Josh Astorino has known for a couple of years now that he was capable of being a Junior A hockey goalie.
But it has taken until his final season of junior eligibility for the 20-year-old to make the jump up to that level.
Despite being one of the oldest players on the squad, Astorino is a rookie with the Georgetown Raiders, members of the Ontario Junior Hockey League.
Astorino has played a key role in the Raiders’ successes this season. Georgetown entered the week atop the overall league standings.
And the Raiders would have to be considered one of the favourites to capture the OJHL championship once the playoffs kick off at the end of this month.
Astorino sports a rather impressive 27-3-1 record in his first 33 appearances in Georgetown. His 1.97 goal-against average is second best among all OJHL puckstoppers, just a tad behind Cobourg Cougars netminder Stefano Durante, who has a 1.95 GAA.
With his 27 wins, Astorino is also second best in that department, trailing only Chris Janzen of the Trenton Golden Hawks, who has 31 victories in 38 appearances.
Astorino though leads all OJHL netminders with his .935 save percentage.
Astorino, who is from Niagara Falls, Ont., is not surprised with the numbers he’s putting up.
“I believed I could play at this level,” he said. “I think it’s a different situation for goalies. I think goalies can take a longer time to develop.”
Astorino’s first taste of the OJHL was back in 2013, when he was still 16 and attended the Milton Icehawks’ training camp. He played half an exhibition contest with the Icehawks before being released.
Astorino ended up playing that season with the Grimsby Peach Kings, a Junior C squad.
After leading the Peach Kings to a league championship, Astorino moved up to the Junior B ranks. He spent the past two seasons with the Thorold Blackhawks of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.
The Raiders then signed Astorino this past July.
“I was expecting to be the starter,” said Astorino, who ideally would prefer to continue his career next season with an NCAA Division 1 squad.
“But I knew I wasn’t just going to come in here and be given the world.”
With his stellar play and solid record, which also includes two shutouts, Astorino has deservedly earned the bulk of the Raiders’ starts between the pipes. But he’s quick to deflect praise onto his teammates, who have provided plenty of goal support and also play a solid defensive game, evidenced by the fact they have allowed a league-low 94 goals against.
Astorino would love to help the Raiders capture the OJHL crown.
“I think we have a good team but it’s not going to be easy,” he said, adding there’s also a handful of other decent clubs in the league’s Western Conference and several top-notch squads in the Eastern Conference as well.Back to Top
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