The Rapid City Rush announced Wednesday that rookie goaltender Michael Bitzer has signed 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-foot-11, 192-pound net-minder played in three games for the Rush’s Mountain Division rival and went 2-1-0 with a 2.30 GAA and and .887 save percentage.
“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.
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 save percentage, 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.
“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 coach Daniel Tetrault said.