Alex Kangas will have season-ending surgery on his left labrum Friday, effectively ending the college career of the Gophers senior goalie.

Kangas aggravated the injury in a Dec. 11 practice, held between Friday and Sunday games against Minnesota Duluth.

On Monday, Kangas tried to practice for the second time since getting hurt but had to quit after about 10 minutes.

Last season as a junior, Kangas' .917 save percentage was the second best in WCHA games and his 2.61 goals-against average was the fourth best.

Kangas has played in eight games this season, too many to apply for a medical redshirt. Junior Kent Patterson has taken over as the No. 1 goalie.

Backup Jake Kremer, also a junior, has played only in exhibition games.

"Obviously being as senior, you don't want to go out like this," Kangas said. "But you have to cut your losses and get it done and do the rehab."

He will have the sugery at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview. "I know a couple of goalies that have gotten it done," said Kangas, who will have extra bone on the end of his left femur shaved, too.

"I always wanted to wear the 'M' and to get that opportunity is something very special my family will cherish and I will cherish for the rest of my life," said Kangas, who played high school hockey for Rochester Century.

And now his Gophers' career is over early.

"I have made amends with it," Kangas said. "Obviously, I want to be there for the guys and do what I can. But this is something I have to take care of and have to look into my future now."

 Kangas said he wants to be 100 percent for summer NHL camps for prospects. 

HIGH ON PATTERSON

Kangas said Kent Patterson, a junior who played behind him for two seasons, is ready to be the No. 1 goalie.

"If you have seen how well he has played this year -- he can help the team win games," Patterson said. "Obviously, it is a total team effort that you have to have if you want to be successful at this level. You can't just lean on one guy. But I think he can carry the mail."

So does Gophers coach Don Lucia.

"Kent has obviously earned his ice this year," Lucia said. "We all know who are goaltender is [now], but you always worry is there going to be an injury? Is there goign to be an illness on a fiven night and he doesn't have the ability to play.

"That why we tried to get Kremer some ice time this year. We played him for a half against the U.S. team."

Unfortunately, the under-18 U.S. team only got four shots on net against Kremer in that game on Jan. 7. He also played in a preseason exhibition game against British Columbia and stopped all five shots he faced.

"He did play junior hockey in the North American [Hockey] League and had a very good [final] year," Lucia said. "If he needs to play, he will be ready and I am sure he is excited."

Kremer, the most improved player on the Eden Prairie High School team in 2005-06, was the MVP of the Bismarck Bobcats in 2007-08.

 

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