Goaltender Troy Redmann has started 17 straight hockey games for the Alaska Aces, and while that is an unusually high number of consecutive appearances, he does not consider himself overworked or fatigued.
After all, the Aces just twice in that span have played what is commonly referred to in the ECHL as a "three in three'' — three games on three straight nights — and both occasions came at home. And a six-game road trip to the South earlier this month featured just one instance of games on consecutive nights, so Redmann avoided both a three-in-three or a taxing schedule of four road games in five nights, which is not uncommon on the circuit.
"I'm out there playing the game,'' Redmann said with a shrug. "It's natural, and I'm getting into a rhythm.''
Given the Aces' upcoming schedule on a five-game road trip — two games at Colorado on Friday and Saturday and three in a four-night span in Idaho the following week — Redmann's streak could easily stretch into the 20s. Alaska does not face another three-in-three until it visits the Rapid City Rush in South Dakota, Feb. 19-21.
Redmann is clearly Alaska's No. 1 goalie. Rookie Steven Summerhays, who logged seven straight starts in late November and early December, when Redmann endured a back injury, has struggled since coming back from shoulder surgery in the late summer of 2014. Summerhays, who went a year and a half between games, has not started since Dec. 9.
Redmann is 12-14-4, with a 2.64 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.
"He's played well, he deserves to be in the net,'' said Aces coach Rob Murray. "In a nutshell, that's it. He's produced.''
Like Redmann, Murray said Alaska's schedule has not been taxing, and noted Redmann's 17-game streak of starts included 11 days off for the holiday break. Murray also referenced the road swing to the South, where the Aces went 5-0-2.
"Play, day off, play, day off, play, day off — and we didn't have ice on the days off, so those were rest days,'' Murray said. "We weren't looking at four in five nights with travel, or anything like that.''
Redmann, 29, came to pro ice hockey late, after a fruitful career as a roller hockey goalie. He started 19 of Alaska's final 29 games last season after playing six pro games total before that. Last season's late grind introduced him to the wear and tear of frequent starts, and Redmann said he's learned to fuel his body smarter and savor rest.
He said he has been surprised how good he felt in the third game of a three-in-three. He said he felt better in Sunday's 3-2 win Sunday against Idaho to cap a three-game series than he did in the first two games.
"It's good to prove to myself I'm capable of doing it, that the third game isn't hard,'' Redmann said. "I've got to take the positives and be grateful I'm playing so much.''
Expect Murray to lean on Redmann the rest of the season because the Aces are currently out of position to qualify for the playoffs and he thinks Redmann gives his club the best shot at winning.
"It's a little bit purposeful,'' Murray said. "If he's going to be the No. 1 goalie, he has to learn to cope with it. I, as a coach, have to get him trained to do it.''
Redmann's 1,798 minutes played ranks second on the circuit to Kalamazoo veteran Joel Martin, 33, who has played 2,114 minutes. Redmann has played in 30 of Alaska's 41 games; Martin has played in 36 of Kalamazoo's 40 games.
Martin twice has led the ECHL in minutes played — last season (3,301) and in 2012-13 (a league-record 3,739 minutes), when he played 63 of 72 games.
Redmann said Murray told him at season's start to prepare to play frequently. He said Murray lets him know when he won't play, and he hasn't been told that in about seven weeks.
"Silence is good here,'' Redmann said.
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