Looks like the hockey season hasn’t ended for Michael Bitzer after all.
The Moorhead goaltender will spend the remainder of the season with the Alexandria Blizzard, according to an email from Bitzer’s father. Bitzer is filling in for a goaltender who was injured.
Bitzer’s stint with Alexandria comes a week after he captured attention from scouts and hockey fans across Minnesota. He helped Moorhead finish fourth at the Minnesota state tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.
The 18-year-old Bitzer made 34 saves in a 4-0 win over No. 3 seed Eagan, a state title contender. Moorhead followed up with a 2-1 overtime loss to state runner-up Hill-Murray in the semifinal round before losing to Lakeville South in the third place game.
Bitzer ended the state tournament by winning the Herb Brooks Award, which goes to a Class A and Class 2A hockey player who best represents Brooks’ ideals. He became the first goaltender to ever win the award.
On Sunday, he picked up another trophy winning the Frank Brimsek Award, which goes to Minnesota’s best senior goaltender. Bitzer went 22-8 with a 1.80 goals against average, a .933 save percentage and seven shutouts.
Bitzer signed a tender with Alexandria early in the boys hockey season for next year. Yet there have been questions about where he will end up.
His stellar performance at the state tournament has resulted in USHL clubs – including the Fargo Force – taking notice. The feeling is Bitzer will be drafted into the USHL, which is the primary pipeline for Division I programs. Bitzer said Sunday he talked with a few coaches from college programs but no offers were made.
The USHL Entry Draft is May 22.
Bitzer could stay with Alexandria even if he is drafted by a USHL team though the last few Brimsek Award winners have gone on to the USHL including the last two winners, Force goaltender Zane Gothberg (North Dakota/Boston) and Omaha Lancers goaltender Alex Lyon (Yale), who could be taken in the NHL Draft this summer.
Alexandria is second in its division having already secured a playoff spot. It has seven regular season games left before entering the postseason.