Surrounded by young St. Paul Johnson boys' hockey teammates, senior goaltender Damian VanDanacker sees plenty of shots. But he doesn't take any at his fellow Governors.

Known as "DVD" to teammates, VanDanacker has posted a 5-6-1 record, recording all but one of the Governors (6-13-1) victories this season. His goals-against average (2.54) and saves percentage (.932) are remarkable for a player who averages 38 shots faced per game.

A tough outing last week against Hibbing dropped VanDanacker's saves percentage from a state-best .940 to third. In January, he made a combined 86 saves in back-to-back shutouts against St. Paul Highland Park and Lake of the Woods.

VanDanacker, who won the 2017 Peewee A state championship as part of the Johnson/Como/North St. Paul youth program, spoke with Star Tribune reporter David La Vaque about his family ties to goaltending and growing as a captain this season.

Q: Where did you get your start in hockey and as a goalie?

A: I started in hockey when I was four, and later I started alternating between playing goalie and skating out. Then as a squirt, I decided to just be a goalie. My dad, Brian Hartman, played goalie at North St. Paul. My uncle, Joe Hartman, played goalie at St. Paul Harding.

Q: What was the attraction to play goalie?

A: The spotlight is one reason. And making the big save and the attention that comes with it.

Q: What's the worst part?

A: When you let in a soft one and the whole team is looking at you like, 'Come on.' That and the shots coming at your face.

Q: You're a captain this season. How has that gone for you?

A: It's totally been a challenge. Because you've got everyone in the locker room looking at you and the other three captains.

Q: What are you bringing to the captain role?

A: I'm helping carry the torch for the program. If guys get mad at each other, I tell them not to get down. Mistakes happen, but you don't want to beat your guys up. Try to pick them up instead.

Q: The team record isn't great, and you see a lot of shots. How do you keep it together?

A: I came in expecting that because we graduated 14 seniors from last year's team. So we're young. But I also have teammates who help. In the Highland Park game, one of our younger guys, Alex Themes, probably blocked 10 shots for me.

Q: You and senior Dylan Weldon share the minutes in goal. What's it like working with him every day?

A: We cheer each other on. We're partners every day in practice.

Q: How do you approach talking hockey with your dad?

A: We talk about it every night. He was one of my coaches when I was younger, so I'm used to it. He mainly just tells me to keep myself focused.

Q: You know what they say about goalies.

A: We're crazy?

Q: Let's go with eccentric. What sort of goalie things do you do?

A: Guys will say that in the locker room, I look crazy, because I will look at a spot and move my eyes side-to-side first, and then up and down. And then there will be times where I just stare dead at something and I don't move or talk to anyone. I just pretty much block everything out and focus.

Q: What were your dad's or uncle's goalie quirks?

A: With my dad it was pretty much, you can't touch anything of his. And I somewhat have that, but not as bad. I just don't like when anyone touches my stick or my glove. My uncle was more laid back.

Q: How did they feel about you joining the goaltending fraternity?

A: My dad was a little upset because he wanted me to not have to follow in his footsteps. I've actually got a younger cousin who wants to be a goalie. But they are trying to steer him away from it because of how expensive the gear is getting. One summer, I had a growth spurt, and I grew out of three sets of leg pads.