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Lucia concludes: ‘Alex is our goalie’

McClatchy News Service

After the Gophers men's hockey team lost 5-4 to Wisconsin on Saturday — its fourth consecutive defeat — coach Don Lucia said he would ponder making a goalie switch.

By Wednesday, Lucia had made up his mind. He is staying with sophomore Alex Kangas, a Rochester Century graduate.

"I don’t think anything has changed," Lucia said. "Alex is our goalie. He is the horse we are riding. We have to have him return to form."

So Kangas, the team MVP last season, will start tonight when the Gophers play Alaska Anchorage at Mariucci Arena. It will be his 48th consecutive start.

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"Obviously, I need to play better, but I will not fault myself on every goal," Kangas said. "As a goalie, you have to make the saves sometimes you are not supposed to make."

As a freshman last season, Kangas had a 1.98 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage, both program records. He was at his best in the playoffs, earning MVP honors in the WCHA Final Five even though the Gophers lost in the title game.

His goals-against average now is up to 2.93, his save percentage has dipped to .898. In the Gophers’ eight WCHA games since early January, Kangas has given up six goals three times and five goals twice. Minnesota is 2-6 in that stretch.

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