Kangas not tired as teammates take on some responsibility

Minnesota sophomore Alex Kangas responded Wednesday to calls for him to take a short break from the crease by saying heâÄôs not tired. The same day, coach Don Lucia reaffirmed what heâÄôs said repeatedly since the Rochester native took over as the Gophers everyday goaltender. âÄúAlex is our goalie,âÄù Lucia said. âÄúHeâÄôs the horse weâÄôre riding.âÄù And ride him the Gophers have. Forty-seven consecutive starts to be exact âÄî the third longest stretch in school history behind John LothropâÄôs 80 from 1963-65 and Robb StauberâÄôs 61 from 1987-89. âÄúThe coaching staff keeps putting me in there and that gives me confidence that they have confidence in me,âÄù Kangas said. MinnesotaâÄôs single-season record holder in save percentage and goals against average said compared to his two-year experience in the United States Hockey League âÄî where teams play a 60-game regular season âÄî college hockeyâÄôs 34-game season seems short. âÄúI feel fine,âÄù Kangas said before WednesdayâÄôs practice. âÄúPeople ask me if IâÄôm tired and you know, two games a weekend is not that much of a grind for me.âÄù Following last weekendâÄôs losses to Wisconsin, Gophers captain Ryan Stoa said his team wasnâÄôt even âÄúgiving Kangas a fighting chance,âÄù referring to a Minnesota bench that has allowed 17 goals during its current four-game losing streak. âÄú[Goalie is] the loneliest position on the ice,âÄù junior defenseman David Fischer said, later adding, âÄúWe lean on Kangas a little too much.âÄù After the Badgers swept the Gophers last weekend to equal LuciaâÄôs longest losing streak with Minnesota, the Minnesota coach pointed out his goalie was giving up too much net up high. On Wednesday, he added staying farther out in the crease to the list. âÄúItâÄôs all mechanics for him right now and he understands that,âÄù Lucia said Wednesday. âÄúI think youâÄôll see him bounce back here this weekend.âÄù Early departures Lucia also put to bed any thought his team or specifically the freshmen class was troubled by two freshmen leaving the team early this year. Michael Dorr transferred to Minnesota State just before Christmas and last weekend Lucia announced Grant Scott had fled for the USHLâÄôs new Fargo Force franchise. The pair combined for only three appearances this season and no points. âÄúKids want to play and I understand that,âÄù Lucia said. âÄúAt the time, they werenâÄôt in a position to play. It happens in a lot of places.âÄù But Stoa didnâÄôt appear as understanding as his coach. âÄú[The team] respects the situation for the most part,âÄù Stoa said. âÄúBut at the same time, if those guys donâÄôt want to be here and they feel like theyâÄôre being screwed, then go ahead and get out of here because we donâÄôt need you to bring down our team moral.âÄù Was that the impression he got from Scott and Dorr? âÄúI definitely didnâÄôt,âÄù Stoa said although he didnâÄôt make excuses for his former teammates. âÄúThey are freshmen. You can battle through it and have another opportunity next year.âÄù