed a four-year NCAA career at Bemidji State University, and had one of the most successful careers in the history of college hockey. In his four seasons with the Beavers, Bitzer compiled a total record of 65-54-19 in 138 games, with a 1.98 GAA, and a .921 SV%, along with 21 shutouts. His 21 shutouts mark the all-time WCHA record, and are second most all-time in NCAA history behind Team USA Olympic Silver Medalist and NHL All-Star Ryan Miller, who notched 26 shutouts at Michigan State from 1999-2002.
Bitzer's best campaign with the Beavers came as a junior in the 2016-17 season when he posted a 22-14-3 record in 39 games with a 1.71 GAA, .932 SV%, and 6 shutouts. For his stellar efforts, he was named a WCHA 1st Team All-Star, NCAA 1st Team All-American, was awarded the WCHA Player of the Year honors, and was a finalist for the prestigious Hobey Baker Award, presented to the top collegiate hockey player in the entire NCAA.
"Michael had one of the quietest careers in the history of college hockey, and accomplished so much in his four years at Bemidji State. I am thrilled that I have him on my team protecting my net," Rush Head Coach Daniel Tetrault said of Bitzer. "In speaking with scouts and my other colleagues in hockey, it is unanimously stated that Michael has an incredible work ethic, and is one of the highest character individuals in hockey. His tremendous skill and talent, coupled with a willingness to compete every day in practice, off the ice, and when his number is called in a game, makes him a monstrous threat in our locker room. With Michael and Adam Carlson goaltending for us this season, we're already off to a better start than in years past, and it ramps up the excitement even more for this season to finally start."
For more information on season ticket packages for our 11th season of hockey in the Black Hills, call the Rush office at 716-7825.
• Discuss this story on the ECHL message board...
ECHL Stories from August 22, 2018
- #ILOVEWICHITA Night Back for Another Season - Wichita Thunder
- A&R Sports Named "Official Hockey Accessory Partner of the ECHL" - ECHL
- Bitzer Signs in Net for Rush - Rapid City Rush
- Walleye Celebrate 10 Years - Toledo Walleye
- Leone Returns to Cyclones Blueline - Cincinnati Cyclones
- Nailers Sign Four Forwards - Wheeling Nailers
- Monarchs Name Brad Schuler Assistant Coach - Manchester Monarchs
- Americans Announce 10th Anniversary Single Game Tickets on Sale Next Monday - Allen Americans
- Worcester Railers HC Announce 2018-19 Promotional Schedule - Worcester Railers HC
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.