Rather than focus exclusively on the Minnesota Wild’s top prospects, we’re taking a look at the best players from across the State of Hockey every week.
From high school to the pros, check out our recap of all the week’s events in Minnesota hockey, as we check in with college players, prep standouts and State of Hockey alums.
Let’s take a look at this week’s three-star selection, along with other notes, in the latest edition of the State of Hockey Tracker.
Mikey Eyssimont, F, St. Cloud State (NCHC)
A junior, Eyssimont was a nominee for NCHC Forward of the Week after scoring two goals and adding an assist Saturday in the Huskies’ 5-2 win over Minnesota. A fifth-round pick of the Los Angeles Kings in 2015, Eyssimont leads a deep Huskies squad in scoring his year with eight goals, and ranks second on the team with 20 points in 19 games. SCSU lost their hold on the top spot in the latest USCHO poll to Notre Dame, but remains No. 1 in the all-important PairWise rankings.
Michael Bitzer, G, Bemidji State (WCHA)
Bitzer was named the WCHA Goaltender of the Week after helping the Beavers to a pair of wins over conference rival Lake Superior State. Bitzer made 21 saves Friday for his fourth shutout of the season. With 20 career shutouts, Bitzer is now tied for second on the NCAA’s all-time list. He wasn’t quite as sharp Saturday — allowing three goals on 15 shots — but did enough to help the Beavers to a sweep.
Belpedio (third round, 2014) scored his second game-winning goal of the season over the weekend, firing a power-play rocket past Denver goalie Tanner Jaillet in the third period to help the RedHawks to an upset win over the Pioneers. He has 18 points on the season, good for sixth in the nation among defensemen, and third overall on the team.
AROUND THE RINK
— Team USA was forced to settle for bronze after falling to Sweden in the semifinals of the world junior championship, but Gophers forward Casey Mittelstadt had quite the tourney. He tied for the tournament lead in scoring with 11 points, earning MVP honors.
— Kirill Kaprizov (fifth round, 2015) might be headed stateside someday. While plenty of NHL executives turned their attention to the world junior championship, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher flew to Moscow to meet Kaprizov and teammate Andrei Svetlakov (sixth round, 2017). It’s the first meeting between the two sides since the Wild drafted Kaprizov, and a solid first step towards securing the coveted playmaker’s services down the line.
— Ivan Lodia (third round, 2017) stretched his point streak to five games with back-to-back multi-point games last week. He’s up to 46 points in 40 games this season, second on the rebuilding Otters.